When Ashley Graham landed on the cover of British Vogue for the January 2017 issue, it marked an incredibly significant moment in fashion history. She is the first plus-size model—one who’s a powerful advocate for self-love and body diversity—to do it. But as we found out in Editor in Chief Alexandra Shulman’s editor’s letter, there’s another party to thank for making this cover and accompanying editorial possible: Coach.
“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,” Shulman stated in her letter, citing struggles to secure clothing for Graham from brands who typically only have sample sizes to lend out for publications. (Samples typically are a size 0 or 2.)
Shulman also expressed her disappointment that of the many (many) brands Vogue works so closely with, others were not able to make this collaboration happen. “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 stated.
Sadly, this is not the first time that women in the public eye have dealt with this kind of issue. Most notably, Leslie Jones had trouble finding a designer who would dress her for the Ghostbusters premiere earlier this year, and Bryce Dallas Howard spoke openly about buying a size 6 dress off the rack at Neiman Marcus to wear to the 2016 Golden Globes when she couldn’t find a designer sample that would work.
So while it’s fortunate that Coach stepped up to help style this current project—amazing, embellished leather jackets and all—it’s also a very important moment in the industry. “They were enthusiastic about dressing a woman who is not a standard model,” adds Shulman of the iconic brand. We’re hoping that feeling is contagious.
Scroll down for another look at Graham’s history-making Vogue spread.