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HSG
2nd September 2011, 17:27
<br>In an unprecedented development for plus-size fashion, the weekend edition of <i>USA Today</I> features a glossy 24-page supplement entirely devoted to the plus-size industry.

The <a href="http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/its-about-time-mediaplanet-celebrates-the-full-figured-fashion-industry-129063553.html" target="_blank">press release</a> from Mediaplanet (the company that published this supplement) gives a sense of its significance:

On September 2, 2011 Mediaplanet Publishing released a Full-Figured Fashion report to the targeted markets of New York, Los Angeles & Chicago within <i>USA Today.</i> The report is being distributed to <strong>over 1 million readers</strong> with contributions from the founder of Full-Figured Fashion Week, Gwen DeVoe [to many other full-figured fashion professionals].
Needless to say, whatever other content the report contains, we are delighted that the first-named contributor is Ms. DeVoe, given that FFFWeek is the gold standard in the plus-size industry, the one and only runway show that features the world's most gorgeous and genuinely full-figured models.

In the supplement itself (linked below), Gwen DeVoe's article appears on page two, right after the cover page and before any other contributors' comments. She sets just the right tone: boldly pro-curvy, rejecting body-diminishment, and affirming that full-figured goddesses adore every inch of their plus-size physiques, without apology but rather with joyous celebration:

Contrary to popular belief, this is a new generation of confident, full-figured women, and we do not want to wait until we lose weight to get the clothes we covet. For some of us, <strong>weight loss isn't even on our agenda.</strong> We love the skin that we are in right now and challenge retailers and designers to step up to the plate to bring us more fashion choices that work for our various lifestyles.

The successful launch of Full-Figured Fashion Week in New York City in 2009, and its subsequent events in 2010 and 2011, has confirmed what curvy women across America have always known--there is a demand for additional and more diverse fashion choices for curvy, fashion-conscious consumers <strong>who are unapologetic about their size and confidently love their curves.</strong>
The supplement features images of various plus-size models, and we are delighted to see that Kelsey Olson, who caused such a sensation at FFFWeek 2010, appears in an ad for Queen Grace--itself a collection that wowed the audience at the show, and one which Kelsey closed, walking hand-in-hand with designer Marina Zelner:<p><center><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/usa01.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/usa01a.jpg" border="0" title="Click to enlarge" alt="Click to enlarge"></a></center><p>Not just one, but two Judgment of Paris favourites make an appearance in this supplement, the second being Yanderis Lodos representing Sydney's Closet, in an image from the company's new campaign, which has thrilled all aficionados of plus-size beauty.<p><center><a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/usa02.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/kelsey/usa02a.jpg" border="0" title="Click to enlarge" alt="Click to enlarge"></a></center><p>Bravo to all of the participants in this endeavour, and especially to Gwen DeVoe and Full-Figured Fashion Week for rightly claiming the pole position in this supplement. Let us hope that this publication will help popularize full-figured fashion and show the world that the plus-size ideal is <i>preferable</I> to fashion's current minus-size standard.

Here is a link to a full-size .pdf of the <strong>complete</strong> 24-page supplement that was included in <i>USA Today</i>:

- <a href="http://doc.mediaplanet.com/all_projects/8269.pdf" target="_blank">Click here to view the complete supplement</a>

Maureen
6th September 2011, 00:40
What a pleasant surprise to find this in a major US newspaper! Three things I noticed that are especially nice:

Page 4 contains a little guide to flattering lingerie features to help men shopping for the ladies in their lives. The sidebar reminds men that lingerie needs to make a woman feel as beautiful as it makes her look.

On page 15, an advertisement for Mad Chic counters the dominant media voice that tells women their bodies are all wrong with the statement, "Resize Your Thinking: You are enough." The ad's artwork depicts two female bodies being constricted and stretched, reminding the reader how harmful unnatural ideals are to women.

Page 17 is my favorite. City Chic's full-page ad shows a model gazing with bold satisfaction from the embrace of a mysterious, shirtless hunk. This is the full-figured woman's proper place: secure within the attentions of admirers helpless against the power of her beauty.

All around, this is a good effort. Let's hope that next time, such a supplement reaches subscribers in every market.

Pamela
7th September 2011, 00:38
For those who are interested, the dresses in the two ads posted above have recently been featured on the forum.

Kelsey's slinky number is called the "Grace" dress, and it's available online at the Queen Grace site:

http://i56.tinypic.com/2ro2nvn.jpg

http://i53.tinypic.com/akjt4j.jpg

http://queen-grace.myshopify.com/products/grace


Yanderis is wearing a gown called "Animal Magnetism," which Sydney's Closet will be making available November 1st.

Her poses in this gown are very alluring and dramatic.

http://i52.tinypic.com/2yvw6zn.jpg

The reverse view shows off the model's hinder curves.

http://i53.tinypic.com/mc59pd.jpg

http://www.sydneyscloset.com/asp/product.asp?categoryid=178&catalogid=2771

Shelley
7th September 2011, 02:23
One of the most important things about this insert is that it is free of any ads for diet-starvation or gym-torture. Such advertising would, of course, be obscenely out of place in a publication like this, yet it wasn't so long ago that certain plus-oriented magazines were running those kinds of disgusting ads, so their absence is worth noting. Bravo to whoever decided to keep them out.

The premise of the insert is that women should enjoy the body they have and dress it to the nines, rather than hating their appearance and spending their resources trying to diminish themselves.

I especially enjoyed the "Panel of Experts" section. Lisa Shultz, the EVP of Apparel Design at Kmart, offers the finest statements:

We are committed to creating a brand that fulfills your desire for updated apparel and shows the world the beauty of plus-size women.

We recognize our social responsibility to ensure that women receive positive body images in media portrayal and are dedicated to making sure that our advertisements and campaigns use size 14+ models.
Finally, at least one brand recognizes the importance of using genuinely full-figured plus-size models. I hope that the other industry professionals who participated in this panel will read Ms. Shultz's statement and take it to heart. Many other plus-size labels would do well to be guided by these words and reform their own faux-plus advertising policies.

Hovig Garabedian, the Executive Director of Marketing at Ashley Stewart, offers this worthwhile thought:

The days when the industry thought curvy women wanted to cover up in shapeless clothes are gone...Dare to experiment and don't be afraid to flaunt those gorgeous curves!
Applause. Notice that both Mr. Garabedian and Ms. Shultz refer explicitly to the beauty of full-figured women. This is crucial.

If the insert had featured some images from FFFWeek to illustrate these size-positive statements, it would have been even more powerful. As it is, it's a significant step in the right direction and sets a fine tone for the presentation of plus-size fashion.