There are so many designers whose collections I admire and that I would love patronize as buyer. On occasion I find myself running my hands against the clothing as I search the racks in department stores, and admire countless looks from afar. I imagine myself walking the runway and showcasing these pieces as if they were sent from the heavens above.
As a full figured woman, I can’t begin to tell you how frustrating it is to see a garment that I like, and know that I’ll never see it in my size. I’ve had the opportunity to participate in many different fashion shows and it’s the same old love song everywhere I go. If it’s not considered to be a “plus-sized” show, then the chances of seeing a curvy model walk the runway for more than one collection is usually non-existent or a rarity. It’s like seeing a baby unicorn sitting next to a pot of gold on a sunny day scratching off a lottery ticket. In my world, it just doesn’t happen.
I am a plus-sized model trying to make a way in a straight-sized world. My search and fight for mainstream acceptance is never-ending. I sit backstage and watch the unending sea of straight-sized models get fitted for numerous collections. From call time to showtime the madness that happens during production is the show before the show. I can’t help but to let my imagination take hold as I wonder how many of these designs would look on various body types, and if the sizing goes past a size 6. While I’m thankful to be there in support of that one designer who is fighting against the fashion size norm, I still wish that there were more opportunities for plus models sprinkled throughout a predominately straight-sized show.
From the looks on the runway one would think that the plus woman’s demographic is unprofitable. However, this niche market is growing and the buying power of the curvy woman sings to the tune of an estimated 8 billion dollars in the United States alone in 2013, according to IBISWorld.com. The modern day breed of plus-sized women are looking for ways to be just as fashionable as their less proportionate female friends, family or colleagues. They are constantly seeking colorful, trendy, and well-made garments that fit at a wide variety body types and price points.
It’s time to be liberated from shopping in the back corner of Forever 21 and next to the housewares section in Macy’s or J.C. Penny’s. I am proud of the woman that I am, and it is disheartening to believe that many traditional designers, advertisers, media publications, and retailers still treat the plus-sized woman like a dirty little secret that they wish would just disappear. Size discrimination and size segregation is a real even in this day and age despite globalization. Women everywhere are fighting for size equality with the inception of such major productions as The Official British Plus Size Fashion Weekend, Full Figured Fashion Week in New York, Curvy Fashion Week in Puerto Rico, and the Melbourne Fashion Festival’s: Curvy Couture Roadshow in Australia. The time has come for the fashion industry and society to embrace the curvy woman and make room.