By Aria Hughes
Zach Miko is the first model signed to IMG Model’s Brawn division.
IMG Models has created a new, more marketable term for big and tall: brawn.
That’s the name of the new plus-size men’s division that the agency recently launched.
“Brawn has a body positive message. Brawn is physical strength,” said Ivan Bart, senior vice president at IMG Models.
IMG’s first brawn model is Zach Miko, an actor, comedian, writer and blogger — he runs a Web site for larger men named Chubstr — who appeared on Target’s e-commerce site in 2015 modeling the big and tall line by Mossimo Supply Co.
Miko, who is 6 feet, 6 inches and has a 40-inch waist, has become the poster boy for brawn men who feel good about their bodies and want to look fashionable. He’s essentially the male version of Ashley Graham, a curvy model who’s also signed under IMG and who recently appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. She also just launched a collection with Dressbarn.
“The body positive messaging and size diversity is something that’s relevant and something that continues to be on everybody’s mind. We have to extend the conversation for men,” Bart said.
Bart told WWD he signed Miko, who hails from Connecticut and was an Eagle Scout, because he was relatable but still represented fashion.
“I want every man in America to say, ‘I can do that’ when they see Zach,” Bart said.
While Bart believes there are some brands catering to larger men’s sizes, he knows from experience that stores aren’t flooded with options.
“I consider myself a beefy, stocky kind of guy or whatever buzzword you want to use. I’m in the fashion business and I’m required to dress fashionably but yet I have size issues,” Bart said. “It becomes defeating when I don’t consider myself morbidly obese, but I go to certain stores they don’t have my size.”
Bart is hoping that this new division will push brands to consider producing larger sizes for men.
“In 2016 everybody has some vanity. Everyone wants to wear great clothes and everyone wants to look fashionable,” Bart said. “We have to start asking for more options.”