A popular fashion preconception – all models are stick-thin giants with legs that go for miles. But is it really true and is the fashion industry about to change?

What about Kate Moss who is ‘only’ 170cm, well below the industry minimum of 175cm? Or Kate Dillon, the US size ten supermodel and Harvard graduate who has posed for legendary fashion photographers like Richard Avedon and Peter Lindbergh?

After much media scrutiny and public outcries, the fashion industry is changing – slowly, but surely. Take for example one of Asia’s most coveted fashion events – the India Resort Fashion Week 2012. Last week designers spiced up the catwalks in Goa with more than just vibrant garments. Leryn Franco, Olympian javelin thrower from Paraguay, joined Indian actress Bipasha Basu and American socialite Paris Hilton on the runway.

The Miss Paraguay runner-up and athlete Leryn stormed the catwalk for designer Rocky S. Having participated in the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games did not stop Franco from looking elegant in a golden fish tail gown with net layering, proving why she is a much sought-after model in her home country.

In the Far East, leading the Chinese fashion revolution, 72-year old Liu Xianping has broken the Western convention of a ‘twelve to twenty-five’ modeling career: The former farmer was not shy to strike a pose for the camera when the model booked to shoot his granddaughter’s new collection cancelled at the last minute.

Liu is now one of China’s most recognized models, after the photos went viral online. He also enjoys a much closer bond with his granddaughter; giving her tips on colour combinations and helping her improve the designs for her women’s wear clothing line.

The list of rule breakers in the fashion industry is starting to get longer and longer. From the first transsexual supermodel – Brazilian Lea T – to top male models such as Andrej Pejic and Stav Strashko who showcase women’s haute couture, including bikini and bridal gowns, proving the fashion world is starting to shake things up.

And it’s not just the men that are causing quite a stir: Ford models recently signed a 35-year old women, called Casey Legler to model menswear. The French competitive swimmer recognized the power of her androgynous looks when was asked to fill in a male role in a photo shoot at the last minute.

After qualifying for the Olympics in Atlanta aged eighteen and shaving her head with her male teammates, Legler turned to art. Despite being a newcomer on the fashion scene, Legler hopes her work will expose how limiting strict gender roles in fashion can be.

Is this all too good to be true? Although some may argue that fashion designers will do anything to create a cultural buzz and boost sales, there is no denying that the industry is constantly evolving. Who knows what the next surprise will be?


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