Fat bodies need clothes too

Also called: 'The importance of diversity in the fashion industry'

And also called: 'Beauty, in all of it's forms'

As a woman I’m diverse. I suppose we all are when it comes down to it. But in my industry: the fashion industry, I am considered diverse. My body type is not one which is pictured frequenting the runways regularly. At a UK size 16 I don’t have any difficulties buying clothing, but I still don’t fit into the ‘norm’ where fashion is concerned. My 5ft 9 curvy adult body has been many sizes and thicknesses and has felt many emotions regarding what it should look like, and definitely what it should not look like. This is part of the reason that when it came to creating my own fashion label I knew the direction I wanted to be heading, I knew the philosophy I wanted to adopt.

I’m a big fan of people and a big fan of bodies. This helps as I spend a great deal of my time dressing them. I am also a big fan of being kind to yourself. We are so often sold one ready-packaged idea of beauty, and at a young age we tend to not take into account anything else, or to question what we are being told. Large barrages of advertising work subliminally to manipulate us at a time where our hormones are all over the place. We are trying to revise for GCSEs, trying painfully hard to be cool enough to fit in (something I never achieved), and on top of this we are told in a roundabout way that we are not beautiful. Not yet, not without change or intervention. This is why I feel there is a need for diversity in the fashion industry. There is a need to project a broader spectrum of body types as desirable, healthy and intelligent. Perfect as they are. The fashion industry is integral to influencing all of our daily choices through music and culture and it needs to have an ethical awareness of its responsibility to its impact on body image.

Rosie Red Corsetry & Couture showed at Oxford Fashion week earlier this year, and it was a joy to see my designs walk the catwalk in my home town. But there was an even bigger joy. Through much persuasion I had managed to get a plus size model on the runway, the only one in the entire show.  This was picked up by the press, and the amount of positive feedback I had was overwhelming. It wasn’t just the fact that in a sea of beautiful thin bodies this buxom woman of 5ft4 stood out so drastically, but more the fact that as an audience we could relate. It was refreshing to see diversity, because diversity is interesting and it is reassuring. Making body diversity commonplace in fashion not only tells us that it’s okay to have a gloriously rippled stomach, or to be able to count every rib if that is how our body is. It also tells us that as an industry which at the core essentially just provides clothing, that all bodies can and should be dressed beautifully. Diversity in fashion broadens our horizons and opens our outlook. This can only be a good thing.

In an age where you can edit your selfies before filtering them on Instagram, and a time in which we still have thin privilege in this part of the world and most disabilities are kept hidden from our screens and magazines, it’s no wonder why as a society we feel so under pressure to look a certain way. It’s time we were kinder to each other, and also to ourselves. Diversity is needed in the fashion industry because it’s about time we represented all women. Scrap that, it’s time we represented all bodies, indifferent to gender. 

Rosie Red Corsetry & Couture is a luxury bridal and event wear label for all body types. Bodies don’t scare me and I plan to do as much as I can to represent beauty in all of its glorious forms. Let’s break some stereotypes.

To see the article in Industry Magazine alongside editorial images click here
 

Photographer: Rod Gill Photography, Models: Courtney-Therese Lenoir & Georgina Spencer

Photographer: Rod Gill Photography, Models: Courtney-Therese Lenoir & Georgina Spencer