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Real bodies hit the fashion week catwalk

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Models walk the runway at the completion of the Swim show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia in Sydney, Monday, May 14, 2018. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts) 

Something unusual has appeared on the catwalk at Australian Fashion Week - curvy models.

What's more, they were wearing bikinis.

The week's famous swim show that showcases the resort or trans-seasonal offerings from swimwear brands, was given a jolt of reality this year with the designers opting to show their swimwear on models of all heights, shapes and sizes.

NSW label, Camp Cove Swim, elicited a cheer from the audience as retro prints and high-waisted pants were modelled on a variety of body shapes on the catwalk at Sydney's Carriageworks on Monday.

"Actual butts on the runway. I love you Camp Cove Swim. Real girls real gorgeous," Isabella Manfredi from the band The Preatures declared on Instagram from her front row vantage point.

The NSW label, designed by Newcastle's Katherine Hampton, accommodates women up to a size 16.

Camp Cove wasn't alone in the diversity on display. Australian swimwear labels Fella, Duskii and Pam Pam, all featured models of varying shapes and sizes.

It's a smart business move considering the average Australian woman is a size 14.

Professor Tim Olds from the University of South Australia who researches the area of anthropometry - the study of body size and shape - confirmed this figure in a study carried out a few years ago.

"About five years ago we took 3D body scans of about 1500 women, mainly in their 20s, 30s and 40s, and what we did then was to compare them to all the standard sizes and see how well do they match standard Australian sizes," Professor Olds told AAP.

"They matched a 14. Fourteen is the best fit for them."

He said the standard Australian code for clothing size was rarely followed.

However, the more average bodies on display in Monday's show made for a more realistic representation considering Australians were only getting bigger.

*Australian Fashion Week runs until May 17 in Sydney

© AAP 2018