(20 Sep 2018) IS FASHION WEEK BECOMING MORE BODY POSITIVE? DESIGNERS, MODELS, GUESTS REFLECT
Looking back on New York Fashion Week, you might have noticed models of different shapes and sizes flaunting the latest designs.
From Michael Kors to Rihanna's Savage x Fenty, heavy hitters in the fashion world sought to create a more inclusive atmosphere at Fashion Week.
At Rihanna's presentation of her latest lingerie line, the pop star wanted to include "all the different body types" and "all the different women in different stages of their womanhood."
Models traditionally seen at fashion week, such as sisters Bella and Gigi Hadid, were used to showcase her collection, alongside plus-sized, and even pregnant, models.
"My mission is to just have women all over the world feel comfortable and sexy and have fun with lingerie," said Rihanna.
Designer Michael Kors said that targeting a diverse audience makes designing more interesting to him.
"I have to say if I was strictly designing for one group of women in one country, one age, one point of view, I mean, I've been doing it for almost, I'm 38 years in. I'd be bored to tears," said Kors.
Walking in Kors' collection was model Ashley Graham, known for her body positive campaigns. She is an advocate for the Health at Every Size movement and has given a TED talk targeting body acceptance.
Other models used to diversify the runway were Mama Cax and Winnie Harlow.
Cax, who models with a prosthetic leg, was featured on the runway for Studio 189 and for Tommy Hilfiger's adaptive clothing line. Harlow raises awareness for the skin condition vitiligo, characterized by the loss of pigment in patches of skin. Harlow walked for Prabal Gurung during Fashion Week and was also awarded Breakthrough Model of the Year by the Daily Front Row.
On his adaptive clothing line, Tommy Hilfiger said that inclusion has "always been important" to him as a designer.
The clothes include features designed to aide individuals with disabilities, such as magnetic buttons on shirts, jackets and pants created to make getting dressed easier. Hilfiger was the first on board with the organization Runway of Dream's initiative to encourage retailers and designers to create disability-friendly lines.
"It's always been important to me, and now more than ever before with the adaptive collection," said Hilfiger. "Nobody has done it. We were the first. We are so excited about it. We didn't realize we had so many fans in that arena."
Beyond her walk down the runway for Hilfiger and Studio 189, Cax has also been featured on the cover of Teen Vogue. Plus-sized model Tess Holliday said Cax's feature showed steps forward in inclusion.
"I mean, the fact that people like Cax can be on the cover of Teen Vogue and major, you know, brands, and I have so many friends that are not only plus-size, but just like diverse in general and they're killing it, including myself, it goes to show you things are changing," said Holliday.
Holliday was quick to clarify, however, that there was a "long way to go."
Holliday, who was featured on the cover of Cosmopolitan, received backlash online. Some, such as British television journalist Pierce Morgan, criticized the cover as encouraging obesity. Others came to Holliday's defense, calling Morgan's comments fat shaming.
At the Naeem Khan fashion show, alpine ski racer Lindsey Vonn also commented on the inclusion of more athletic body types in fashion. The Olympic athlete shared her difficulty finding dresses that fit her athletic build.
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