The conversation about body positivity has been swirling around the fashion sphere a lot lately, and brands like ModCloth are taking steps like pulling their “Plus” category in an effort to be more inclusive. Makers are joining the cause — last week we spoke with Portland-based Rachele Cateyes who is making throw pillows (!) that send a powerful message. All of this has been great to see, but there is one large portion of the population (about half) that has been left out of the conversation. We’re talking about men of extended sizes. A while back, a Telegraph article titled “Why Are There No Plus-Size Male Models?” circulated around the Internet. It’s true plus-size men have been noticeably absent in this body positive movement in fashion, and that’s why it’s awesome to see Target hiring a model like Zach Miko.
Zach, who is also an actor and one half of comedic musical duo The Dreamstalks, currently models for the “Big & Tall” section for Target, but according to Bruce Sturgell, the founding editor of Chubstr, which is a lifestyle site for men of extended sizes, Zach is “a unicorn.” Most male models in the “Big & Tall” sections are generally very muscular, but Zach Miko more resembles the average consumer — and that is a win for representation. As a unique plus-size male model, Zach faces a lot of the challenges and pressures regarding his size that women face. In an interview with Mic, Zach said after his second day of shooting with Target, he came home and sat down with his wife. “I told Laura after my second day, ‘I don’t ever want to be a small guy, and I’m tired of being told that in order to be in this world, I have to be smaller,'” Zach said. He also said, “I don’t give a s–t if I ever have ripped abs and look like an Abercrombie and Fitch model. I never want that.” You do you, Zach Miko.
The women’s plus-size clothing industry pulls in 9 billion dollars annually and has over 6,000 retailers around the country. In contrast, men’s plus-size clothing clocks in at about one billion in profits and disappointingly has less than 1,000 stores serving their needs. Increasingly, retailers are finding that consumers don’t want to look at conventionally ideal models when they’re purchasing clothing, but rather prefer models who resemble themselves. As plus-size label Anna Scholz stated when they chose a 55-year-old plus-size model as the face of their new campaign, “Brands are waking up to the realization that they need to connect to their customer.”
In short, we need more Zach Mikos.
What do you think about Zach Miko and should there be more models like him? Tell us in the comments below!