It's London Fashion Week here in the UK, and the designer Mark Fast has caused a storm by--gasp--using normal-sized women to showcase his knitwear range.
Fast's stylist has allegedly walked out in a huff because of the use of three UK size 12 -14 (US size 10-12) models. And, the reporter Alice Fisher, whilst applauding the move, mentioned how odd it seemed to see these models on the catwalk:
When Hayley Morley first strode down the catwalk at Mark Fast's fashion show, I admit I blinked. It was a chastening reminder of my own prejudices, how much I expected to see a certain size of model on the catwalk.
Designers often claim that their clothes are best showcased on skinny bodies. But, a couple of decades ago, models were larger than they are now. The editor of Vogue magazine mentioned how out-of-touch some designers can be when sending sample clothes:
We have now reached the point where many of the sample sizes don't comfortably fit even the established star models.
Larger Models Trend Gaining Momentum
Of course, Fast's decision is all part of a wider trend to show real, curvy women, rather than emaciated wraiths on the catwalk. Eating disorders are prevalent amongst models, and the size-zero trend of a year or two ago resulted in several deaths from starvation.
As Alice Fisher notes, using larger models may well impact the industry favorably by encouraging women to view these clothes as something that they could wear too:
We do need to see more women who reflect the weight and shape of the rest of us on the catwalk. Their presence genuinely altered my appraisal of the clothes on show, making me consider how I would look in these designs rather than viewing them purely as a reporter.