Fashion has long been criticised for its overly exclusive definition of beauty, and while the debate typically revolves around race, the industry is not exactly known for its size inclusivity either. But if the Fall 2020 shows are anything to go by, then it seems the tide is finally turning. Leading the charge is Dutch model Jill Kortleve, who made history as the first “plus-size” woman to walk for Fendi, along with fellow curve model and body positivity advocate Paloma Elsesser.
Kortleve hails from Amsterdam, where she is signed to local agency The Movement Models, whose motto is “health over shape, potential over pigment, identity over gender, muses over measurement, equality over diversity”. Of Dutch, Surinamese, Indonesian, and Indian heritage, Kortleve has won many hearts with her doll-like features, sensual curves, winsome smile, and above all, self-confidence.
“I grew up in a small town in the south of Holland where I always had the feeling I had to act a certain way of dress a certain way to fit in and for people to like me,” the 26-year-old said in an interview. “It took me about 22 years to figure out that I was in control of my own life. I made a big decision in my work – which was to stop focusing on my body weight.”
Having landed her first contract with Nike, Kortleve was quickly snapped up by Zara, H&M, American Apparel, and Fenty Beauty, but it was her first runway appearance in Alexander McQueen’s Fall/Winter 2019 show that really made her career take off. Just a year later, Kortleve has become a veritable runway darling, walking not only for Fendi, but also for Jacquemus, Alexander McQueen, Mugler, Valentino, Molly Goddard, and Michael Kors. Expect to see a lot more of this beauty!