There is little representation of plus-size fashion models on South Africa's runways currently. That's the view of budding plus-size fashion designer, Daniel Lyonga.
He was speaking to HuffPost SA ahead of the Johannesburg leg of Mercedez-Benz Fashion Week, taking place from Thursday to Saturday.
"There is definitely more room for growth. Your big fashion shows don't largely cater for different body types as they should. Fashion shows need to embody what a society looks like," said Lyonga.
Plus-size model coach and fashion show producer, Grace Ramasobane agreed. She said plus-size models in plus-size designs shouldn't only be a small feature, but an equally dominant presence -- reflecting the diversity of South African women.
Ramasobane believes that some progress has been made in representing different body types on the country's fashion runways, but it is not nearly enough. "Size 36 is just a compromise by fashion heads in big shows. We want to see size 46 on a runway."
The former model is of the opinion that it may be a lack of understanding about the plus-size market that is influencing the types of models seen on runways. "You still hear people talk about plus-size models wasting design material. What does that mean?"
She explained that plus-size models need certain shoes, quality material on their bodies and need to be trained differently in how they walk -- which may be more work, but that does not mean they should be disqualified from prominent fashion shows.
Ramasobane called this puzzling as the plus-size model is such a lucrative market currently. "There's a reason why after we showcase plus-size designs at our local fashion shows, all clothes are soon sold out."
She commended local fashion shows like the Soweto Fashion show, for "reflecting all types of women's sizes."
Ramasobane believes international fashion houses like Dear Curves, who have been featured in big fashion shows prove that it's possible.
Ramasobane hopes the big fashion shows in South Africa will soon follow suit.