PATRICK DEMARCHELIER/BRITISH VOGUE
It’s 2016 and a regular sized woman is still a divisive topic amongst fashionistas. Ashley Graham, who became the first plus-size model on the cover of Sports Illustrated, is both a symbol for body positivity and the target for body shaming. Amidst the barrage of negative comments, not only has Ashley persevered, but also succeeded — British Vogue features her on its January cover. The honor is usually awarded to the likes of Gigi Hadid, Freja Beh Erichsen, and Cara Delevingne, but British Vogue has wisely decided to go in a different direction. One hopes this is the direction of the future, after all, British Vogue has served as a pioneer of many fashion trends, but the designers still seem to be resistant to change, especially big change.
Back in 2009, British Vogue’s long-standing editor-in-chief, Alexandra Shulman, expressed frustration at the “increasingly disturbing" practice of designers sending fashion magazines "minuscule" clothes. And designers wouldn't even change that for a cover shoot. In the Editor’s Letter, Shulman writes that “Coach provided clothes for us that had to come from outside their sample range... other [fashion] houses flatly refused to lend us their clothes.”
Earlier, in October, the magazine put out Ashley Graham’s Call To Designers, which asked brands to “make their high-end lines go up in extended sizes, because I wanna buy it!”
Exactly! Plus-size women want and have the money to buy designer brands, but it seems these same brands outright dismiss them as a valuable demographic.
As Hilary Alexander of the Daily Telegraph reminds us, "Her call now needs to be backed by all the other glossy magazine editors, who must join the chorus if they want to see a change within the fashion industry. One lone voice will not be enough."
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Jen Pitt, originally from Brazil, is a Brooklyn based writer and performer. She covers feminism, arts, and Brazilian culture.