Designers "Flatly Refused" to Dress Ashley Graham for British Vogue, Editor-in-Chief Reveals

The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover girl had a hard time getting clothes from fashion labels for her photoshoot

By Samantha Schnurr Dec 07, 2016 2:38 PMTags

Ashley Graham is forging a new path in fashion, but some designers are not as willing to follow suit.

As a vocal body diversity advocate, the 28-year-old cover girl has long championed for models with fuller figures. However, it seems she still needs someone to stand up for her.

After Graham made her debut on the cover of British Vogue for the January issue, Editor-in-Chief Alexandra Shulman revealed that some designers "flatly refused" to dress the star for the shoot. 

"The shoot was put together fairly last-minute and we are all very grateful to the people at Coach who, under the creative direction of Stuart Vevers, moved speedily to provide clothes for us that had to come from outside their sample range," the magazine's longest serving editor penned her monthly Editor's Letter.

"They were enthusiastic about dressing a woman who is not a standard model, but sadly there were other houses that flatly refused to lend us their clothes." 

Best Body Diversity & Plus-Size Model Campaigns

While Graham is one of the few full-figured women to grace the cover of the iconic magazine, Shulman agrees it's a necessary direction. 

"It seems strange to me that while the rest of the world is desperate for fashion to embrace broader definitions of physical beauty, some of our most famous fashion brands appear to be travelling in the opposite – and, in my opinion, unwise – direction," she wrote. 

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Graham is certainly not the first famous person to experience such rejection from the fashion industry. SNL star Leslie Jones was famously ignored when she sought sartorial help for a red carpet premiere. 

"It's so funny how there are no designers wanting to help me with a premiere dress for movie," she tweeted in late June. "Hmmm that will change and I remember everything."

A few days later, she stepped out on the red carpet for the premiere of Ghostbusters in a stunning crimson gown by Christian Siriano

"It takes a real designer to design for real women," Jones told E!'s Erin Lim at the time. "That's what I was saying. I'll always say that."

Her co-star, Melissa McCarthy, has also spoken publicly about her own struggles finding red carpet clothing. It was such a challenge, the comedian started making her own pieces and later designed her own line to cater to women outside the sample size range. 

"I started a clothing line 'cause I couldn't shop, I couldn't get stuff, I had to have all my stuff made and I thought, 'This is madness,'" she told E!'s Marc Malkin. "We come in every shape, size, color, height and everything and they should serve that."