Full-Figured Fashion Week Tips The Scales

This year, as in every year, there was an absence of plus-sized women at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, which gave the organizers of Full-Figured Fashion two options: either lie down and take it, or fight back. They decided to fight back, and organized their own incredible Full-Figured Fashion Week, featuring a slew of fashion shows, runway competitions and sales tailored to the plus-size consumer. Vice’s report on the event, hosted quizically by waif-thin Charlet Duboc, chronicles the week’s events — and the rather unkind feelings non-plus-size women have toward toward their full-figured counterparts.

It seems that fat phobia is one of the last discrimination frontiers. Women interviewed about their feelings toward plus-size women didn’t seem ashamed or embarrassed to admit their anti-fat sentiments. Several openly admitted that they didn’t believe designer brands should make their fashions available to plus-size women. “I think that people who are into high fashion are very conscious about the way they look, and part of the way they look is how much they weigh,” said one woman. “There are enough secluded stores who only exclusively sell over size 14.” When interviewees were asked what they’d do if they suddenly woke up one morning as a size 22, one woman admitted she’d “start bawling.”

On the other hand, there are the views expressed by the full-figured women participating in the shows and the men who love them. As one Full-Figured Fashion Week model explained, “It takes a lot for a woman to hold this, and to be confident with it.  And I love it. I love my curves and how they move. I wouldn’t wish to be any other way.” Another participant noted that plus-size designers were largely kept out Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, positing that “they don’t think we’re real designers. I think they don’t think we’re real women. And we are real women who are deserving of fashion.” One proud husband of a model who won a walk contest noted, “Bigger is better, what can I say? I can’t wait til this becomes fashion. Not full-figured, not regular-figured. Just fashion.”

Toward the end of the clip, TV host Shanda Freeman elucidates why Full-Figured Fashion Week is so important. “My mom was a big woman. Her two favorite words were ‘poly’ and ‘esther.’ To see the fashion here today is ridiculous. I mean, one-sleeve dresses, sequins, there’s just so much beautiful fashion to choose from.” And that’s just it — full-figured women deserve to have the same options that women who are a size 6 or 8 have. Ultimately, full-figured women want to have the same amount of visibility that other women have. And they’re proving through FFF Week — and with their wallets — that size does matter. [Vice]