Fashion schools mandating plus-size models
Here's a rare bit of sanity coming from the fashion world. The British government is backing a drive to have fashion schools mandate the use of models who are a U.K. size 18 (U.S. size 14).
The article suffers from some politicized language, as I suppose is inevitable when dealing with government initiatives, but what matters is the bottom line: that fashion students will be compelled to design with a plus-size body in mind. Hopefully, this will break them out of their curve-o-phobic mindset and make them recognize the beauty of the fuller female figure.
What makes this especially significant is the size of the models whom the students will be required to use: a British size 18, which is a U.S. size 14. This means that, rather than mere faux-plus models, the students will be working with true plus-size models, since an American size 14 is the lowest size that qualifies as legitimately full-figured.
Beginning with the fashion schools is a sensible stratagem, because it will break students out of thin-supremacist habits at the very beginning of their careers -- a period when, hopefully, their creative visions are still pliable enough to recognize true beauty, and when their thinking hasn't yet ossified into pro-anorexia habits.
Let's hope that the government will compel more fashion schools to adopt this sensible, pro-curvy policy.
Fashion school using plus-size mannequins
The same fashion school that has been the first to adopt British-size-18 plus-size models is now taking another constructive step: requiring its students to work with plus-size mannequins.
The pertinent points:
It's a very positive development, especially because the mannequins will be a U.K. size 18, which is a U.S. size 14, and not just a faux-plus size 10. Even one of the students calls the school's current, British-size-14 (American-size-10) mannequins "quite small" -- and remember, that's the size of the faux-plus models that some American retailers offensively try to pass off as plus-size! So not only is this move going to show designers how to cut clothing for curvaceous figures, but those figures will be genuinely plus-size (albeit at the lowest parameter).
It may take a generation, but hopefully the fashion students who are now working with these plus-size models and mannequins will, when they become influential in the industry in any capacity, be able to move it into pro-curvy territory and away from decomposing emaciation.
Re: Fashion schools mandating plus-size models
This development is truly encouraging. Government efforts to ban size-0 models, to eliminate airbrushing, to require health checks for underweight girls, are all laudable in their own way, but they nevertheless remain efforts to stop harm from happening, to curb negative influences. This is an effort to do something even more consequential: to propagate positive influence.
Increasing the visibility of plus-size models is even more important than eliminating the prevalence of androgynous models, because only by actually seeing glamorous images of fuller female bodies will the public ever rediscover the timeless ideal of plus-size beauty.
To replace underweight models with the fuller-figured variety might require nothing less than swapping out curve-o-phobic designers with pro-curvy designers. However, not all of fashion's creative souls may have their aesthetic fully formed and set in stone, at least not in their student years. Some will, but not all. Those whose tastes still enjoy a certain fluidity might discover an appreciation for curvaceous bodies, once they are exposed to them via this new program. At the very least, being tasked with designing for fuller figures will give them the techniques they need to make clothing for curvy women. Tomorrow's designs will no longer be able to plead ignorance when tasked with designing for the plus-size body.
Furthermore, the fact that the girls whom these students will be using will be genuinely full-figured, at a U.K. size 18, means that at least these designers will understand what a plus-size model is supposed to look like, the minimum dimensions that such a model should possess; hence, these designs will not default to faux-plus fraudulence, should they end up working in the plus-size field.
And if the models whom these students will encounter are gorgeous enough, these muses might entirely reconfigure the designers' aesthetic inclinations and convert them to the cause of size celebration. After all, the persuasive power of plus-size beauty is limitless.
Sophie Sheppard, a true plus-size model at a U.K. size 18, and a beauty beyond compare.
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