Fashion is many things: sometimes just clothing to wear, sometimes art, frequently beauty, typically a creative statement and at times a sort of game, with players ever striving to out-shock, out-luxe or out-spend each other. And often Fashion is a source of contradictions, ugly things become trendy, beautiful things become stale, luxury becomes banal and so on. The intellectual might say Fashion has evolved into an art and science of ironies.
Spring Runway 2013
Plus Size Designer Clothing vs Oversize
Here’s the thing about irony – sometimes it’s obvious, front-and-center. But more often it’s hidden or better yet seen and still unspoken, as with the current fascination with oversized proportions.
Q: How do many haute designers reply when asked why, despite a growing US market in plus sizes, they don’t plan to branch their labels into plus size designer clothing?
A: The expense associated with designing and producing larger garments will adversely affect profit margins and production processes.
Profit; margins; production; processes. Buzzwords that imply these are just plain old business decisions. Such mathematical answers can barely be refuted, right? Right. That is, until many of those same designers walk exaggerated hips, padded bottoms, baggy coats, generous tops bordering on waste and slouchy jodhpurs down 2012 runways.
This season’s love affair with abundant proportions has ironically overlooked the women that actually have them.
Ironically all these oversized proportions, now a bona fide trend, make the skinny girls look like, well, plus size girls. Or at least like more voluminous versions of themselves. If suddenly designers have the patterns, fabric, manufacturers, machines, processes and yes – the money – to create double and triple a size zero garment, why again couldn’t they apply those same assets to larger framed girls, opening up the market to real plus size designer clothing?
Now, before dismounting this soap box, a disclaimer: at TheRunwayPlus we advocate Fashion. For all. We are in love and obsessed with Runway designs and the amazing variety and artistry that are high designer brands. And we admit that design as a form of art is entitled to discriminate – to create a vision of the world that fits its ideal person, environment and attitude. Face it, if there were more labels dreaming up how millions of curvy girls should look noone would call foul on any straight size label for staying south of size 16. Lacking more options, true Fashion addicts in the double digit waist netherworld, have mainly to aspire to the kinds of brands they would wear if they could.
And maybe that’s the problem. Do designers think that a larger size somehow whitewashes a girl’s individual style and thus that girl’s relatability to their brand’s ideal woman? We remind everyone that there’s the sexy curvy girl who would wear D&G, the professional curvy girl who would wear Donna Karan or Armani, the modern curvy girl who would wear Stella McCartney or The Row, the ever-19-year old curvy girl who would wear Marc Jacobs, the elegant curvy girl who would wear Oscar or Valentino. The sporty curvy girl who would wear Balenciaga, Proenza Schouler or Jason Wu, the town and country curvy girl who would wear Hermès and Burberry. All these girls exist in the plus size world just the way they do in the straight size one.
The problem isn’t that every high end brand necessarily must produce plus size designer clothing but that those labels aren’t honest about why they don’t. The proof? This season’s love affair with abundant proportions has ironically overlooked the women that actually have them.
Runway images from www.style.com