Something wonderful and unexpected is happening in the world of fashion catalogues.
Catalogues have long been the domain of the beautiful people. These gorgeous models of both genders look fabulous in clothes that often don’t carry quite the same panache once we put them on in the fitting room.
But change is in the air and, amazingly, it’s being embraced by corporate giant Coles Myer.
Browsing recent catalogues for Target and Kmart, I was stunned and delighted to witness the diversity of photographic models being used in the catalogues.
Advertising back to school wear in the Kmart catalogue was a delightful young lady of about 10, proudly modelling school wear with a big smile—and three-pronged walking aids and shin splints. Not the usual accoutrements we associate with fashion catalogues.
Further on in the Kmart catalogue, there were two models wearing trendy casual gear and lingerie. One was slim with brown skin and a fabulous Afro hair style, while the other was a genuine plus-sized model with a gorgeous smile and voluptuous bust, but she looked like an attractive, real girl next door, not an impossibly beautiful model.
Not being a size eight myself, I immediately gravitated to this lovely but believable girl who would have made the painter Rubens applaud her generous curves. And in the menswear section, we see a handsome young Caucasian male alongside an equally handsome Asian man, each doing a great job of promoting menswear.
Target proved no slouch in the diversity stakes either. The front of their catalogue featured a sweet young girl with big red glasses and callipers on her legs.
Browsing through the back to school wear, I spied a young lad being admired in his school wear by his mum, who was wearing a navy-and-white hijab.
Finally, two little schoolchildren are shown marching to school with backpacks almost as big as they are, and the little boy is also sporting large hearing aids.
Even a few years ago, catalogue models were stock (small) sizes and always ridiculously beautiful. How wonderful that we see diversity in beauty creeping into our everyday lives like this, and showing us that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and abilities.
Taking this to the next level is 20-year-old Brisbane model Madeline Stuart, who has been on the catwalk for the prestigious New York Fashion Week, and was awarded model of the year last year in San Francisco for Melange, and who has modelled for David Jones, Alannah Hill and Myer, as well as Destin Florida and Lafayette Louisiana in America.
So what, you might say?
Madeline has down syndrome, but has proved that people of all abilities can be beautiful, extending our acceptance of, and appreciation of diversity, a sentiment that is backed up by the Bible.
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians chapter 3, verse 28).
It seems that at least one of our corporate giants might be listening?