New York Fashion Week is often praised as being one of the most diverse and inclusive of all the fashion weeks; however, there is still a long way to go in terms of body diversity. While shows like Chromat and Christian Siriano have plus size models throughout their runway show, many brands do not. In 2017, Alexander McQueen made history by placing two curvy models on his runway.
However, while the runway is more diverse (and it’s still at a bare minimum), we’re not seeing the change rippling through the industry. You look at the streetstyle galleries that various outlets post and they are still very white and very skinny versus being representative of the dynamic nature of fashion notables and influencers that are attending the shows.
I have attended many NYFW where I see plus-size women walking into Spring Studios to watch a show and not have one photographer even lift their camera to snap a shot of their epic style. However, there will undoubtedly be some skinny, white girl in a somewhat basic outfit with oversized sunglasses and a smug look on her face that ends up everywhere. If we’re showcasing fat on the runway, can’t we also embrace it on the streets?
Plus size influencer and v-logger, Kellie B, was fed up with the lack of representation of plus size women in fashion, so she started the hashtag #FatAtFashionWeek. At the beginning of NYFW she posted to her Instagram and stated, “I’m starting a new hashtag #fatatfashionweek. We are here, we work in this industry, we get it, we are leaders and consumers.” Yess, girl!
Madame Noire spoke to Shainna Tucker, plus size influencer and blogger who admitted, “I wasn’t the biggest fat at first. But then I had to sit back and check myself. I reflected on WHY it was needed. 95% of my friends are plus size and all of them have their own amazing style and to the rest of the fashion world, they’re constantly overlooked.” Media has an interesting way of removing people from the conversation when they don’t give space on platforms allowing them to be seen. Tucker continued, “I appreciate the hashtag for curating and cultivating a collection of women who show the f*ck up and do so on their own damn terms.”
Writer and plus-size influencer Maui B stated, “There are so many women who need the fashion inspiration and the empowerment to be bold.” How are plus size women supposed to feel included in the fashion industry, included in fashion week, or simply seen by the community if we limit it to only model-esq curvy figures on the runway. Plus size women are models, stylists, buyers, editors, and more – the limiting of our bodies and presence during NYFW is nauseating. Maui B. explained the importance of the hashtag to the plus size community, “The hashtag is a way to show people that we slayed fashion week also. For the most part, we don’t get the same coverage so you have to create spaces that celebrate us at these events.”
The hashtag seems to have mainstream outlets waking up. In Style Magazine has a gallery on their site dedicated to plus size women at NYFW, in addition to focusing on curves both on and off the runway with articles. As always, both Hello Beautiful and Madame Noire always uplift our thicc women.
first photo from: Jeff Grossman/WENN.com