Be The Change You Wish To See In The Fashion World
Opinion piece by guest writer Bryony S.
Fashion is a notoriously exclusive club. The industry is represented by an elite group, marketed towards only the richest percentage of the population, and recognition given to only a tiny handful of designers, editors, and models – by nature, the fashion industry is not one for zealous representation.
Since the size 0 debate raged through the noughties, after the infamous passing of Luisel Ramos, designers made a feeble attempt to include curvy, plus sized, or heck, even just normal sized women in their campaigns or on their catwalks. Editors gave a few size 14 women ad campaigns and waited for the press hype to die down. And die down it did, the world moved on and the fashion industry continued to bombard us with images of unattainably thin models to sell us clothes that only made us feel fat. Even categorizing a woman's body as plus sized is alienating - isn't it bad enough to be labeled and judged on your size without then further categorizing our sizes and shapes into 'plus'. The connotations of being ostracized by designers, brands and labels for being plus sized is that we have another box that we are shoved into, that we have another set of preconceptions for people to judge us by. Why divide us further by being plus sized? Why not just, human sized.
The world's main fashion weeks have only just come to gloriously fashionable finish, and there's no surprise, that whilst yes the clothes were beautiful and yes the artistry was impeccable and the entire thing magical, women of all shapes, colors and sizes were shamefully under-represented.
Calvin Klein used a plus sized model, and she wasn't plus sized enough. ASOS used plus sized models, and again, she wasn't plus sized enough – it's a small gesture from a multi-billion dollar industry that has such influence on our body image and self-esteem.
It seems that despite a few attempts to rectify the problems, there is certainly a reluctance to change the body types of women in very high fashion. The high street seems to have come in leaps and bounds in comparison.
And, this is where bloggers come into the equation – one could argue that the top bloggers in the US and the UK are model like and there is a certain element of that. But when you get down to it, the fact is, millions of normal, everyday people of every size, gender, color, race and religion are setting up blogs because they feel under-represented. It's almost a grassroots movement amongst the fashion industry.
Maybe the high-end designers and the editors won't push to see plus sized women on the catwalk, or in a campaign for a Chanel handbag, but there are millions of us who are standing up and telling society that we are not ashamed to be who we are, and we are doing that on social media and on our blogs. Maybe the fashion industry won't change, but we can change. We can ensure that we practice what we preach, that we treat everyone equally, and that we celebrate the beauty in others. It's no good getting worked up that yet again there's no diversity in fashion campaigns and then judging someone for the color of their skin or their size. We have to be the change, we have to set an example.
We have to go out there and spread the message that just because someone who looks like you isn't up on a catwalk, doesn't mean you are any less beautiful. We have to go out there and spread the message that you might be underrepresented in one industry, but it doesn't mean that you are not normal. It doesn't mean that you are any less deserving of appreciation and it does not mean that you should feel less incredible about the way you look.
It starts with us, with the under-represented being kind to each other. With the under-represented encouraging each other even though the elite might not. It's not the fashion industry that will change, and who cares. It starts with us.