Fashion week was a thing of the past 18 months. We said goodbye to it until it was safe to come back. Now is the time and we have the chance to attend shows once more. But, there was one question: Would plus-size representation be allowed to return?
Fashion, like many industries, was badly affected by the pandemic. It quickly became apparent that the industry would not be able to grow in size inclusion. Only six plus models walked in the Fall 2021 runway show, which added fuel to the fire. This was a significant drop in comparison to the 68 plus models that walked in Spring 2020. It feels like the number of models being cast by brands and in-person shows is on the rise, which makes it seem that we can only get higher.
These are the top plus-size looks that NYFW has to offer, from looks we have never seen on fat bodies to looks that can be bought in extended sizes.
We were all welcomed back to fashion week by Collina Strada with open arms, lots of color, and golden sunshine. This collection was designed to teach us how to dress for the chaos. This look is a reminder that not every outfit is perfect. Mix and match pieces to express your style.
Christian Cowan brought back the nightlife that we all have been missing to the runway. This look was revolutionary because it changed the way we see plus-size models. Plus-size models tend to be wearing the most conservative clothes. Cowan makes a strong case for showing more skin and embracing your body.
Anna Sui, who took inspiration from her travels, reminded us that vacation was a state of mind. She used bold prints and color combinations that were both unique and harmonious. This look shows that you can make a statement with your body.
Edvin Thompson’s Theophilio show took us on a trip to Jamaica with a celebration of his roots. Many of the looks were modern in silhouettes and bright colors. However, these looks reexamined the glamour of old Hollywood for a plus-size woman. The result? Timeless and beautiful.
Maryam Nassir Zadeh
Ironically, men have always found it easier to find their size. Yet, we rarely see plus-size male models on runways. Maryam Nassir Zdeh stated that the ease and coolness of Lower East Side style isn’t restricted to gender or size.
Each of these looks proved that even though fat people can and should walk on the runways, it doesn’t matter if they are unable to shop for these looks in their sizes. The largest sizes available by the designers above are 10, 12 and 14. This casting was purely for entertainment purposes, as they do not plan to expand their sizes with these collections.
These designers aren’t alone in presenting a misleading size range this season. 56% of designers casting plus models for Spring 22 used a size 14 or below. This is quite shocking considering that the American average woman is between 16 and 18.
Prabal Gurung walked this combo down the runway in several looks, each of which lit up the faces and hearts of everyone who was there. Gurung proved that it is not taboo to wear a jacket that makes you look larger for a plus person.
Jeremy Scott’s Moschino models always look like Barbie dolls come to life and it’s nice when the plus-size community gets to be a part of that imagery. We love this look, and the rest of the nursery rhyme-inspired collection. However, we feel that putting one plus model in a jacket is too easy to include.
Coach reinvented the fashion trends of the nineties in a way that was relatable, current, and whimsical. This look, with its bright plaid and short silhouette, was a reminder that Cher Horowitz doesn’t have to be a zero size to wear it.
These brands are still only available to people who are 16 or larger, but they do not carry plus-size clothing. Plus-size clothing falls under the category of being a size 16 or larger.
These are NYFW moments by designers who offer a size 22-24
Brandon Maxwell is a known designer for his ability to reinvent the classics. But with this show, it felt as though he had redefined himself as an artist. We were blown away by Maxwell’s latest collection. It was fun, flirty, and very youthful. This is great news for anyone who is fat, as plus-size fashions are often conservative and matronly. The brand is now available in sizes 22 and up.
Staud has been around for more than five years, but the introduction of extended sizes is relatively new and kept quiet. Although the options are limited and don’t feature the same vibrant palette Staud has, hopefully the addition of plus-size models to their show is a sign of more to come. The brand is available in sizes 24 and up.
Tanya Taylor launched extended sizes for 2017 and it didn’t take nearly as long or as many people expected. It is exciting to see a designer commit to plus-sizes, and then succeed. We were able to see spring and summer with fat bodies celebrated, and we were excited by the presentation. The brand is now available in sizes 22 and 23.
Studio 189 was founded by Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah. It is all about celebration. Studio 189 was founded to celebrate African art. This collection celebrated “the beauty and strength of us.” The brand is available in sizes 24 and up.
Christian Siriano is the man for you if you like fashion and are overweight. His shows featured plus models, and he has tripled his business since then. Precious Lee opened and closed the show this year, a feat that is usually reserved for thin models.
Siriano’s first fashion week show was held on the first night. It was a good start in terms size inclusion, but it didn’t last long. The majority of the 28 plus model designers featured in the shows had only one. There were 856 looks by these designers, and 65 of them had plus models. This is a much bigger picture. Only 3% of runway looks this year were inclusive.
Brands and designers are actively refusing to acknowledge the fact that they could increase their customer base by expanding their sizes. They make excuses for the alleged high cost of making clothes that are suitable for everyone. Brands seem to care more about exclusivity and keeping fashion out of reach than making money.
It is exhausting for a person who is obese to constantly be let down by designers. They can just take one 14-sized model and call it done. They get away with it. NYFW attendees don’t care if there is only one plus model. They can shop all the runway items in their sizes. Brands whose pieces are only a ten size receive praise for being inclusive. This industry must be held accountable. We need more fat people at shows.
These are the brands that set the standard for plus-size fashion and size-inclusive fashion at NYFW
Chromat was the most inclusive brand in NYFW in many ways. The brand is well-known for its swimwear that fits all sizes. It has been offering inclusive sizing since the beginning, and currently offers up to a size 30. Becca McCharen Tran, the designer of this collection, worked with Tourmaline, an artist, to create pieces that don’t tuck. Chromat has a solution for many femme-trans people who have had difficulty finding swimwear bottoms that fit well. With hair, makeup and location, the show honored Marsha P. Johnson. Jacob Riis Park was where she met her love.
There were many people from all walks of life, including men and women. Only thing that was missing were the NYFW attendees. As the event was open to both locals and visitors, the location was not made public. They didn’t need to perform at the show, and it was inclusive.
Tourmaline answered a question about the vibe of the collection by saying, “We are here for show up and show off, knowing that the greater the number of us that show-up, the more powerful, and more beautiful we become.”
Selkie is known for creating fairytale-like dresses. The brand’s NYFW debut was a success with 12 plus models and 23 sizes inclusive looks. It featured the most diverse cast of any show we have ever seen. Arianna Davis, a plus-sized dancer, brought tears to many eyes with her emotional performance. It is rare to see Fashion Week like this, and it leaves us wanting more. Let’s all hope that other brands take note.
Let’s show more!