These Plus Size Models Made History At Fashion Week
According to #FatAtFashionWeek creator Kellie Brown.
Against all odds, the shows went on. In a year marred by the pandemic, designers rallied and found ways to share their collections this season, whether it was via a digital presentation or a scaled-back show IRL. In the end, Fashion Month in the age of the coronavirus still managed to deliver a few viral moments, from Coco Rocha going for an impromptu swim in Christian Siriano’s pool to Christopher John Rogers, Pyer Moss, and Telfar sweeping the CFDA Awards. But when it came to body diversity at Fashion Month, well, that’s one area that still continues to fall short.
“Overall, the representation has been down,” says Kellie Brown, the influencer behind the hashtag #FatAtFashionWeek, which spotlights plus-size fashion and encourages size inclusivity. “Any person with the means to purchase an item should be able to. But there have been some pretty big places where we did see representation, like seeing Precious Lee and some other ladies on the Versace runway was incredible. That was a highlight for me.”
Brown — otherwise known as Kellie B on social media — is fighting for size inclusivity in fashion, both on the runway and in retail stores. She’s a longtime ambassador for Stitch Fix, a personal styling service that sends clothing to your door. Brown says Stitch Fix eliminates the dressing room experience that can often feel uncomfortable for plus-size shoppers.
“You’re going out of your house and into this space and you’re not sure if this thing will be available for you or if it will fit, versus having things that are your size sent to your house," Brown shares. "There’s the safety of being at home trying things on and knowing that some things might be great, some things might not, and you can easily just return it. It makes for a more comfortable shopping experience for a lot of different people for a number of reasons.”
Ahead, Brown walks Bustle through some of the major moments for plus-size representation at the Spring 2021 season of shows, and what she’d like to see more of in the future.
“Paloma’s done an amazing job as a ceiling smasher and breaking down a lot of barriers,” Brown says. “It’s also important to note that we really started seeing her career take off in such a major way because a brand like Glossier, which is a beauty brand, gave her an opportunity of being super visible. It’s a reminder that even beyond the runway, inclusivity really does belong in all facets of the fashion and beauty industry because, you know, we’re talking about skincare. She has skin. She’s beautiful.”
“It was incredible to see. I felt extremely proud of the models because those moments are career makers for the actual people on the runway. I’m very happy that Versace did it. I hope they do it again and again and again. That would probably leave me with a more lasting excitement versus sort of seeing it one time.”
“That was incredible. Rihanna has been super inclusive for obviously much of her brand. But seeing men included as well was really phenomenal because I feel like especially plus-size men are very often left out of the entire conversation. Seeing [model Steven G] move so freely and be able to just get down with the best of them and look great and be totally part of the vibe — it was really great. I loved seeing that.”
“Her sharing how her body’s changed through pregnancy, it was super real, raw, and very endearing. Seeing her on the runway again, it was great to see her come back and do a really big show. She had a big moment, and just further proved the narrative that whether you’re a model or not, having a baby doesn’t mean your career is over, especially if your career is centered around your body.”
“I love Jari. I actually met Jari I think on a shoot for Allure. She was just on a billboard for Calvin Klein. All of these moments matter. I’m waiting for the day where having a plus-sized model, one or three, doesn’t make news because it’s so normal. That’s when we’ll have true inclusivity — when the conversation isn’t happening because it’s the norm.”
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