The fashion world still has a long way to go when it comes to representation.
The industry is failing to achieve genuine diversity, in terms of race, age, and disabilities.
One small part of making things change is getting the industry to move away from the ultra thin ideal.
To encourage designers to use models of all sizes in their shows, a group of plus-size women turned up at London Fashion Week venues in their underwear, holding signs in celebration of curves.
The group, which included body positivity advocates Hayley Hasselhoff, Callie Thorpe, Megan Crabbe, Sonny Turner, CoCo Brown, and Poppy Towers, collaborated with Simply Be to arrange the protest – which also happened to turn into a photoshoot showing the women wearing Simply Be’s collection. Handy, that.
The women marched around London carrying signs reading: ‘LFW: Where are the curves?’ and ‘love your curves’.
It’s great that the move has got us talking about diversity in fashion – even if it has doubled as advertising for a brand that’s recently come under fire for only representing a certain type of plus-size body: one with hourglass curves.
It’s important to note that the answer to fashion’s representation issues isn’t to replace one standard model ideal – super thin, tall, white – with another restricted definition of beauty – bigger, but in perfectly balanced curves, able-bodied, and still conventionally attractive.
People come in all types of shapes and sizes. You can be plus-size without being ‘curvy’, and clothing sizes aren’t the only area where fashion is failing.
It’s key that when fighting for better representation, and when calling out the fashion industries, we’re not just offering up another rigid definition of what people should aspire to look like. We need to be representing lots of different types of people, in terms of race, body type, gender expression, and more.
If your protest asks where the ‘curves’ are, why not ask where the POC are, where the people with disabilities are, where the trans and non-binary models are?
Let’s push for more and ask for real change, rather than just accepting an advert-meets-protest by a plus-size brand celebrating the women they use to advertise their plus-size clothing.
We already know that Simply Be is pro-curves. Shouting about that isn’t particularly revolutionary. It’s okay to want more.