As a plus size model, watching fashion month from the virtual sidelines can be conflicting.
As someone who has always been captivated by the world of fashion — it’s inspiring. The fashion weeks, held in New York, Milan, Paris and London bi-annually, embody the creative hub of fashion, foreshadowing the year ahead. It’s where all the beautiful people, the aesthetically creative people, the design genuises and the innovators come together and showcase the inner workings of their mind… by sending them down the runway.
It’s where they communicate what the next season in fashion will look like.
But, for someone who lives in an above-sample-size body and works within the fashion industry — fashion month can be discouraging. The lack of diversity doesn’t go unnoticed, and the missing pieces of representation — especially when it comes to size diversity — sometimes leave me feeling helpless. What’s the use in loving fashion if it’s not relatable to you, right?
However, this year in 2023, we’ve seen a wider spread of size diversity across the runways in general. And, while there’s a maximum of one size diverse model per show, the use of different sized models is undeniably becoming more realised within the high fashion industry as a whole.
It’s encouraging that despite the re-emergence of Y2K styles and shift back towards thinness being a fashionable aesthetic — size diversity is still a major focus. And so it should be.
Arguably, we need size diversity now more than ever. Y2K styles are very much back in. However, it’s not the early ’00s anymore, and we need to be educated on how these styles that were once only seen on “heroin chic” body types, can be worn regardless of shape and size.
Below, is a round up of all the runways that have included size diverse models throughout fashion month. We’ll keep adding to this as (hopefully) more emerge.
Mugler continues to produce cutting edge designs, that break through boundaries of the ordinary, thanks to creative director Casey Cadwallader.
Having been with the fashion house since 2018, Cadwallader continues to represent diversity in size, ethnicity and gender, as well as within design practises — serving fierce and sexy silhouettes in continually new ways.
As one of the only high fashion houses to include a plus size model, Paloma Elsesser walked down the Mugler runway at Paris Fashion Week Haute Couture in a sultry goth-meets grunge look.
Wearing a style — corset and long utility shorts — that are more often shown on skinny bodies, it’s truly inspiring and powerful to watch Elsesser strut down the runway in this signature Mugler silhouette. Move over Bella Hadid.
“Anything is possible when you’re wearing LUAR”, the slogan goes. And apparently, that includes people of diverse body shapes and sizes.
At their 2023 New York Fashion Week, LUAR featured plus size model Alva Claire, sporting one of their signature tailored overcoats down the runway.
With exaggerated shoulder padding and double-breasted details, the look was an education for those who still have the nerve to say that curvy bodies can’t do boxy shapes.
Not only does Prabal Gurung support body diversity, the Singapore–born Nepalese–American designer is big on ethnic and gender diversity too.
The brands’ messaging — #StrongerInColour — represents their dedication to the liberation of Black lives from systemic, economic, political, and institutional oppression by combating mass incarceration and injustices.
Claire walked in Prabal Gurung’s ’23 AW show, wearing the below look.
In a collection that enbodied unique patterns and bold textures, this look — that simulates one super sexy scarf drape — is equal parts sexy and comfy.
Styled with thigh high boots, this piece still celebrates curves but in a more subtle way.
Claire also walked for Altuzarra’s Fall 2023 RTW Runway at New York Fashion Week, which was a true masterclass in ruching and the beauty that lies in classic simplicity.
Joseph Altuzarra played around with draping, ruching and wrapping in his Fall ’23 collection, serving up simple concepts that were beautifully executed. The pieces ranged from structured and sleek, to bold and colourful — with a thread of undeniable elegance throughout.
The dress that Claire wore (pictured above), is a design that really celebrates and flatters curves. The a-line off-the-shoulder neckline creates a curve to the entire look from the top down, which is then supported by ruching at the side seams — which allows the garment to mould to her body and show off her shape.
We love that Altuzarra chose to flaunt Claire’s shape loud and proud. He could’ve easily dressed her in one of his oversized pant and blazer ensembles, but instead chose a piece that worked for her bod — not against it.
Curve model Jill Kortleve is often seen scattered throughout fashion weeks around the globe. As one of the few curve models that is consistently cast in high fashion runway shows, she’s a good one to follow for body diversity inspo.
Kortleve walked in the NYFW Michael Kors 2023 show, wearing this staple off-the-shoulder dress from Kors’ Autumn/Winter collection.
We love to see that Kors hasn’t shyed away from styling a look on a curve model with a hipster belt, accentuating Kortleve’s curves in a different way.
Often, when we see curve models walk down the runway, they’re put in oversized looks or cinched at the waist, to create shape. Designers rarely style curve models the same as they do sample sized models, which we can’t help but translate to a lack of understanding and willingness to educate.
When it comes to styles such as the Y2K re-emergence, with cuts like low-rise belts or bottoms — that we’ve only ever seen on one body type — it’s up to the designers to educate us on how to wear them on a diverse range of body shapes.
Kortleve wearing this fitted Kors dress, styled with a low-rise Y2K style studded belt, is an example of wear fashion needs to go, in order to truly celebrate size diversity.
Kortleve also walked for Gabriela Hearst’s 2023 New York Fashion Week show, in a chocolate leather strapless dress.
The creative designer of Chloé, as well as of her own namesake brand, Gabriela Hearst is all about timelessness and sustainability. Her designs are always simple and beautifully executed, and this Autumn/Winter ’23 collection was no different.
London-based designer Nensi Dojaka is very on trend right now.
Her namesake brand is centred around delicate organza and tulle details, creative corsetry and feminine flourishes.
Originally from Albania, Dojaka graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2020 and debuted at London Fashion Week S/S 22.
Her runway at LFW ’23 continued to embody her signature style, featuring Kortleve for size diveristy.
Dressed in a maxi dress with Dojaka’s signature tulle shell bra cups, this style of garment beautiful suits different body types. As a curvy babe, I would actually love to wear this dress myself.
It’s so often assumed that strappy fitted garments don’t suit curvy bodies, but in my opinion, it’s the opposite. It’s refreshing to see different sized models dressed in these silhouettes on the runway. It’s an education we all need.
A huge part of London-based dress brand RIXO, is size diversity and inclusion. Founded by college besties Henrietta Rix and Orlagh McCloskey, they endeavour to create dresses that empower every woman.
Their show included a plus size model (pictured above).
“Always inclusive, always empowering, we create a fusion of original hand-painted prints and timeless silhouettes to flatter every woman, irrespective of age, season, size, nationality, or time of day,” their website reads.
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