In the last fashion season in the northern hemisphere, 95.2% of models wore mannequins smaller than size 40. In catwalk fashion, sizes from 42 and up are considered mid (which goes up to 48) or plus.
The data comes from a survey by Vogue Business, which analyzed 9,584 looks from the fashion shows of 230 brands in New York, London, Milan and Paris, and points to an improvement compared to the autumn-winter 2023 season, in which 0.6% they were plus size, compared to the current 0.9%, and 3.8% mid size, compared to the current 3.9%.
London is the city that leads the size diversity ranking, being the first of the main fashion cities to surpass 10% of models using a mannequin larger than 42.
Another fact highlighted by the research is that the brands known to the public are not the ones that most adopt models of sizes outside the industry’s skinny standard. Brands like Chopova Lowena, popular on the internet for its cut-out plaid skirts, used ordinary people on the catwalk, made up of 95.2% mid-size people and 4.8% plus sizes.
On the other hand, it was the first time that a plus size model walked for Balenciaga, a brand that came second in the Vogue ranking with 8% of the cast above the size 42 mannequin.
According to trend forecaster Carmela Vecchione, from the Box 1824 agency, haute couture’s resistance to creating fashion for different bodies is still great.
“The thin body is still seen as more versatile for designers to express themselves, as there are fewer curves to take into consideration when creating,” he says. “Almost like the equivalent of a blank canvas.”
Terms like “heroin chic” and trends like “girl dinner” flood TikTok and social media with skinny women with dark circles under their eyes sharing photos of a can of Coke Light claiming to be their dinner. According to Vecchione, although it is on the rise, combined with the Ozempic fever, the search for thinness has never ceased to exist. “It just wasn’t as loud as it is now,” she says.
In fact, gone are the times when the ideal body was represented by Kim Kardashian’s curves. Known for having the “body” type, she was marked by images that even made fun of the size of her buttocks, as in the photo in which Kim uses her backside as a table to support a small glass of sparkling wine, which goes around her head and lands directly in the glass.
When the businesswoman appeared on the red carpet at the 2022 Met Gala, she was much thinner than usual — and with much less curves. It was the year she wore — and wore out — Marilyn Monroe’s controversial original dress, the one worn to sing “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” for John F. Kennedy.
At the time, Kim did not stand on ceremony when telling Vogue magazine that she had completely cut out sugar and carbohydrates from her diet, which now consisted only of vegetables and protein. Furthermore, she claims to have worn clothes to sweat and to have exercised to burn calories.
Despite this scenario, model agent Claudia Nasi, from Ford Models Brasil, states that plus size models have occupied the same spaces as regular size models.
“There is an identification on the part of consumers and also a demand for more diversity in the market”, he says.
According to Nasi, catwalks, especially international ones, do not reflect another important aspect of creating images, which is advertising.
She says that the body positivity movement has been assimilated by the market and, even with barriers, she sees that the issue of body diversity must advance. “All models and women deserve to be seen and valued by fashion.”
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