Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Baby Steps for Diversity in Fashion

Eden Miller’s Spring 2014 collection is the first plus-size collection to be shown at New York Fashion Week. A number of blogs have been pretty excited by this development, hailing the decision as a sign of growing acceptance of a broader range of acceptable body shapes in fashion.

I can’t help but feel a bit more sceptical. Of course this is an immense honour for Eden Miller, and I in no want to downplay this success, but is having a token plus-size show really a sign of acceptance? It smacks a bit of ‘separate but equal’ rather than a genuine move towards greater body diversity.

If there were real acceptance of bigger bodies in fashion, then surely larger bodies would feature in all the shows, not merely the ones specifically for plus-size clothing lines. Seeing JennieRunk modeling clothes for H&M gives me more optimism for body diversity in fashion than Miller’s collection at fashion week. So does Todashi Shoji’s collections which are flattering for larger women but aren’t compartmentalised as fashion that is separate and other from the mainstream fashion shows.

I think it’s great that Eden Miller is showing a collection at fashion week and I agree that it’s a first tentative step towards greater body diversity in fashion. But I will, for now, curtail my excitement. A Slate article covering Miller’s collection asks, “will fashion care?” I’ve been pretty meticulously covering the fashion week coverage from a number of fashion sites and have seen no mention of Miller’s collection – the answer, unfortunately, seems to be ‘no’,


Want to read more about diversity in the fashion world? (spoiler: it's pretty bleak)

- Here’s an interesting article looking at the lack of black models (also – a video)

- This is an old, but still very interesting, article looking at bigger bloggers and how their surging popularity has not translated into recognition from retailers

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