Industry Updates

HAS BODY DIVERSITY WITHIN THE FASHION INDUSTRY *REALLY* IMPROVED IN THE LAST 20 YEARS?

Published: August 3, 2022
Author: Fashion Value Chain

Another Y2K trend emerges today. The fashion industry has made a sparkling return to the mid-noughties, from butterfly motifs to the world (re)domination of UGG boots. Aside from bejewelled jeans, the ’90s trend has reignited discussions about body positivity (or lack thereof) in the fashion industry.

Although social media may have played a role in the revival of low-slung waistbands, endless crop tops, and cut-out dresses, these styles have also been seen on the runways of nearly every major fashion house this season. MiuMiu’s micro-mini, which featured a low-slung mini skirt and an underboob-skimming shirt-and-jumper combo, quickly went viral. And do you know what the models who wore it on the runway had in common? They were all very thin.

The fashion industry has appeared to embrace body positivity in recent years (mostly by sending a few more ‘curvy’ models down their catwalks). However, the body fascism that dominated the scene in the 1990s and early 2000s is still very much alive.

Could it be that raucous calls for body positivity, combined with a season of diverse casting for both fashion shows and campaigns (Spring/Summer 2021), simply drowned out an issue that has never truly been resolved? After all, while Versace chose Precious Lee as its face last year, women of the same size would struggle to fit into the clothes Lee was promoting.

The very structure of the fashion industry makes it difficult for young designers and smaller brands to make bigger sizes. At fashion schools, for example, patterns and fit models all adhere to a very specific idea of a UK size 8, while a lot of factories only have the capacity to make certain sizes.

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