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:
Plus-size mannequins help fashion students make it big
01 June 2011
Edinburgh College of Art has become the first fashion school in the UK to introduce size-18 mannequins to train the designers of the future.
With women becoming curvier and more comfortable with fuller figures, the ECA is joining the industry-backed All Walks Centre for Diversity project.
ECA students have already designed regular and plus-size dresses for a variety of live models to be unveiled at the official campaign launch in London this week and the college will soon receive its new mannequins.
The All Walks founders, including TV presenter and fashion guru Caryn Franklin, hope the dummies will enable graduates to become more versatile and be able to cut clothes for all shapes and sizes.
...Organisers hope the two-year plus-size mannequin project will capture young designers' imaginations.
Second-year ECA student Lauren Smith, 21, from Currie is among those looking forward to working with the plus-size mannequins.
She said: "I think everyone on the course agrees this is a good method, especially because there aren't many people out there who are model-sized.
"For our show it was such an achievement to watch all of our ladies walk down the catwalk for the launch and see the clothes that have been designed for them.
"The biggest size mannequins we have at college is 14, and they're quite small, so 16 and 18 will be interesting and allow us to figure out how to tailor for the bigger sizes.
"Alexander McQueen and Mark Fast have caused quite a stir with their plus-size models and I think have broken though the boundary to allow more of that style.
Mal Burkinshaw, who heads the ECA fashion course, said that linking students and real people was like "switching on a light".
"There has been a disconnection between fashion students and the person who'd be wearing their clothes, the consumer."
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.