Much ado has recently been made in the fashion industry over the use of super skinny models — so much, in fact, that we’ve dubbed it “The Great Weight Debate” — but one group of people have been almost conspicuously left out of the conversation: male models.
In the last 40 years, the male mannequin size has shrunk from a 42″ chest and a 33″ waist to a 35″ chest and a 27″ waist. The New York Times covered this disturbing trend back in 2008, when they highlighted male model Stas Svetlichnyy. His top weight, he told the Times, was about 145. At the time, he was 6 feet tall and had a 28-inch waist.
And this is still the norm. While most women’s magazines have been responding to the clamour for more “average” looking models and diversity in shapes and sizes, we can’t think of a single instance in which a men’s magazine has featured a plus-size male model. (GQ: “The Body Issue” — could you imagine?) Until now.
Fantastic Man is a European men’s magazine, described by Interview as “one of the most remarkable magazines of this era” and founded by the indie duo behind Butt, which Jezebel describes as an “avant garde gay quarterly.” And according to BlackBook, the 11th installment of Fantastic Man contains a fashion spread modeled by a decidedly rotund male model, the copy for which reads, “A series of stylistic suggestions for bold summer fashions to be worn by gentlemen of quite marvelous shape.”
While the model in the scan BlackBook published is wearing something resembling a prison-striped jumpsuit (which might be the male counterpart to the usual naked treatment plus-size women get in your average glossy), it’s still a start.
And while we may have never heard of Fantastic Man (or Butt, for that matter), but we suspect more than a few movers and shakers in the industry have. And more interesting is founder Jop van Bennekom’s comments on the inspiration behind Fantastic Man:
“There wasn’t a magazine out there—a men’s magazine—that felt contemporary and for us. We couldn’t identify with all the models being used in magazines, all the 12-year-olds…”
That sounds markedly familiar.
Here’s to progress!
Images of the entire spread can be seen here.