Born out of the need to actually represent plus-sized women in fashion, Invicta celebrates inclusivity with a truly diverse roster of models.
In the real world, the term ‘plus sized’ is typically used to describe bodies north of the size 16 range— but brands tend to take much greater liberties with the moniker. Eager to win the ‘inclusivity’ badge, designers and agencies alike tend to throw the term around as a marketing ploy, sometimes cynically, sometimes with intentions that haven’t been fully realised. Seeing as all the 'plus-size’ models used by fashion brands are actually mid-size models (size eight to 14), it’s not hard to grasp why all it took was one post at the wrong time to catapult Egypt’s first diversity-dedicated modelling agency, Invicta, into existence.
One summer afternoon, 22-year-old Rolla Al Arabi was scrolling on her Instagram timeline when she spotted a modelling agency post about their newest recruit, someone they categorised as a plus-size model. “She was not plus size,” Al Arabi tells SceneStyled. “As a curvy girl, to see that post made me feel so misrepresented. We can’t be made to feel like that’s the standard for plus size models— so I decided to open the agency on the spot.” Despite only having USD 100 to her name, she rolled up her sleeves and got the agency up and running by the following November.
Named after the Latin word for ‘too powerful to be defeated’, Al Arabi doesn’t have money on her mind. Instead, she wants to help shift the way we look at our bodies. “I want someone to be able to point at a post and say ‘That girl looks like me!’” Al Arabi says. “I had zero experience in running an agency, but I remembered how much this kind of thing affected me when I was young and I wanted to make a change. People in fashion need to learn that it’s one thing to preach about diversity and another thing to act on it.”
When reviewing the model applications she receives, Al Arabi said she doesn’t really look at their appearance. Tall, short, skinny, curvy— that’s not the point. She tries to choose her models based on their character and professionalism, and strictly enforces an only above 18-years-old rule.
Since launching, Invicta has worked with quite a few local brands and companies, including Najlah, Doxxhouse, Izla, Obsidian, and Revolt, with many more to come. “In the end, if just one person tells me that I was able to make them feel more represented, that’s good enough for me,” Al Arabi says. “That’s what I wanted when I was young.”