Last week, Project Runway Season 9 chose Trinidadian designer Anya Ayoung Chee as the winner of the popular design competition on Lifetime. Anya wowed judges by creating chic island pieces with only four months of sewing experience. While Anya’s collection was definitely worthy of the number one spot, one thing that stood out was the fact that the collection was only made to accommodate women who wear sizes 0-4 and had plunging necklines that would really only work for women who have breasts no larger than an A to small C cup. What about all the other sizes? What about all the women with busty curves?
Before I continue it should be stated that this isn’t a discussion about the inclusion or exclusion of plus sizes in designer collections, rather it is a discussion about the inclusion of women of all sizes. More and more fashion has become a world open only to a select and exclusive few with designers frequently making clothing that can only drape the bodies of runway fit models. Making clothing that can only fit runway models would be perfectly fine, if it weren’t for the fact that most of the women they hope to sell the designs to aren’t runway size. In catering to such a small segment of women designers are alienating a huge chunk of their target audience. Sure designer collections like Anya’s look amazing on those size 2 models, but what about the amazing everyday woman who wears a size 6, 8 or 10? What about the woman who wears a size 14, the average size of most American women, should she not look and feel chic? Are they not worthy of a designer’s fashion? Women, like clothing, come in all colors, heights, shapes and sizes. Designing clothing that fits only women who are rail thin and practically curveless doesn’t reflect the diversity that fashion supposedly tries to represent through design.
Women of all ages, sizes and backgrounds love fashion and live their lives trying to recreate their favorite designs; however, it is clear that most designers could care less about returning the love. When it comes to the fashion world real women are simply excluded and made to feel inferior if they can’t wear something straight off the runway. It’s true that tall and thin is the more accepted standard in traditional fashion, but our culture is anything but traditional. It has evolved in many ways and the fashion industry needs to evolve to accommodate that. More women need to demand that designers embrace and create designs that represent the real woman, from size 6 and beyond, to tall, short, curvy and thin. We need to raise our voices year round, not just during fashion week or when one off issues arise. We need to let them know that we want and need diversity in the industry because women’s fashion should be just that…for women, all women, not just a select few.
– Danielle Pointdujour