Lanky. Curvy. Tall. Short. Wide hips. Flat chest. Women come in all shapes and sizes. The modeling industry, however, still hasn’t fully come to terms with this.
New York Fashion Week is underway and once again, the rest of society is reminded of how narrow-minded fashion designers are when it comes to model’s shape and size.
After watching for a few moments, it’s easy to see a pattern. Clones of models walk on the runway, the majority with 24-inch waists, thigh gaps and long slender legs.
Every now and then, designers like Christian Siriano gain a conscience and include a couple of plus-size models. But with a simple blink, these models can easily be missed during a runway show. Other companies like LVMH and Kering have also claimed that they are not using size zero models.
But does the fashion industry honestly expect congratulatory applause for sensationalizing a headline that shows the actions of a few rather than the majority?
Even with an open-minded designer like former “Project Runway” winner Siriano, plus-size models hardly receive the attention they deserve during fashion week.
The Fashion Spot reported that during the fall 2017 fashion weeks in New York, Paris, Milan and London only 30 of the 7,035 models who walked were plus-sized in 11 of 241 shows.
The supposed progress stated by a few fashion designers doesn’t reflect reality. Body inclusivity isn’t a priority for designers, most of whom are too reluctant to make any changes that could damage their small-minded perspectives on fashion innovation.
Despite what designers may think, models are not moving hangers. They do more than walk runways and promote clothes.
Thanks to social media, plus-size models like Ashley Graham have gained millions of followers for showing off and branding their personalities.
In this way, models have become much more than uncommon yet popular faces. The more they resemble the rest of society, the more approachable and relatable they become.
People want to see what’s new in fashion, but more so they would like to see models who look like them on the runway. If there were more models representing the beautiful differences among women, the fashion-forward pieces worn may suddenly be more desireable.
It certainly is a challenge. Designers view most models for their lengthy slender frames, but should instead add different sizes for a change.
Far too lazy to challenge this notion, designers prefer to work with thinner frames rather than test their abilities with natural features like curves and stature. In this way, designers continue to make desireable clothing that is profitable even if it doesn’t represent everyone.
However, in doing so, they marginalize most of society and limit their profits.
The average woman is between a size 16 and 18, not a size 2, according to a 2016 study from the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education.
The average height for models ages 20 and up is 5 feet 4 inches tall, according to data collected from 2011 to 2014 by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. It is not 5 feet 10 inches, one of the many heights that should be represented in the fashion industry.
It’s about time that all designers represent every shape and size in the world, not just a selective few. If these changes are made across the board and with the majority of fashion designers, the industry could then argue that they were progressive in body-size inclusivity.
Designers pride themselves on their creativity and forward-thinking designs. Instead of being stuck on past body ideals, it’s about time they truly show what’s next in fashion by creating looks for a variety of women, not just for the lanky, but for those above size 4 and below 5 feet 10 inches.