“I was really looked down upon by a lot of people because they thought curvy models were uncool,” Anna explains. “Not in fashion, we didn’t belong here. Now all of a sudden, through the hard work we put in, we showed people our vision and how gorgeous a curvy girl can be just as much as a skinny girl. We have helped change people’s opinion by gaining the support of some famous designers and photographers.
There are cracks of light coming through. Shillinglaw says his agency is busier than ever when it comes to brands booking “curvy” girls. “We had 10 girls at the Valentino Haute Couture show [last season], which was very exciting for us. Let’s put it in perspective, if you compare the number of slim models used during fashion week to the number of curvy models, there’s still a long way to go. But we are moving forward. »
Indeed, Valentino’s Spring 2022 couture offering had a cast whose diversity seemed radical in the typically exclusive world of Haute Couture. Pierpaolo Piccioli, creative director of the fashion house, said that he “imagined this Valentino Anatomy of Couture collection not on a single and idealized model of the house, but on a variety of women with different builds and ages. …promoting an idea of beauty that is not absolute.”
Net-a-Porter also recently announced extended sizing across several of its brands, saying UK 22 was the best performing size in its swimwear category this year. Libby Page, Senior Market Writer at the online retailer, says: “We encourage these conversations so we can continue to provide our customers with an incredible assortment, and what’s exciting is that many brands are ready to expand. their sizeable offer following our discussions. .”
There are also smaller independent labels looking to shake things up. Atlanta by Cadenet Taylor has just launched Lushious, a swimwear brand designed for all body types. The fledgling label borrows the “woke” dialogue of diversity but, unlike some of its more cynical corporate-run counterparts, Lushious truly delivers on its promise of inclusivity and joy. “I love fashion,” says Cadenet Taylor. “But I hated what the industry was. I always wanted to have my own brand, but all I did was, how can I push for a more inclusive size? How can I improve the industry? »
The very structure of the fashion industry makes it difficult for young designers and small brands to go up in size. In fashion schools, for example, patterns and fitted models all adhere to a very specific idea of a UK size 8, while many factories only have the capacity to make certain sizes. Countering the trend, so to speak, can be costly and requires a lot of effort, as Cadenet Taylor discovered:
“I was like, ‘I don’t care if it’s bad for the margins. I have to go up to 5X’. I have a lot of plus size friends, and I talked to them about what I needed to do to legitimize the brand. They told me a lot of brands go up to 3X, but most people need a size up to 5X. So I went to create new models for each extended size. The initial production of silver that went into it was a loss.