Fashion globally has been synonymous with perfection. Unfortunately, however, this model of perfection that has been created over the years excludes most of the general population. Especially those who are on the heavier side. It’s strange that the fashion industry which often feeds on bulk sales has not been providing clothing for a very large part of the population.
In October 2018 when Tess Holiday, the world’s only size 22 model, featured on the cover of Cosmopolitan UK, not only was Holiday’s joy of being a Cosmo girl short-lived, but the magazine was heavily criticized for promoting obesity. All this, despite there being a slight shift in the paradigm of perfection in the west over the years.
In India, matters have been much worse though. Ready to wear clothing was a rarity for the longest time. In a country obsessed with Bollywood, size, fairness, etc., most men, women, and children on the higher side of the scale have had to resort to tailors. Women instead of embracing and celebrating those very curves by adorning sarees are left to hide behind the 6 yards of the fabric.
Some amount of acceptance can be seen in the newer generations though. However, the old school believers and those not as exposed still practice body shaming as common parlance. Brands are coming up, but very few actually are making it to the public eye.
Marketing is the king in today’s time. And beating the competition is becoming tougher with each passing day. In this race, some brands take the lion’s share, and some are struggling to even break into the market or at times recover their costs. Even there, however, the solution is to provide clothes good for the larger body types, while taking the stereotypes on a positive note, but not to break or even attempt to change the mindset that highlights- “all body types are good body types”.
Just to name a few, thanks to some of the brands like All, Pluss, Half-Full Curve, Last Inch, Inspiration The Curve, Parfait for thinking and bringing the plus-size to the fashion map. Physical stores are popping up across the cities, and especially in the malls. People are getting curious to find out about more brands and are making efforts to find more options. The effort of these brands should be taken more seriously as the fashion industry has paved the way for their presence in Fashion weeks across the country and getting their due share in the media. These efforts have managed to take the average man and woman to be represented on the ramp and walk the runway.
The confidence that the plus-size modeling community shows is worthy of all the compliments that come its way. It inspires other people to love and embrace their bodies as they are and being confident in their skin. Celebrities like Ashley Graham and Tess Holiday are the new role models. Yet, there are still many hurdles to cross. Even for our eye candy role models, being labeled as plus-size and not be considered as any other model is just one of those many hurdles. Ashley Graham who has clothing collections, different collabs, endorsements and also a book (A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty, and Power Really Look Like) to her credit says, “The fashion industry may persist to label me as plus-size, but I like to think of it as my size.”
Though there is still a long way to go for this industry and for body positivity to bloom in India; the uprising is slow but steady. The role models are setting the right examples by being stringent with their fitness and health regimes, encouraging people to focus on being fit and healthy instead of bothering about the number on the measuring scale.
A thought to leave you with as Graham puts it, “The biggest misconception is that the purpose of going to the gym is to change your body. We should be working out to be healthy. I work out not to lose weight but to maintain my good health. And anyway if I did want to lose weight, it would be no one’s decision but my own.“