Size and weight have long been subjects of controversy in the fashion world, particularly when it comes to the group of ‘elite’ women who model clothing. Whether in print ads or on runways, diversity among models has been hard to come by in the fashion world. Promises to include models that represent the average woman have fallen flat, and when you ask those same women to name a plus sized model, most can’t without using a search engine – a clear indication that more exposure is needed. But in 2014 and 2015, two top designers featured plus size models during the iconic fashion event, New York Fashion Week. Could this signal the end of the trend of plus size models and instead, make it the norm?
Marie Southard Ospina is an Associate Fashion & Beauty Editor with Bustle.com. With her perfectly shaped cupid’s bow and wide brown eyes, Marie fits the classical definition of beautiful. This year she walked the runway for Designer Carrie Hammer, who creates luxury professional looks and regularly features plus size models in her collections. Ospina’s experience as a plus size model was, she says, a positive one. While it was exciting to have her hair and makeup done by professionals, she says it was even more gratifying to realize that there are high-end designers who cater to plus size women and even seem to enjoy doing so.
Like many other women, Marie says there’s nothing inherently wrong with the typical body size of runways models. What is wrong is the fact that most models are one size and one size only. By featuring models from a variety of different cultures, races, and sizes, inclusivity will begin to dominate the fashion industry. Prior to Carrie Hammers show, Marie was only the second plus sized model to be featured on the runway during New York Fashion Week: a clear indication that size exclusivity is alive and well regardless of the so called curvy girl revolution that many say is taking place. Ospina feels that the phrase ‘curvy girl revolution’ is a problem in and of itself, seeking to body shame those who don’t possess a curvy figure.
The real revolution, it seems, should come in the form of acceptance for all body types and sizes, regardless of shape or size. Showcasing a variety of women who can simply exist as they are without rules or constant scrutiny befalling them is the real life-changing revolution that the fashion world, and the world in general, needs. Consumers continue to use social media to demand that designers become more inclusive and cater to plus sized women. Beauty and confidence is more than just one type of body, one culture, or one race – beauty demonstrates great diversity, embraces, and celebrates it.
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