In case you missed the the craziness surrounding Kanye West’s controversial “Yeezy Season 4” show, it’s New York Fashion Week. And Tim Gunn, the beloved mentor on Project Runway, has a stern message for the industry: Stop ignoring women bigger than a size 10. It’s time to “make it work” for people of all shapes and sizes.
We can’t say it better than Gunn does in his op-ed in The Washington Post, so we stitched together the best parts. First, he lays out the facts:
“The average American woman now wears between a size 16 and a size 18, according to new research from Washington State University. There are 100 million plus-size women in America, and, for the past three years, they have increased their spending on clothes faster than their straight-size counterparts. There is money to be made here.”
But don’t expect shopping for plus-size clothes to get easier anytime soon. Designers don’t want to design for bigger women:
“I’ve spoken to many designers and merchandisers about this. The overwhelming response is, “I’m not interested in her.” Why? “I don’t want her wearing my clothes.” Why? “She won’t look the way that I want her to look.” They say the plus-size woman is complicated, different and difficult, that no two size 16s are alike.”
Gunn knows fashion can do better—it needs to do better.
“This [is] a design failure and not a customer issue. There is no reason larger women can’t look just as fabulous as all other women. The key is the harmonious balance of silhouette, proportion and fit, regardless of size or shape. Designs need to be reconceived, not just sized up; it’s a matter of adjusting proportions. The textile changes, every seam changes. Done right, our clothing can create an optical illusion that helps us look taller and slimmer. Done wrong, and we look worse than if we were naked.”
Here’s our one gripe: Gunn says larger women want (and need) clothes that make them appear slimmer. But what’s wrong with seeing beauty in bodies of all sizes? Aside from that, we’re totally on board with Gunn’s ideas.