So many things wrong with the world are expressed in this Wall Street Journal article, on so many levels, that Francesca hardly knows where to start:
I’ve spent months asking people in the fashion industry why large sizes are so rare. Designer Elie Tahari explained last year that it’s expensive to offer bigger sizes, which require more fabric, as well as special patterns and a separate “fit” model, a model whose standard proportions are used to fit the clothes.
Mr. Tadashi, however, says large women are willing to pay extra for designer duds. His queen-size dresses retail for roughly $350 to $800, about 10% to 15% more than his standard sizes.
Perhaps more important, fashion-industry people are often fixated on their own ideals of beauty. Many designers just don’t want to see their clothes on big people — and many stores are complicit, displaying tiny sizes and keeping larger ones in back. Paige Adams-Geller, a former fit model for many high-end jeans manufacturers, told me in March that she urged designers to consider how their clothes would look on a woman who wore, for instance, a size 10.
“And the designer would say, ‘Well, I don’t want someone who is that size,’ ” she said, ” ‘They shouldn’t be wearing my brand.’ ” Ms. Adams-Geller turned that into a profitable business, Paige Premium Denim, selling jeans for up to size 28 — or “4X.” “I’m like, there’s a lot of people out there that size with money to spend,” she said.
Let’s see. We have the fact that designers don’t want women like us wearing their clothes. But we knew that. It is bigoted and disgusting, but we knew about it.
We have the fact that large women often pay extra for their clothes, even though the proportions of the fit model, etc are often arbitrary; who decided that one body shape is normal and another is not? But we knew that.
We have the fact (later in the article) that “shoes and handbags” are the only items easy to fit to larger women. But boy, did we know that!
There is the implication (later in the article) that plus-size models actually do things like eat and smile during photo shoot breaks, making Francesca worry even more about the emotional and physical state of “normal” models.
There is the good news that some designers are seeing the $$$$ opportunities and making clothes for NORMAL PEOPLE LIKE US.
Francesca is grateful that the reporter, Christina Binkley, did not show any overt anti-fat sentiment in her writing. In general the article is respectful of the needs of women, and recognizes that MOST women are not being served by the fashion industry.
But it will be a much better world when even generally respectful people do not report that “gathers called ruching, darts and shutter pleats coyly masking all manner of flaws.”
Francesca knows it is a utopic dream, but would it not be wonderful if belly rolls, lumps, etc were considered simply “body shapes” and not “flaws”?
(Hat tip: Thanks to our friend Nancy for sending us the link.)