Sadly, this year's New York Fashion Week saw a smaller number of plus-size models on the runway than the year before, which had us worried about the direction plus-size fashion is going. But on the bright side, it does seem like several designers and brands are finally understanding that catering to bigger bodies actually means making bigger clothes properly.
That, of course, starts behind the scenes: in fashion schools, in the design process, and by using curvy mannequins while creating.
It's taken a while, but many in the fashion market are now designing with plus-size women in mind.
Unfortunately, most of these brands aren't using plus-size mannequins to fit their designs.
That is actually super confusing. It's like making a cake in a five-inch pan when it calls to make it in a nine-inch pan. It just doesn't make sense to create plus-size clothes without plus-size mannequins.
No wonder some students at Parsons School of Design have advocated to make curvy mannequins a staple in their learnings. (After all, if anything's going to change in the fashion world, it'll start in the classrooms.)
Rebecca McCharen-Tran, Chromat's designer, actually seems to understand the needs and demands of curvy women.
While talking to Glamour, the designer pointed out that some behind-the-scenes footage of her using 2X fit mannequins really resonated with her audience. "That one picture of that curvy mannequin got reposted on so many other accounts," McCharen-Tran noted.
The mannequins were created to work for various body types — something that most brands need to focus on.
Alvanon, a New York-based company, created the mannequins for Chromat, which use size data to create the figure. "There [are] a lot of different little techniques, like making the straps wider for bigger sizes or adding a kind of power mesh into some places so [there's] more compression if that’s what you want," McCharen-Tran said while explaining how helpful the bigger mannequins are for fitting her plus-size looks properly.
The curvy mannequins seemed easy enough for Chromat to use, but most brands are still hesitant to incorporate them.
The average woman wears a size 14 or larger, so what gives? "I think in the school process and educational process, those mannequins need to start there and continue," McCharen-Tran said.
Unfortunately, not all designers are as inclusive and accepting as her. Earlier this year, designer Tom Ford said all his clothes are made "the same size" because diversity is rather impractical when it comes to the runway.
Sorry, but no. If one designer can do it, all designers can do it.