Anneline Nagan, of Phoenix, is a plus-size model headed for the catwalk at the Durban Fashion Fair later this year. Picture: Supplied

 ANNELINE Nagan, of Phoenix, is all about owning her image.

The plus-size model is one of 37 models (standard and plus-size combined) currently participating in the Durban Fashion Fair’s Bootcamp 2019.

The fashion fair will take place from September 25 to 28, at the Durban ICC, where she will walk the catwalk at the highbrow event.

Nagan, 32, is the only representative from the Indian community and is excited her journey has got her this far.

Her mantra - giving up is never an option, no matter how hard the road gets, keep moving forward in pursuit of the dream - spurs her on.

“There were a few times when I was either ushered out of a boutique, as my size was never available, or laughed at due to being plus-size,” she said.

“Yes this is damaging emotionally but, as a plus-sized woman, you have to believe in yourself first, and progressively overcome the slander and hate against being plus-size. I’m never too shy to compliment a woman - plus-size or standard size - with the hope that this has a ripple effect.”

Commenting on what made her enter the 2019 Durban Fashion Fair model search, she said: “I did plus-size modelling for a well-known clothing brand about five years ago and appeared in a leading national magazine and a Durban newspaper. Unfortunately, I was advised there was not much of a demand for plus-size models in Durban.

“During this period, my confidence levels did a 180. But that changed. A work colleague tagged me on the Facebook post for plus-size model search and told me I needed to do this because she knew I would get it. Another reason was because of the community I am from.

“Truth be told, on many plus-size campaigns, you hardly see an Indian model. I want to encourage women that big is beautiful and why not show off those curves?”

In an era overcome by the social media hype of fake beauty filters, fad diets, and cosmetic body alterations, we asked Nagan for her advice to other women.

“The most important aspect about loving yourself is accepting the body and beauty you were born with.

“You do not have to be a size 32 waist with those waist trimmers. You can be plus-size or standard size and still be beautiful. Do not adjust to society’s demands and beliefs. Let society adjust to you.”

She said she was amped for her new experience.

“Ramp modelling is new to me, but what will make me enjoy it more, is the live audience and meeting the designers Durban has a lot of hidden talent, especially in the fashion industry. We have the opportunity to showcase our cultural fashion sense across the world. At the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in California, Beyoncé wore a Zulu hat. A fashion evolution is what we are aiming towards, so a competitive fashion industry is a must.“

On her future plans, she said: “I hope I get the exposure I did not get previously, not only for myself but for all * lus-size Indian wome* .”

Sindi Shangase, convener for the Durban Fashion Fair (DFF) said this year, the inclusion of a plus size model category in their model search was to embrace what many other high profile fashion events in both South Africa and abroad have not: “The so-called size acceptance movement,” she explained.

“This not only embraces the realisation, by many top fashion brands and retailers, that one size doesn’t necessarily fit all, and that the number of stereotypical skinny models is extremely limited. Many of the designers, who create collections for the DFF ramp, primarily cater for larger figured ladies who are prepared to do what their thinner counter parts have not done - support local designers and invest in clothing that suits their bodies and embraces their individual style and personality.”

Shangase said the DFF was created by the eThekwini Municipality to support entrepreneurship and grow the fashion design sector of the economy.

“Worldwide, a lack of fashionable attire for larger sized ladies has left a huge gap in the market that is now being embraced by fashion retailers At DFF 2019, we are decolonising fashion. We are embracing both the size and shape of ‘real’ African women and helping create a far more inclusive African fashion industry, that can be embraced by designers and fashion lovers alike.”

She added: “In the past we have had DFF designers working with fuller figure models, now we are taking this further and have included the plus-size models, and created a conducive programme (DFF Bootcamp) for them to receive proper training in preparation for them to launch their careers, within the modelling industry that has now started to recognise them”.

* Follow Nagan on Instagram: @annelinenagan and Facebook : @annelinenagan12. Tickets for The Durban Fashion Fair will be available soon at webtickets.co.za