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Dilemma of Sizes: The Imperative Change within Fashion

This is a short response to Mr. Tim Gunn’s article from the Washington Post. I encourage you to read it.

I love fashion, nonetheless there are somethings noted by Mr. Tim Gunn that I would like to express. First, the amount of choices for women with bigger sizes are limited. To give you some context, New York Fashion Week is a a time of the season where designers showcase their top designs and also some would argue its a form of expression. Such as one going to a museum and seeing paintings many go to these shows to see the artistic creativity of the designers. While I absolutely agree that fashion is a form of art there is something that I DON’T agree with and that it’s mostly the tall, thin, models who walk down the runway. The designers fail to represent the average women; now someone would say “but what is average?” My answer would be that the average women is a collection of different body sizes, colors, and heights. Designers fail to show the diversity of women. Modeling agencies/fashion industry ends up using the same type of model for different shows.  When you see videos or photos of these models in these clothes women don’t neccesarily fit into that mold. In addition, it leaves women wondering if they will ever fit into that? It’s discouraging to see the limited number of choices plus size women have and Mr. Gunn does an excellent job of giving examples of these. His whole article is about the fashion industry having to change in order for plus size women to have more of these high fashion choices.

I am petite and I have struggled with sizes with the clothes that I wear. It may not be because the clothes are too tight, but simply because my body is not proportionate to my height. As a 5’1 lady, I have a bigger bust than most girls; my thighs are dancer or gymnast not all MUSCLE by the way, but pretty thick. Yes, I have struggles when it comes to fashion sizes because clearly 0 at my age does not exist. Did they not consider someone with a size 0 to have a bottom? Nonetheless, there is a difference even with struggles that I have. I always manage to find clothes that fit and there are many choices. If a Small top doesn’t fit then I move to the next size up a Medium top. Even if I do have to occasionally roll my pants they ultimately fit. Unfortunately, with plus size women they don’t have those options they have to go to stores that make their kind of clothes. Why can’t Chanel, Marc Jacobs, Burberry make clothes that would fit them and instead focus on the size 0-6 model than the realistic size 12 individual?

I believe and Mr. Gunn believes that this fashion concept must change and there needs to be a collective effort among all designers and the fashion industry to create a variety of sizes within high fashion. Fashion is an expression for many it’s an art form not only to the designer who designs the pieces, but to the person wearing them. I can be the one to attest to that when I wear some designer I feel good. Studies show that when you wear something that makes you feel good like a new pair of Cèline shades or a Burberry peacoat you feel more confident and happy.

Many of these ideals are deep rooted within tradition. I say tradition, but the image of thin models circulated around the 90’s. Models have constantly been changing. Clearly 20 years of tradition can be changed if all designers and modeling agencies change the outlook of what they see beauty to be, but that is a whole different topic. Mr. Gunn in his article states about designers using children because there body has not fully developed yet. Isn’t that just ludicrous? When the designer is actually selling the clothes not to children, but to developed women who have thighs or a bust or both. There have been some designers such as, Marc Jacobs who has made some type of effort, but it isn’t enough.

Did you know that in the early 1900’s it was considered bad to be thin and if bones were showing that meant you were “sick?” Most women back then were voluptuous and proud. They did not starve themselves not because they wanted to fit into a certain size, but because they did not have enough for food. Yes, it was a different time and of course there were many problems. In regards to fashion, the range of sizes and the image of the model were reflective to society. Today, that is not the issue most models are not reflective to the population. Thus creating a paradox within the fashion industry. There are things that designers can do to be more inclusive this idealized image will only reinforce the eating disorders. Young girls will see these girls in a magazine and will wish to be them. It’s scary to know how much power fashion and advertising has on exploring the inner psyche. Sizes 16 and up are not displayed and we see it weird when we see a plus sized mannequin on display instead of a thin one. Hopefully, fashion can change its perspective towards a healthy and more inclusive one.