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Nancy Upton too XLent for American Apparel

It comes as no surprise that I’m not won over by American Apparel or Dov Charney’s antics. I can’t respect a man who is quite clearly, well, a bit of a prick. Focusing on the company, however, one of American Apparel’s more distasteful policies is their long-held refusal to make plus-size products or to market to over size 10s at all. At present, a ‘large’ fits a small size 12. Their reasoning? Plus-sized women “aren’t their demographic.”

In a backhanded attempt at an olive branch (or perhaps their repositioning amid new fears they’ll be bankrupt very soon), American Apparel launched an online competition to find a plus size model to be the face and body of their new XL line. The XL line that would be for sizes 14 to 16, the average size of a woman in the UK.

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A working model is a model, remove the plus size tag

This week Chanel unveiled their newest campaign, for the reopening of the brands SoHo store, which featured (Lagerfeld’s obsession) Baptiste Giabiconi and plus-size phenomenon Crystal Renn.

While the Daily Mail unnecessarily griped at the fact the photograph only showed Renn’s face – in the same week Liz Jones decided women with big boobs were sluts – the campaign was generally reported as a change in attitude towards plus size models. If Karl Lagerfeld, who has notoriously outspoken views on larger women, can use and photograph a plus size model for Chanel then there’s no reason why other designer’s can’t do the same.
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New York Fashion Week to feature first plus-size only runway show

US website OneStopPlus.com, a web-mall for plus-size women, will produce the first ever plus-size only runway show during New York Fashion Week on 15 September.

To be staged at The Atrium in Frederick P Rose Hall at the Lincoln Centre, famed curvy models, such as Lizzie Miller, Tocarra Jones and Emme, will walk the runway in the brands Spring 2011 collection.

Stephanie Sobel, President of OneStopPlus.com said, “The recent confluence of events and energy within the plus-size movement makes this the perfect time for OneStopPlus.com to debut at New York Fashion Week. Top plus-size models like Crystal Renn and Lizzie Miller in Italian Vogue, French Elle, Glamour, Marie Claire, and others, validate that this is the magic moment for plus sizes.”

OneStopPlus.com is a pioneer in the ever-changing fashion industry, proving that the 62% of American women who are plus-size can also experience the high-fashion lifestyle.

Zahir Babvani, VP of Design of OneStopPlus.com says, “This show is a collaborative effort to provide the extraordinary community of plus-size American women with the uncompromising style that they have always deserved but never received. It’s about inclusion and fashion democracy: fashion risk-taking and empowerment. No more seeing what you can’t have; this is a fashion party that invites and inspires everyone.”

Marc Jacobs becomes first top fashion label to create plus-size line

Found on The Guardian website:

Marc Jacobs, one of the world’s most successful design labels, is set to become the first major fashion houses to produce a clothing line catering for women bigger than size 14.

Although there is yet to be an official announcement, Robert Duffy, president of the Marc Jacobs label, wrote about the move on Twitter, confirming that the company was in the early stages of discussions to produce a plus-size range. He said that it would be a year before the line was available.

“We are in talks now. For plus sizes,” Duffy tweeted. “Listen, we are in the very beginning stages of talking to a partner about plus sizes.” He also revealed the problems he has buying clothes. “I’m a big guy 6ft 4in, 210 lbs. [It’s] not easy for me to find clothes,” he wrote. “Of course I can have them made. I know how everyone feels. I try to diet but… I don’t like the phrase plus-sizes. Any suggestions?

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Janet Street Porter – an actual moron

In a previous article I believe I fairly debated the “normal size” woman versus the thinner woman used within the fashion industry.

Today Janet Street Porter commented in the Daily Mail about how Vanessa Feltz is a better role model then Lily Cole.

She wrote:

“Lily Cole, who looks like a boiled egg on a stick… is highly intelligent, but let’s be honest, she’s not exactly normal-looking. She looks a bit like a Thunderbirds puppet, huge eyes, a big head and a tiny body.”

How rude. I wonder if she would say this to any “normal”, thin woman or if this kind of witty attack is reserved only for models?

“Surrounded by airbrushed images of females we can never emulate, we desperately need some new role models. Forget bloody Lily Cole – how about Vanessa Feltz, who should consider putting herself forward to Brigitte for a spot of modelling.

Sometimes I worry about looking like a badly packed sausage when I venture out to parties – does my midriff bulge show and is my jacket managing to hide a multitude of sins? I’ve seen enough pictures of myself looking like Mrs Chubby Drawers to hold my stomach in every time I see a camera.

But Vanessa is a very different high-profile woman. She was photographed in a skin-tight pale pink beaded frock last week, smiling happily and weighing in at quite a few sizes bigger than the size 12 she dieted and exercised to back in 1999.

Vanessa looks great – more importantly, her expression says she couldn’t give a stuff what anyone thinks anyway! Go girl!”

Perhaps Ms Street Porter should do her research considering the Daily Mail was happily slagging off Vanessa Feltz earlier in the year.

But yes, she’s absolutely right. Why would anyone admire Lily Cole; a beautiful, intelligent, Cambridge-educated, talented model and actress when they could admire Vanessa Feltz: an obese (which is just as unhealthy as anorexia), brash, tacky, frankly insane (let us not forget her Big Brother moment), unintelligent (I’m sure she is smart, being also Cambridge taught, but based on interviews and written work she clearly wants us to assume otherwise) woman?

Janet Street Porter clearly wanting to get in on the sizing debate…and failing miserably.

Another Normal Women Vs. Size Zero debate

Another day means another debate about the use of “real women” against thin women in the fashion industry. This ongoing dispute is long and complicated; it’s not the fashion industries intention to promote an unhealthy lifestyle or eating disorders, thin models are used because they are there to sell the clothes (or whatever the product is). Longer, thinner limbs photograph better, and sticklike figures means the designer can concentrate on his creation and artwork rather than making the clothes look flattering on that woman.

Alexander McQueen has said that if he could have hangers floating down the runway he wouldn’t use models again. The point is that “real women” aren’t supposed to look like models. Models don’t even look like models; there’s so much re-touching and make-up application, they’re just like any other “normal” thin girl you know.

On the other side, having these extremely thin women dressed glamorously in advertisements, and appearing to have it all, is going to be aspirational to some. Seeing this same message used constantly will lead women to think that if they are thin then they’ll be happy.

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London Fashion Week – Row over plus size models

Fashion Week is back in London for its 25th anniversary, but aside from the glamour, the hedonistic designs, the glitterati and the parties; this season also receives hundreds of column inches on sizing used on the runway.

This time the issue has been raised because of the use of plus size models. According to reports (read The Guardian article here) a back-stage row erupted at London Fashion Week after knitwear designer, Mark Fast) chose to use ‘normal-sized’ models in his show.

Fast, who is known for his sculpted ‘bodycon’ dresses, used three models who were sizes 12-14 to showcase his designs – which prompted his stylist to resign.

The news emerged after a journalist from the fashion magazine Elle posted a message on Twitter within an hour of the show. Fast’s managing director, Amanda May, said she was ‘so happy we stuck to our guns over the casting’ adding that she was ‘really grateful’ to another stylist, Daniella Agnelli, who had stepped in at the last minute.

Fast used size 12 model Hayley Morley in his catwalk show after working with her for the London Fashion Week photography exhibition, All Walks Beyond the Catwalk.
It launched on Friday at London’s Somerset House with a party attended by prime minister’s wife Sarah Brown (who admitted she had “sneaked out” of a number 10 reception for British designers she was hosting) and Alexandra Shulman, editor of British Vogue, who wrote to leading designers asking for larger-sized clothes for the magazine’s photo shoots. She said: “We have now reached the point where many of the sample sizes don’t comfortably fit even the established star models”.

The exhibition features models aged 18 to 65, in sizes 8 to 16, wearing outfits created by young London designers. It aims to change the narrow vision of beauty offered by the fashion world. The size issue is always a sore point within the industry. The 2007 Model Health Inquiry was launched by the British Fashion Council in response to the death from starvation of several models who had been slaves to the size-zero trend. It failed to set out any firm industry guidelines but the debate has gained momentum; this month, plus-size model Crystal Renn launched her autobiography at a glittering Manhattan party and talked of a new vogue for women “lush and sparkly without a jutting collarbone in sight”.

All Walks Beyond the Catwalk aims to change the perception of young designers towards age and weight. Exhibition curator and fashion TV presenter Caryn Franklin said: “Working with designers early in their career to introduce this shift is crucial.” In Fast, she may have found her first true convert.