Since the relationship between fashion and “plus-size” is a never-ending fount of discussion, dissection, frustration and sometimes outright dismissal, the Frisky wonders today if the absence of available upmarket clothing in larger sizes is deceptively simple: is the problem with plus-size fashion in fashion schools? In other words, rather than the fashion world’s widespread marginalizing of larger silhouettes (the popular culprit) could it be that young fashionistas just don’t learn how to tailor and cut garments for larger bodies?
Short response: I hope not.
Says the piece, “Apparently, it’s not just a question of designers not wanting to create plus sizes; it’s also a mechanical matter of not knowing how to do it, or not being able to make a runway look larger without it turning into something completely different …”
I had always figured the problem started a little later. In the ferociously competitive world of fashion, there are only so many slots for great designers, and while trying to distinguish yourself as a young up-and-comer, the struggle to be noticed (moreover, taken seriously) is already dramatic enough. Overcoming that and designing plus-size is enough to be permanently dismissed as irrelevant (if even noticed enough to be dismissed at all).
But that can’t be entirely true, because most Americans had never even heard of London’s Mark Fast–and his lux, ultra-sexy knits–before he sent size 12 and 14 models down the runway in September last year (pictured). The delight and uproar caused such a commotion that Fast found himself in such demand he even snubbed Lady Gaga.
So if the answer is as uncomplicated as young fashion students don’t know how to make clothes for larger women and girls, then the problem is either with 1) fashion students or (and here it gets a little stickier) 2) the fashion industry, for devaluing plus-size fashion to the point that students have zero interest in learning the trade. Then again, I can’t remember the last fashion student I met who wasn’t a size nothing.
I find it kind of hard to believe that there aren’t enough aspiring designers wanting to do plus-size that fashion programs simply don’t offer the training. It strikes me that fashion students face enough uncertainty and hardship that learning how to design plus-size clothes is no more a death sentence than going to fashion school at all. For that matter, with hardly anyone catering to the plus-size customer, the market is wide open (and extremely lucrative) for someone to come along and be the de facto provider of cool double digit designs. It almost seems like interested fashion students would be doing themselves a disservice to neglect plus-size offerings.
So what do you think? Is the plus-size discussion a cyclical blame game in which designers cite buyers and buyers cite magazines and magazines cite consumers? Why are there next to no plus-size clothes in fashion forward or, hell, even cute styles? Could it be that fashion students are to blame or are there just too many factors to even single out a responsible party? The debate continues…