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Curvy model causes a stir in 'Sample Size' T-shirt at NYFW’s most diverse show

Julie Tong
Yahoo Lifestyle
Models walk the Chromat show during New York Fashion Week on Sept. 7. (Photo: Getty Images)

In one of the most diverse runway shows ever at New York Fashion Week, Chromat made a big statement on the catwalk Friday when a curvy model walked the runway wearing a statement T-shirt that read “Sample Size.”

The idea that a curvy woman can be considered “sample size” is a monumental statement for the fashion industry. Historically, a sample size equated to a size 0. This statement comes at an important moment of change for the body-positive movement, which has gained tremendous traction in recent years. Curvy models are being represented on the catwalk more than ever before, as shown at the Chromat show, as well as at Christian Siriano, Prabal Gurung, and Gypsy Sport. But they are still few and far between.

A model walks for Chromat during New York Fashion Week on Sept. 7. (Photo: Getty Images)

Chromat’s diverse show lineup helped bolster the shirt’s message, which featured an inclusive group of models, of all sizes and ethnicities. Most notably, amputee and activist Mama Cax walked the show, as did breast cancer survivor Ericka Hart, along with Kimberly Drew, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s social media manager and art curator.

Mama Cax walks the runway for the Chromat show during New York Fashion Week on Sept. 7. (Photo: Getty Images)

Chromat founder Becca McCharen-Tran is known for her sexy, architectural swimwear and athletic wear. This year she continued to evolve her collection with color-blocked tops, one-piece zip-up swimsuits, rash guards, high-waisted briefs, and cutout swimsuits in fresh tie-dye prints and pops of neon. The designer also unveiled a special collaboration with Eugenia Kim for the hats featured in the collection. The show proves that fashion and swimwear, in particular, are truly for all.

Kimberly Drew walks the Chromat show during NYFW on Sept. 7. (Photo: Getty Images)
Breast cancer survivor Ericka Hart walks the runway for Chromat during NYFW on Sept. 7. (Photo: Getty Images)

On the same night as Chromat’s show, fashion designer Tracy Reese — who has championed both body inclusivity and racial diversity in her fashion shows for many years — said during a panel at theCURVYcon“I’ve been doing this for over 30 years, and when I first started working, our sample sizes in the showroom were a size 8,” said Reese. “Over the years it became a [size] 2.” Today, 67 percent of women are a size 14 or above, but still — the majority of fashion labels and designers do not cater to plus-size women. 

 “You show a typical department store buyer anything over a size 2 or a 4 and she does not understand the style,” said Reese. “It’s so twisted; when we look at the average woman, she is larger then the sizes carried in department stores by and large.” 

To help push the size-inclusivity movement forward, Dia & Co. and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) announced a historic new initiative on Friday night at theCURVYcon, called the #TeeUpChange campaign. The campaign features five T-shirt designs by Christian Siriano, Tracy Reese, Venus Williams, Lizzo, and Marissa Petteruti. They are each priced at $35 and available at teeupchange.com, with all profits going toward size-inclusive fashion education programs for the next crop of designers.

The power of the statement T-shirt continues to demonstrate its ability to empower and galvanize plus-size women and effect change.

Read More from Yahoo Lifestyle:

Why the crowd went wild over this ‘wildest dreams’ moment on a New York Fashion Week runway 
‘So twisted’: Plus-size women experience major shopping injustices, says designer 
Venus Williams is proud of her size: ‘I’m a big girl! Bring me that 8/10!’

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