Tag Archives: fashion week

The Spectrum of Threatening to Disgusting

5 Oct
skinnyvcurvy

Courtesy of About-Face

A fashion week/month is still in full swing. I love it because I love clothes and seeing what the designers have in store for the following season (even if I can’t afford the hems on those clothes).

The models that strut the runway are there to present the fashion. Their job is to sell the clothes. In order to to that, the clothes have to be appear appealing. Because all women aren’t shaped the same, it’s useful if the clothes appear on different body types. One day, the trend will change and designers will create pieces that look good on different body types.

Until then, we have to contend with the Joan Smallses, Jourdan Dunnes, Kendall Jenners and Gigi Hadids of the world. But just because these women all wear the essentially the same size, it doesn’t mean their all built the same. To the average woman, these are tall, thin women. But Gigi and Joan have larger busts. Kendall has longer legs. Jourdan has the better strut. It’s these pieces of these women that get picked apart by fashion bloggers and critics.

Gigi posted a photo of her walking in the Versace show lat week where (gasp) her thighs were touching. For shame! Gigi Hadid is a tall, thin model. She has a few more curves than some of her colleagues, but not as much as the Tyra Bankses of the world. A few comments on her Instagram led her to respond about the sea change in the fashion industry where her body type hasn’t been accepted in the industry for a long time.

A post shared by Gigi Hadid (@gigihadid) on

There are positives and negatives with this. First, good for her for having body confidence. So many women her age are still struggling with being confident in their shapes and size. She’s already ahead of the curve. The problem, however, is that, as she says, she still fits sample sizes. She has abs. Gigi, while still experiencing body shaming, sits on the threatening end of the body spectrum.

A recent article on New York Magazine’s site brought up why it’s so hard for people to discuss weight. Unlike some of our other metrics (age, height, shoe size), weight fluctuates so much for a variety of factors. Despite where you lie on the scale, your place on the spectrum of threatening (thin) to disgusting (obese) is solely at the discretion of others. It’s a wholly unfair system, but it’s how we see each other.

Gigi Hadid’s comments are the same as a size 2 woman complaining to her size 22 sister about how she can’t find the clothes she likes in her size. It’s not that the size 2 woman doesn’t have the right to complain, it’s that it’s coming from someone who seemingly has everything. It’s the poor-little-rich-girl syndrome.

I’ll admit that I have fallen prey and been victim of these judgements. My struggles with fluctuating weight are well documented on this here blog. I’ve been both the skinny and the fat friend. It’s easy to think others are living in glass houses when you’re trying to clear the sludge from your own windows. It takes a lot of personal effort not to focus on other people’s seeming successes while you’re working on your growth.

I wish I could offer an easy fix for this, but there isn’t one. It comes with time. You learn not to let others have their space to vent their issues without judging them for wanting better for themselves.

Advertisements

Seeking Fashion Inspiration

16 Sep

beverlyA couple of years ago, I got really excited about the prospects for the fashion industry. Models like Joan Smalls and Jourdan Dunn were killing it on the runways. Designers like Rick Owens were eschewing the standard of rail-thin models and the traditional catwalk for a more in-your-face strut by models of varying sizes. The clothes were great, the shows were inspiring and it left me hopeful for a future with more diversity on the runway.

Sadly, that was just a drop in the can. There hasn’t been much progress made since then. Rail-thin models are still the standard to trot down runways wearing samples that don’t consider different body types. Not only are designers ignoring the different ways women are shaped, they’re shaming women for wanting to wear their clothes. Earlier this summer, a former Hervé Leger executive said curvy women and lesbians have no place wearing the brand’s iconic bandage dress.

‘If you’re a committed lesbian and you are wearing trousers all your life, you won’t want to buy a Leger dress. Lesbians would want to be rather butch and leisurely,” he told the Daily Mail earlier this summer.

The bandage dress was everywhere in the late aughts. From rail thin to super curvy, just about every celebrity was wearing it or some knockoff version. I tried on a cheaper variety once or twice and, to be honest, it isn’t a very forgiving dress. Body shapers, Spanx and prayer are needed to look right. I liken the dress to a good twist out: it may work for you one day, but it will take you forever to replicate the magic of that one day.

But for the glitterati, the bandage dress was a badge of pride. If you could rock it, by all means rock the hell out of it. It’s disheartening when a designer who creates clothes can’t see real people wearing them. Majority of clothed women aren’t shaped like supermodels. If designers don’t want different body types wearing their clothes, they should just create them in one size and one body type.

Luckily, model legend Beverly Johnson disagreed as she rocked the frock at the Hervé Leger show over the weekend. “I’m a curvy woman, so I embrace it. I think that they make dresses for curvy women,” she said. She did follow it up by saying the dress wouldn’t look right on a “stick-thin” woman, but I don’t totally agree. It really depends on the body.

chromatWhich is another reason I saw some small ray of hope with another fashion show during New York Fashion Week. The Chromat collection, meant to be a “structural experiment for the human body,” took more bodies into mind when the pieces were presented. A mix between athletic and couture, the Chromat designs had a futuristic bondage theme and were all exquisitely tailored to the models’ forms. There were pear shapes, thick thighs, large boobs, flat chests, skinny legs, etc. on display. And they all rocked out.

It’s amazing what can happen when designers remember to step out of their comfort zone and try to design for a different shape. The challenge helps acknowledge women who appreciate the aesthetic and artistry of fashion while not excluding them from the process.

That’s all we want: acknowledgement and inclusion in the things we enjoy.

Full-Figured Fashion Week

5 Feb

uptown-rick-owens-2Diversity on the runway has always been a big issue in the fashion industry. Designers have every right to place the clothes they’ve constructed on a model that fits with their aesthetic. But what does it say about the designer when all of their models look the same?

I can go on for days about the lack of racial diversity on the runways. There are others who do it on a regular basis. What I’d like to focus on is size diversity. We all come in multitude of sizes and we all can appreciate beautiful works of art. Fashion Week, for me, is a time when stunning works of art are put on display for our critique and enjoyment.

With Mercedes Benz Fashion week in New York starting tomorrow, I’m realistically hopeful to see different sizes on the runway this year. Last fall, designer Rick Owens stunned Paris audiences with multi-cuved, multi-hued models performing a stepshow on the runway. The women stomped down the catwalk with fierce aggression showcasing some pretty unique items. There were thigh jiggles, big boobs, little boobs and hair of every texture. It awe inspiring.

When I first stumbled on the show, I couldn’t help but rewatch it. And then it hit me that I was seeing something different, but not different. I see women like that all the time—at work, on the train, on the street. They’re everywhere…except the runway.

Yes, I’m “skinny now,” but I haven’t always been this way. I’m not not that skinny. I’ve said several times on this blog, my thighs jiggle and I’ve got a pooch of a stomach. And guess what else? I wear clothes. I like fashion. I get excited for fashion week.

Can the barrier that was broken last fall in Paris carry over this week in New York? Will designers look to other boy types to market their wares?

Fashion Week began as an opportunity for designers to showcase their goods to buyers. The commercial aspect of the event didn’t grow to its current height until recent memory. Buyers are still at the shows, they’ve just been pushed back a few seats to make room for the Kardashians. That’s fine. But the Kardashians aren’t the rail-thin girls we only see walking the runway.

I don’t take issue with the current crop of models being hired to strut. Personally, my favorite model these days is Joan Smalls. There is, however, room for designers to show buyers what a woman curvier frame would buy.

The fashion industry can be exclusive, but it doesn’t have to be. I only hope designers will recognize that a diverse runway will only help them in the long run.

It was a personal exercise to consider curves and size ranges in the clothes I sell. This was a great way for us in the studio to study more ways to make clothes available to more people. It was as simple as that.
—Rick Owens in Vogue Turkey

What do you think about diversity in the fashion industry? What other types of models would you like to see draped in your favorite designer’s clothes?