BBW’s and the Fashion Industry

Discussion in 'Fat in the Media' started by Jimevil2000, Aug 14, 2019 at 8:28 PM.

  1. Aug 14, 2019 at 8:28 PM #1

    Jimevil2000

    Jimevil2000

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    I have an art degree and did a lot of freelance work over the years, including fashion design and consulting. What I’ve discovered is the majority of the weight bias in media and society comes from the fashion industry as a whole.

    Through my own experience this is due to two reasons. First, it’s more difficult to force a shape into a large woman. These waifish models can wear padding or forms to basically fake a shape to fill out clothing or to make them drape/fall correctly. It’s much more labor and concept intensive for a designer to work with a certain body type or shape and make clothing to exemplify the wearer. So laziness is a factor.

    Second, not to offend anyone’s sensibilities, but the majority of the fashion industry is run by gay men. While there are gay men that are FA’s, the majority prefer thin lean men. Hence the modeling industry adopting the androgynous model. They are designing for the body type they are attracted to.

    I expect that as more women gain prominence in the field this will change. Slowly of course, because there is also pressure to conform to succeed. Hopefully we will begin to see more prominent designers make bold moves.
     
  2. Aug 15, 2019 at 3:35 PM #2

    Dr. Feelgood

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    I'm not convinced that a designer's sexual orientation has a significant effect on his or her designs; I suspect that designers are designing for the money they are attracted to. That said, I'd like to suggest an additional reason why clothes are designed to look good on tall, thin women. When a designer has a showing, he/she wants the viewers to focus on the clothes, not the models: the dresses have to drape right. In your work in the fashion industry, you must have noticed that those tall, thin models generally have shoulders like a football linebacker. The idea is that the dress will be shown to best advantage if it hangs straight down with its drape unimpeded by projecting body parts, The model is chosen to fit the dress more than the dress is chosen to fit the model.
     
  3. Aug 15, 2019 at 4:14 PM #3

    BigElectricKat

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    I believe that there may be some truth to both your POVs. Dr. Feelgood has a good point when it comes to designers doing it for the money. Since the 60's, the fashion industry has mirrored society's idea of what beauty is. As we all know, those ideas change and evolve over time. But the crux of it it is this:whatever the current societal definition of beauty, they will cater to that. So, we've seen thin is in for decades. The greatest number of consumers who buy their clothes were or wished to be on the thin side. You have to look no further than the diet/exercise craze of the 80's. You either were thin or wanted to be thin. Otherwise, you were left out in the cold.

    Fast forward to the 2000's. Body positivity and fat acceptance began to gain steam and has finally broken through into mainstream media. And wouldn't you know it, the fashion industry has started to latch on to the movement as well. Designers have started to understand that bigger women would rather pay for clothes that are already their size, than to try to slim down in order to wear a designer's frock. "Make it so that I look good in it, no matter my size" is now a guiding statement for many designers. Whereas before it was "You need to look (what they called) good in order to where my clothes."
     
  4. Aug 15, 2019 at 6:16 PM #4

    sarahe543

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    Many of the larger women models still have a hourglass figure which creates it's own set of pressures. I could recreate a hourglass body shape but I'd need really uncomfortable corsetry or photoshop!
    Theres still not enough diversity, and the body positivity movement doesn't capture as wide a range of people as it should. We still dont see bigger men models that much.
     
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  5. Aug 15, 2019 at 10:28 PM #5

    happily_married

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    ^ not only that but it seems like a lot of the plus size models they do have are all tall. God forbid they feature a short fat woman! This is a huge source of frustration to my wife because designers like Lane Bryant seem to think of a woman has an ass as big as my wife does she must also be tall.
     
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  6. Aug 16, 2019 at 12:07 AM #6

    Jimevil2000

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    I agree. As I said, it’s about how a design drapes and falls. That’s also why I believe a certain amount of laziness is involved. It’s just easier to use a formless model.

    As for money, that is always a motivation. This is why no one will crack that unless they are already established. It’s too risqué for a newer designer to “break the mold”.
     
  7. Aug 16, 2019 at 2:42 AM #7

    John Smith

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    You've pretty much resumed a century old both culturally and commercially widespread size bias in a nutshell.

    Fashion industry is dominated by (mostly) sexually ambiguous Caucasian men - and even women - who favours tall, lean male and lean androgynous female bodies: most oftentimes of Caucasian or whichever ethnically ambiguous phenotype. Those bias holds even in the Plus Size fashion industry, wherein conventionally full-figured (let alone, somewhat slimmer) white and lighter-skinned women are better favored than the rest of the modelling cast.
     
  8. Aug 16, 2019 at 9:26 AM #8

    agouderia

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    There are many valid points here.

    As far as height goes though - all models are tall, in all sizes. And have always been in comparison to the average woman on the street. Minimum height for a model is 5'9"/1.75m - today most models are 5'11"/1.80m+.
    That again has something to do with visibility on catwalks, a better fall for clothing and catering to the required standard (since the 1960's) of having long legs.

    Also - the name is model. So naturally "models" conform to the required ideal.

    Regarding true designer fashion - today that mainly addresses a virtual audience. And yes, there gay men and their limited understanding of a natural female body are overrepresented. It also has something to do with the fact that more and more "designers" have never had true tailor training, meaning many simply lack the craft skills necessary to make intricate patterns and sew expertly.

    Still, how many women are there who fit into size 2 and can spend thousands on fashion?

    Catwalk designer fashion today is not really there to be worn in masses, but to create and promote brand recognition - which in turn enables sales of accessories and cosmetics to finance the fashion side (look into Dior, in case you're interested).

    With respect to mid-market fashion - things have improved tremendously over the past 20 years.
    The number of plus size labels as sky-rocketed, and many regular lines have been extended to size US 16 or 18. If you fit into these ranges and are of an average height, it has become relatively easy to dress nicely and follow fashion.

    What remains a problem are plus-sizes beyond the range in Europe above US24, in the US above US 26.
    When honestly discussing the issue, there are 2 business obvious reasons for this.
    First of all, the larger the clothes size, the smaller the market. There are millions of customers for size 22 - but only x-thousand for size 32.
    Second - the larger the size, the less standardizable it is because weight distribution in combination with height varies so strongly. So it becomes very difficult to produce in affordable economies of scale.

    The same applies to very petite women, by the way. Fashion is mass market today - and if you need something individualized, you have to do it yourself or get it tailored to measure.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019 at 3:13 PM
  9. Aug 16, 2019 at 6:16 PM #9

    John Smith

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    I blame freaking Walt Disney too.
     
  10. Aug 16, 2019 at 8:51 PM #10

    agouderia

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    Barbie is much more to blame than Disney - there actually is quite some research to prove that.
     
  11. Aug 16, 2019 at 9:32 PM #11

    RVGleason

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    Not when they have Orwen from ‘The Black Cauldron’.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Aug 16, 2019 at 10:00 PM #12

    John Smith

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    A grey-greenish adipous humanoid ragtag with a vaguely androgynous face?? Really???

    What else? Are anyone would quote me a half-Portugese Brazilian princeling turned into a talking frog and fighting Hoodoo priests for "fIrSt bLaCk dIsNeY pRiNcE" ??

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019 at 10:05 PM
  13. Aug 16, 2019 at 10:03 PM #13

    John Smith

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    Tne simple fact every next forum-goer tries to underesteem the sway of Disney over young girls and women's minds does ironically prove how much people just underesteem the multigenerational sway of the Big Mouse Devil over everyone's minds.

    When you live at Rome as a Roman, no one realize how messed up it is until the end...
     
  14. Aug 17, 2019 at 1:45 AM #14

    Dr. Feelgood

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    Juvenal (AD 60-c. 130) certainly did! His Satires are full of zingers like Probitas laudatur et alget ("Honesty is praised and starves"). He spares nothing and nobody.
     
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  15. Aug 17, 2019 at 5:06 AM #15

    John Smith

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    The same Juvenal who died under very enigmatic circumstances in the midst of a torrid scathe of land from the other edge of tne known world, after have been sent there for a random, meaningless "military expedition" at his eighties, in what seems pretty much like either a assassination by proxy or a way to make the poor fella succumb to acclimating issue? And whom his writings became popular but two centuries after his death but between the hands of the very radical religious community who accelerated the downfall of an empire?
     
  16. Aug 17, 2019 at 11:16 AM #16

    agouderia

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    It's not about underestimating Disney's influence - and negative effects - on international pop culture targeted at children.
    The question here is what has the stronger effect on developing a positive and realistic female body image with little girls.

    The pervasive Disney "princess culture" brought a severe backlash in perpetuating outdated feminine stereotypes in the past 20 years. Teaching little girls that being beautiful and submissive is the prime quality in any female.

    That also has had an effect on body image, as all Disney princesses are unrealistically petite.
    So negative socio-pscychological effects on little girls exist in several respects..

    Nevertheless, it is a well researched fact that Barbie has worse effects when it comes to developing a realistic female body image.
    Why? Because even though Disney princess dolls exist, they are not the main way girls come in contact with the culture. It's mainly though pictures and film, so only in a two-dimensional, more abstract and distanced manner.

    With Barbie it's different. Little girls come in direct and continuous physical contact with it. In the US, statistically every little girl owns 12 (!!) Barbies by the age of 6. As we all know, Barbie has an anatomy that would lead to severe organ and skeletal deformations along with making it impossible to have a child.
    And this "figure" is what little girls play with, dress and undress up to a dozen times a day. That definitely is formative.
     

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