With their January 2011 “Curves Ahead” edition that featured only plus-size models, V magazine had women believing that they were beautiful, no-matter what size they were.
Last June, Italian Vogue followed suit and placed semi-nude, buxom models Tara Lynn, Robyn Lawley and Candice Huffine on their cover wearing hot lingerie.
With the meteoric rise in the career of former plus-size model, Crystal Renn, we wonder if the fashion industry is finally embracing the “love thyself” mantra we want to instill in women and girls.
To the outside spectator, these examples would imply that the tides have turned in an industry that has historically equated thinness with beauty.
However, has any of this “new weight consciousness” affected the way designers build their aesthetic?
It’s hard to believe that fashion is willing to adjust to more realistic body types when it’s been a longstanding practice for the public to adjust to the industry’s unrealistic ideals. Today, designers continue to send waif models down the catwalk, and tailor their clothes to fit the sample sizes of 0-4, when the average female size in America is an estimated size 14.
High-end fashion is a niche business that is accessible to a limited population. Beauty images of attractive models in impeccably-made clothes invoke an essence of “exclusivity” for a luxury brand, and feeds into the staying power of their business. To make clothes “bigger” or “more accessible” consequently makes it less attractive to those consumers who are privileged enough to afford the clothes.
The truth of the matter remains as this: Most often the members of this privileged minority—the women who shop at Bergdorf’s in the volume the way most of us shop at H&M—are oftentimes, thin. Luxury is not supposed to be realistic, practical or even fair—at least, that’s what the fashion industry is telling us.
People will always chase the standards of luxury and go into credit card debt for a pair of Jimmy Choos, while juicing, downward dogging or skinny bitching their way to a “fashionable weight.”
In the meantime, we have the power to decide if we’re “with them,” or “against them.”