Project Runway’s Tim Gunn is adding a voice to the chorus of upset shoppers who are unsatisfied with the options available to plus sized or petite women–women who exist outside of what designers deem the ideal or normal sizes. He spoke to the Huffington Post about the stagnant, backwards attitudes of designers who are unwilling to meet the demand for “specialty”-sizes that are on par with straight sizes in quality and style.
The reality is that designers make clothing for a very narrow definition of women’s bodies, and as Gunn puts it, “fashion seems to end when you get any larger than a size 12. How ridiculous is that?” Extremely ridiculous, Tim.
There’s no lack of a market here–in fact there’s a demand that needs to be met. But Gunn says that designers are unwilling to make clothing to fit the majority of consumers:
“I’ve had my own moments in front of designers when I’ve actually said, ‘You know, there’s a market here for expanding your work, and here it is. And frankly, there are two markets: The women who are larger than the 12, and then there are women who are petite. And most designers that I talk to have absolutely no interest in addressing either of those populations, which I find repugnant.”
Repugnant is right. Gunn goes onto the describe the anemic options available to plus size women, and uses Lord & Taylor as an example. He says that their plus size section, simply called Woman, is “rather devastating,” saying “[y]ou’ve never seen such hideous clothes in your entire life. I mean, it’s simply appalling. It’s insulting what these designers do to these women.”
So what’s the solution here? Plus size or petite clothing is largely a niche industry, which is completely ass-backwards given the demand. Designers need to recognize that their consumers come in multiple sizes and shapes, and we all want to literally hand over our money. For the love of god, let’s stop making size a status symbol and just decide that we all need clothes and there’s no such thing as the normal/abnormal body dichotomy. All bodies are normal bodies and all bodies deserve cute clothes.
Just listen to Tim.
Photo: Getty Images