Thin models dominated runways during this year’s fashion month, when luxury designers in New York, London, Milan and Paris showed their upcoming collections on fashion’s biggest stages.
Plus-size models, who wear a US size 14 or bigger, made up less than 1% of all looks sent down runways across the four major cities for the Autumn/Winter 2023 season, according to a new analysis by Vogue Business, which tabulated size diversity across 9,137 looks and 219 fashion shows.
The overwhelming majority of options shown were presented in US sizes 0, 2, or 4; they comprised 95.6% of all looks. The remaining 3.8% of looks were shown on mid-sized models, who typically wear anywhere from a US 6 through 12.
Gucci, Dior and Chanel were among the brands that sent zero plus-size models down the runway. Dior, which is owned by luxury behemoth LVMH, included 58% straight-sized models and 41.7% mid-sized models.
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Vogue Business noted that for most luxury brands, mid-sized models were closer to a size 6 than a 12.
Karoline Vitto, which showed in London, was the only brand in the analysis to use all mid-size or plus-size models for its collection.
In New York, Bach Mai and Christian Siriano featured the most size-inclusive runways.
Siriano has been outspoken on providing options for customers across sizes and the designer has been a red carpet go-to for plus-size celebrities.
Last year, an analysis by the website TheFashionSpot counted a record 103 appearances by plus-size models in the fashion month that ended that March, an all-time record.
Activists and models have for years pushed designers to diversify their runways to better represent customers and move past unrealistic beauty standards.
"The fashion industry’s renewed obsession with extreme thinness isn’t good for anyone, but it’s especially dangerous for working and aspiring models,” said Sarah Ziff, the founder and executive director of the advocacy group Model Alliance.
"We hear all the time from models who are pressured by their agencies to either lose weight, or risk not working at all.”
The group last March introduced a bill in New York state that aims to protect models from exploitation.
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Past studies estimate the average size in the US is a woman’s 14 or above. Plus-size clothing accounted for 19% of total women’s apparel sales in the US between June 2020 and May 2021.
An analysis by the market research group NPD found that between 2019 and 2021, revenue for plus-size clothing grew at more than three times the rate as straight-size clothing.
The global plus-size market is expected to be worth US$288bil (RM1.3tril) this year. – Bloomberg