Valuing calorie intake over confidence ensures that the value of fashion will always be diluted.
In a perfect world, there is no “ideal.”
In my utopian fashion week runways are not segregated. There are no “petite” runways, no “plus sized” runways, no “standard” runways, they are just runaways. It sounds unreasonable but I believe it is the only way to establish genuine inclusivity because by classifying things as niche you ensure that they remain outliers. In my utopian fashion industry there are no measurements associated with runways or photoshoots. Many might argue that if brands are given this freedom they will misuse it but here I have the faith that if the industry is as committed to diversity as it claims, they will look past someone's measurements to hire them. Fashion should be about unattainable charisma and flare. It should be about style and grace. Confidence is far more glamorous than calorie intake. Fashion should be about how you carry the clothes and not who is carrying the clothes.
It is vital that we dissociate body types from whether a clothing piece ‘suits’ you. Dissatisfaction with the way you look in certain clothes stems from the idea that certain items suit certain body types. If we were not comparing ourselves to models who all fit into a box of specific heights and measurements, we would not be inspired to dream of looking a certain way. If a standard was set by magazines, websites and catalogues, there wouldn't be an unattainable ‘ideal’ to aspire to, we could abolish the concept of the ‘dream body,’ and the harmful habits it inspires.
We as a society have bred all the problems in our lives through the various narratives, one of the most harmful being the concept of “body types.” By classifying certain measurements as “ideal,” or objectifying proportions as “door-shaped,” “pear-shaped,” or “hourglass,” we have created standards for bone structure. It’s harmful to see people convinced that their body shape coincides with how attractive they are. Many argue that anyone is free to achieve their ‘dream body,’ through exercise but when it comes to ‘body type,’ that's simply not true. We may have some impact on our level of fitness but your ‘body type,’ is dependent on how your bones are structured. People do not have control over the size and shape of their bones but somehow we have found a way to shame them for it. How can one truly enjoy fashion if you debate buying a dress based on whether it makes you look like you have an ‘hourglass,’ figure rather than whether you like the fabric, color or print.
No brand will ever be able to design a collection which appeals to everyone. Not when taste variates so much from person to person. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” is a quote which I’m sure has infuriated most teenagers, but it certainly holds true in this situation. There may be no wrong in art, but there is also no right, so choosing models based on what body type carries clothes “the best,” is simply impossible.
Over time we have allowed fashion to become about who is wearing something rather than what someone is wearing. We need fashion to maneuver the world and we let that need get swallowed by judgement and scorn. Fashion is a form of individuality and autonomy expressed through clothing, footwear, lifestyle, accessories, makeup and hairstyles in a specific time and place and in a specific environment. What a person is wearing can plant the seed for countless assumptions; where they are going, the budget they allocate to clothing, the colors they like, whether they are more masculine or feminine, where they shop, how confident they are and more. The second you go out wearing something, you make a statement and these statements are not exclusive to “skinny” people. If everyone can be judged for what they wear then everyone should be praised for it as well. Fashion is evocative, creative, ardent and expressive, it is anything but standard so why have we allowed a beauty standard to overshadow the importance of the clothing.