Surendran Reddy – “Size Inclusivity and Representation Matters”
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Crown The Brown: Surendran Reddy
Crown The Brown: Surendran Reddy. The Mother City, Cape Town brings about some of the most exciting fashion shows and events planned throughout the year. One event that stood out in 2019 was the very first Plus Size male fashion show that took place in Cape Town.
It made headlines for incorporating some beautiful diversity and size inclusivity. It enabled brands to realize the gap in the market regarding plus size men.
Surendran Reddy made a name for himself as he strutted that runway at the first ever Plus Size male fashion show. He soon became the very first Plus Size Indian male Model in Cape Town.
Surendran has built up quite a portfolio in the industry over the years from working behind the camera as a photographer (@boybehindthelens) to working his way into the hearts of others and becoming a model himself.
Body positivity is something he lives by and we wanted to find out more about his journey and the awareness around being male and the experiences related to self-love and being an Indian Plus Size Model. This is what Surendran shared with us!
Photographer, stylist and an advocate for plus size men! How would you describe yourself?
In all honestly I would describe myself as a soft and very quiet person and kind-hearted person, hard working, the one guy who is always walking around with a smile on his face and also I’m a very positive person. As I like to see everything in a positive light and never in a negative light.
You have always been comfortable behind the camera but you recently became the subject being photographed in the very first plus size male fashion show! Congratulations! What was that experience like?
When I was told about the fashion show and campaign I was really excited to hear about it, Thus I wanted to hop onto the project immediately and help spread the word. And to find out that I was selected as one of the finalist for the first ever Plus Size Men fashion I was really happy to hear that.
Only after a few days did it really hit me that I will be modelling In a fashion show that has never taken place before in South Africa. Honestly on the day of the fashion the nerves really did kick in. But overall it was an amazing experience.
I learnt so much from being in front of the camera and also experiencing the in and outs of putting a fashion show together.
What do you think is the biggest challenge for plus size men in the fashion industry ?
The biggest challenge in plus size men’s fashion is not only one main thing but a number of reasons. To just mention a few; “the notion that bigger guys don’t care about their appearance has been an underlying misconception rampant among the menswear industry and society at large.
Also another big problem with plus-size men’s fashion is that brands who are now providing extended sizes aren’t making the clothes specifically for bigger bodies. Because in the eyes of clothing brands a plain t-shirt will not fit perfectly or look right on someone with a gut.
What are some stereotypes you face as an Indian plus size male?
Personally speaking some stereotypes I face as an Indian plus size male isn’t my weight but how my body looks and the main focus being or what people normal point out is how much body hair I have. And in some eyes body hair is seen as ugly, disgusting and unattractive.
You are also a stylist and photographer. What do you enjoy most about photography? What inspired your love for fashion and photography?
I get my inspiration for fashion from seeing different peoples styles. Finding ways of styling it in a different way and shooting it differently. And also seeing what is trending, putting a twist to it so that it is still seen as trendy fashion but with a twist.
My inspiration for photography came from assisting on a photo shoot. Just seeing how the model, MUA, Stylist and Photographer working together really inspired me to become a Photographer and pursue this as a full time profession.
Being a stylist, I’m sure you’ve learnt a few tips! What are some tips you have for our plus size males to make their closet more stylish?
The most important thing first of all is comfortability. Secondly when shopping or deciding on changing up your style one should always remember to stick to there own style and find ways of just improving it.
If you change your entire look or personal style, you feel uncomfortable it will actually show. So it’s best to remember comfortability when thinking on changing your outfits in your closet.
Why do you think we need more plus size male and size inclusive awareness in the industry?
It’s all about being equal. There’s a lot of plus size men who want to take on the modelling scene but they can’t because of weight restrictions. Or they don’t have the look the industry wants.
But honestly we need to include plus size men into the industry not only as a platform but also an opportunity to broaden the modelling scene. To open doors to new ideas and new campaigns.
We really love the work that you do! Take us through a typical process regarding styling certain body types and the vision that goes behind a photo shoot?
So when putting a photo shoot together there are a few things I consider regarding styling. Especially working with different body types. Firstly I always make sure that the client is comfortable in the garments and also does the garments fit with the clients overall personal style.
That’s important because the client needs to be comfortable in whatever garments the client wears or the garments I style for the clients. I need to make sure it will suit their personal style and very importantly the client must be comfortable.
What are some future projects you have coming up and what can we as a community do to increase the awareness surrounding size inclusivity amongst men?
My future projects include doing a few photo shoots with well known Influencers within the industry. Personally I would recommend the community to raise awareness around size inclusivity.
To speak up on plus size men fashion and have talks or awareness campaigns in and around communities. Also to spread the word of plus size men and women within the industry.
What advice do you have for other males struggling with their body?
I will give the same advice that I received, that all men who are struggling with their bodies must respect and make peace with their bodies. Because that’s who they are. They need to embrace how their bodies look. At the end of the day that’s OUR representation of who WE are.
Life behind and in front of the camera is certainly Surendran‘s lifestyle! It is refreshing to see a male advocate for size inclusivity in this industry. Beauty standards have certainly affected many growing up, especially in a brown household and Surendran is no stranger to criticism.
He has become one of the few male advocates that fight towards representation and inclusivity. Something we all need more of in the fashion industry. Be sure to follow his journey as a model @surendran_reddy.