The fashion industry was once ridiculed for influencing women’s low self-esteem and body image issues, however this idea has been challenged over the last few months where diversity and being body positive has been fortified.
The movement has seen curve models being celebrated at New York Fashion Week, Alexa Chung releasing a documentary with Vogue covering the need of positive body image and diversity, while here in Australia, Target launched their size 16 mannequins in stores.
However, Gigi Hadid’s post on her Instagram addressing body shamers who said she was too big to walk in fashion shows really brought the issue of being body positive into the spotlight. Hadid’s statement of, “If I didn’t have the body I do, I wouldn’t have the career I do. I love that I can be sexy. I’m proud of it” resonated with a lot of people. The enormous amount of support that Hadid received from the fashion industry, and the general public, has made it clear that the fashion industry's standards of what is defined as beautiful and desirable is changing.
National modelling agency, Vivien's Model Management, has supported curve models for over 20 years. According to the Queensland Manager of the agency, Georgia Barclay, at the moment curve models are in demand.
“Clients are looking for curve models and they’re asking because their customers are wanting to purchase products in those sorts of sizes,” said Barclay.
Brisbane based designer, Sacha Drake, became involved within the fashion industry after she noticed that she couldn’t find any dresses which complimented her size 14 frame. She now believes that it is the designer’s responsibility to create garments which can be worn by diverse body shapes and sizes.
“We have multi-cultural and multi-generational customers in Australia, so it’s crucial for the survival of fashion brands to factor in styles that will work on a broad spectrum of bodies,” said Drake.
This is something that Barclay agrees with enormously, stating that a specific demand for a certain type of model is incredibly driven by the designer and the product that they are trying to sell, and that in the past few months new categories of models, including “fit” and “edgy” models, are becoming sought after.
“Big clients like David Jones, Myer, Target and Kmart have been asking for curvier models and it’s not just curve models, we have clients now who are asking for models that have tattoos which years ago was unheard of,” said Barclay,
“For big parades clients are looking for something diverse, they’re looking for people with tattoos and piercings to promote their product. It comes and goes of what clients are looking for."
Sasha Drake is hopeful that the acceptance of diverse body shapes isn’t just a phase for the fashion industry; however it will never be a phase for her brand.
“It’s easier said than done to design for different body shapes... designer brands like mine, where attention to detail and a high level of experience ensure a variety of body shapes are dressed in a way that uniquely flatter, will always be sought after,” said Drake.
Despite whether this movement will “stick” within the fashion industry, it proves that an individual’s body shape does not define what they should wear, and that every woman is sexy, beautiful and fashionable regardless of their size.