We’ve got good news and bad news. The bad news is there are still designers out there who won’t dress full-figured women. The good news is that more designers are stepping up to the plate, proving to be inclusive brands.
For the January 2017 issue of British Vogue, there were “houses that flatly refused to lend us their clothes” for cover model Ashley Graham, editor-in-chief Alexandra Shulman revealed in the issue’s Editor’s Letter. “It seems strange to me that while the rest of the world is desperate for fashion to embrace broader definitions of physical beauty, some of our most famous fashion brands appear to be travelling in the opposite — and, in my opinion, unwise — direction,” wrote Shulman.
In an interview with Good Morning Britain, Shulman added: “It isn’t just to do with sizes … this is to do with an attempt to show that actually you can put your clothes on people of all sizes, professions, ages, and it can look great.”
While Graham, who’s the first curvy model to cover Sports Illustrated, didn’t name the designers who refused to dress her, the bombshell did praise Coach for its eagerness and acceptance. “The shoot was put together fairly last-minute, and we are all very grateful to the people at Coach who, under the creative direction of Stuart Vevers, moved speedily to provide clothes for us that had to come from outside their sample range,” Shulman said. “They were enthusiastic about dressing a woman who is not a standard model.”
That’s what we like to hear.
Unfortunately, not all brands feel this way. No one can forget Leslie Jones’s tweet about designers refusing to dress her for the Ghostbusters premiere, and how Christian Siriano proved to be on the right side of this issue by coming to her rescue. Orange Is the New Black star Dascha Polanco has also faced this type of discrimination. According to Vogue, despite the fact that the actress and style maven stars on a hit TV series and has 1.9 million followers on Instagram, Polanco can’t seem to get high-end fashion labels to dress her for premieres or red carpet events.
“I understand that it’s business, but still, it’s like, really?” Polanco told the publication. “My industry friends, who are clear and honest with me say, ‘Girl, they don’t have your size, and you’re not at that level yet, so you have to either move that way or just build those relationships so that later in the future maybe it happens,’” she explained. “It’s funny that a lot of the brands are dressing people who are not offering anything as far as talent — they’re just out there,” she said of sample-size models having no problem finding designers to dress them.
It extends to stores as well. Despite the fact that the plus-size fashion market is thriving and more people are buying plus-size clothing than ever before, H&M stopped selling plus-size inventory in its Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens stores.
However, in general, the fashion industry is changing for the better — and if certain brands don’t get on board, they will be left behind.