Fantastic Advertorial or Fantastic Tokenism?

ETA: The gorgeous Amy has alerted me to the fact that this is part of an entire issue that uses ordinary men in their photos as opposed to models, so this isn’t quite as simple as one big guy in a magazine. I’m going to try and hunt it down and see for myself.

Courtesy of Black Book (

It’s been noted before that the current wave of plus sized visibilty in fashion magazines has been 100% female oriented, with men’s fashion slowly emaciating itself. So it’s raised a few eyebrows that mens’ fashion magazine Fantastic Man used a plus sized male model in their new advertorial for H&M.

I have mixed feelings about it. First of all yes, I’m super pleased that a hot, husky dude is being used in a high fashion spread like this. But I am also aware that it is definitely tokenism, and doesn’t signal any specific change in the fashion industry the way plus sized female models are. It’s also worth noting that Fantastic Man is very much an avant garde magazine, and deviates from the fashion norm where possible. That’s not a bad thing at all – I’ve had the pleasure of reading through older copies and it’s a wonderful magazine – but at the same time, it’s never going to have the global reach of Glamour’s Lizzie Miller photo, for example. There’s nothing to be read into the photos – it is just a model who happens to be bigger than most.

But you know, variety is variety, and I am pleased that there is a spread out there featuring a bigger fella. I’ve noted for a while that male plus sized fashion is severely under represented in the fatshion blogging world, when there are definitely bigger guys who are as into expressing themselves fashionably as all of us. And from what I’ve seen, the choices for bigger mens’ fashion are absolutely dire. A few fellas spring to mind, such as my friend Dan Huntley, Nick A.K.A Mr Definatalie and the occassional sartorially daring big guy on Lookbook who manage to dress awesomely despite this conundrum.

What do you all think? And more importantly, if you’re a bigger fella who likes fashion, I’d love to hear from you! Send your (or your boyfriends/friends/husbands’) outfit pictures to lauren.darling at (clothes on, please) and I’ll do a post showing how cool and fashionable you all are.


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11 Responses to “Fantastic Advertorial or Fantastic Tokenism?”

  1. Amy Says:

    None of the men in this editorial are male model size. They are all regular everyday sizes and are all real (non-model!) men, as it is through the whole of this issue. You’re wrong in thinking that this is tokenism.

    • thepocketrocket Says:

      Ohhhhhhhhhhhh. Schoolgirl error – I’ll try and hunt it down, in that case. (I can never seem to find it on sale!) I’m still not entirely sure about the idea of a whole issue of non-models though, I have to admit.

      Thanks for the heads up lovely! xx

  2. Katie Says:

    Didn’t Glamour or Company do a whole real people issue recently? Where they had real readers taking part in the photoshoots/modelling etc?

  3. Frances Says:

    Here’s the rest of the editorial – I love it.

  4. lionsandtigersandsaraohmy Says:

    I think it may have been Company who had the readers as models this year. I thought it was a great issue as they really showed the variety of real people! Hurray.

    I’m all for models in all shapes and sizes. It’s irritating, but when something is not mainstream or ‘the norm’, it will always come across as tokenism, regardless of how genuine it is. It’s always the way.
    For me, when someone uses a plus size model, a petite model, or just someone who has a real belly/boobs/bum, I can’t help but question their motives. I know mine are genuine but because I’m a belly/boobs/bum. I think it’s just that I’m so used to seeing the complete, unrealistic, opposite of real people in magazines, that when I see what I want I find it hard to accept it immediately.

    It’s probably quite destructive, but I just can’t help it.

    • thepocketrocket Says:

      when someone uses a plus size model… I can’t help but question their motives.

      I think that’s exactly it. I find it so hard to feel energised about a genuine change or anything – unless this becomes a regular occurance then I can only see it as a one off. Shame but I’ve been disappointed so many times before, it’s difficult not to be cynical.

      • lionsandtigersandsaraohmy Says:

        Absolutely. I feel terrible being so critical about the change I want to happen. It’s a change I think most of us are trying our best to be part of.

        I’ve spent the last year aiming my college work at fashion photography without airbrushing, and I’ve been over the moon with the results I’ve had. I’m about to go in to my final year and my plan is to, hopefully over the summer, hone my idea for my final photography project. Personally, I have issues with other aspects of fashion photography, like airbrushing, but I just want spreads with real women, real men and no airbrushing to have their place in mainstream media. You know, I’d never outlaw airbrushing or having smaller sized models, once they are healthy. I think it all has it’s place. It’s like, we’ve dealt with the mainstream media’s ideal for so long that it’s only right we have our turn for a while. Sometimes you have to let things you don’t like happen, so that you have the right to do things you do like.

        Sorry, this is about to turn in to a serious rant. Sometimes I feel like I’m pissing in the wind having any interest in fashion photography, but I’d rather go for it and stick to the things I believe in and never work, than be part of something that regularly makes me feel bad about myself.

  5. Kat Says:

    I can vouch that plus size mens clothes can be hard to come by. My Dad is an xxl on the top half, and he can find it quite difficult to find tops to fit him.

    Also my gf prefers to wear mens clothes, and she is a 42″ waist, size xxl on top. She buys a lot of her clothes when she goes to America!

  6. brittany Says:

    Absolutely adorable. That is all.

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