Fashion does not tend to have the best reputation when it comes to touchy subjects like race, beauty standards, and body image in general. But after years of belated apologies, stunt casting, and lip service to the ideals of diversity, it seems the industry may finally be ready to put its money where its mouth its. This week, thanks to the runway shows of Michael Kors, Prabal Gurung, Tome and Christian Siriano, we’ve seen a very different vision of what the future of fashion could look like, and that future finally includes women with bodies of all shapes and sizes.
Ashley Graham‘s star has been seriously on the rise since she landed the cover of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Edition last year, making her the first ever size-16 woman to score the coveted title. And on Wednesday, she took the next major step in her career, making her runway debut for Michael Kors, which appears to also be the first time the designer has used a non-“straight sized” model in his show, despite making clothes for that exact demographic since 2007.
Candice Huffine also unexpectedly walked this season of shows, fittingly being cast in Prabal Gurung’s runway collection that celebrated the power of women. To put in perspective how unusual her appearance on the catwalk is, this marks only the sixth time the CR Fashion Book favorite has walked in a show over the course of her seven-year-long career, which has included covers for magazines like Vogue Italia and i-D, and major ad campaigns for brands such as Bloomingdale’s, Lane Bryant, Target, and Forever 21.
Fellow curvy model Marquita Pring, who walked with Huffine at Tome earlier in the week as well (above left), also walked for this very feminist collection, which presented just before news dropped of Ashley Graham starring in Gurung’s campaign for his upcoming collection with Lane Bryant.
Pioneering this new movement towards body inclusion? Christian Siriano. He’s shown several collections with models of different sizes, but this year, his show included not just one, but 10 full-figured women, including Pring, Precious Lee (above right), and Sabina Karlsson, with models ranging from sizes two to 16. While surprising given his contemporaries’ preference for waif-ish women, the choice is actually a perfectly logical one for Siriano who last season cast 5 plus-size girls, and has made a name for himself on red carpets by dressing a number of high profile, non-sample size actresses, many of whom had complained about designers not wanting to dress them in the past. With this major push towards body positivity in New York, here’s hoping more international brands begin following suit.