You’re probably aware that IMG Models has a plus size male model division, called Brawn. That’s where Zach Miko signed to become the first big guy to join a major U.S. agency. If you listened to Bruce’s appearance on Zack Miko’s Big Things podcast, you heard Zack casually mention that one of the top modeling agencies in the world has put together a new division for plus size male models.
It turns out that Wilhelmina International, one of the world’s most renowned modeling agencies, now has eight striking men on its roster under a segment they’ve dubbed, “Titans.” These divine beings have modeled for Express Men, Van Heusen, and Target’s Original Use and Goodfellow & Co brands.
Wilhelmina’s Titans division is made up of models with the body types you’d expect to see in most advertising for plus size clothing – guys who are big, tall and more proportionate than the average big guy you might see on the street. For example there’s David Carter, a former football player and social media influencer known as the 300-Pound Vegan.
The two standouts of the bunch are Adam Rodberg, who is rocking what I’d call more of a #dadbod than a #bigandtallbod. The one guy who seems to represent the “big” of big and tall is Valentin Fernandez, who has a much rounder face and softer features. Both of these models are listed with a 40 inch waist compared to the 38 inch waists of the other models.
Wilhelmina’s move into plus size male modeling means the industry is taking another step toward inclusivity that could change the way men of size are represented in fashion. It could, but will it?
With all the buzz around body positivity, inclusiveness, and consumers hungry for representation, any company in this space should be shouting from the rooftops (or at the very least dropping a press release) about their new faces. In our research, we didn’t see much out there trumpeting the fact that the Titans are a thing. Their plus-size female model division, called Curve, has been around since the 90s! Why aren’t they promoting the fact that they are working with a variety of plus size male models?
Zach Miko is easily the most recognizable name in the game since his big splash on the modeling scene three years ago, followed by the launch of IMG’s own Brawn division soon after. Is the traditional model of getting signed to an agency the only way to go? Who’s to say Instagram influencers won’t start picking up the slack? We’re seeing self-made big & tall models like Notoriously Dapper’s Kelvin Davis get work with widely accessible brands like Gap, and alongside celebs like David Ortiz and DJ Khaled for last year’s DXL campaign.
Want to see more change? Vote with your dollars. When you see plus size male models representing mainstream brands, buy clothing from that brand, share what you like (and what you want to see more of) on social media and make your voice heard. Marginalized bodies will continue to experience change in increments if we don’t make sure the fashion and apparel industry knows that we want to see more plus size models of many sizes, ethnicities and genders wearing the clothes they’re trying to sell us.
See all of the models in the Wilhelmina Titans division here.