This week, Tunisian curve model Ameni Esseibi cemented her status as an international model at Weinsanto by walking for the French label during the opening of Paris Fashion Week. The 24-year-old, who is known as the first “plus-size” model from the Middle East and North Africa, stunned at the brand’s spring 2023 ready-to-wear showcase wearing a multi-toned sleeveless dress paired with white opera gloves. What’s more, the Dubai-based trailblazer was also the only Arab model to take a turn down Weinsanto’s catwalk on Monday.
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Some of the most striking moments during Fashion Month come when brands decide to embrace size diversity. Indeed, curvy and plus-sized models are still a very underrepresented group when it comes to the catwalk, so when talents of different shapes and sizes are allowed to shine on the runway, we have to laud the brands, casting directors, and agents offering these opportunities. In Esseibi’s case, it was the Arab Fashion Council, which tapped Esseibi as its first plus-size ambassador, and ensured her spot at Paris Fashion Week.
“This is a huge step towards diversity. It’s the first time that a fashion council puts a curvy model as their ambassador.” Esseibi wrote in the announcement in March. “My role will be to make sure that every Fashion week happening in the Middle East includes diversity. Yes, the fashion world is finally listening to us,” she added.
While the global fashion industry has made bold strides towards inclusivity over the last few years, expanding their size ranges to account for women of all shapes and sizes, the stigma still continues in our region’s social fabric. However, efforts are being made to make a positive difference in the fashion industry, with institutions like the Arab Fashion Council.
In addition to being a council ambassador, Esseibi has worked with a number of esteemed brands including Jean Paul Gautier, activewear label Women’s Best, and H&M.
Though she’s a runway fixture during homegrown fashion weeks — she has walked for SemSem, Bouguessa, and Michael Cinco, to name a few —her appearance at Weinsanto marked her international runway debut as a model. But according to her most recent Instagram post: “This is just the beginning.”