With a 40in waist, hes the first plus-size male model to sign for a major agency. He explains how fashion needs to rethink its attitude to size and why the term brawn indicates strength and power
Zach Miko is 6ft 6in, has a 40in waist, and is the first plus-size male model signed to a major agency, IMG, which looks after models including Lara Stone, Freja Beha and Gigi Hadid. Having modelled for Target, one of the USs biggest retailers, and soon to be modelling for Yours, one of the UKs biggest plus-size fashion retailers, the 26-year-olds signing comes at an interesting time in plus-size male modelling. Despite the demand, there are currently no plus-size male models on the books of a major agency in the UK. In Germany, there are three agencies dedicated to plus-size male models, but their remit rarely stretches outside Germany (Miko hails from Connecticut). In menswear, plus-size refers to XL and up (higher than a 42in chest), but can stretch to anyone very tall and well built. For reference, the Guardian uses male models with a 32in waist. Coined brawn by IMG (and the brother of curve, its female division), it marks an attempt to remove the plus-size moniker and, the agency hopes, present a more realistic male body shape.
Youve been signed to IMG as its first plus-size or brawn male model. Congratulations. So far, youve only modelled for Target and yet your profile has blown up overnight. Why do you think that is?
There are very few [plus-sized male models] in the US. I think it made a splash because Target is a big retailer. But they just put me in the shoot with classically sized male models, so all the fashion blogs were like: did Target sneak a plus size guy into their site? But, yes, it has been quick. The first advert came out in July, the first article came out in September and here we are.