Inclusivity should always be “in” or a “do” when it comes to #fashion. Sadly, that’s not always the case. However, an industry tentpole is stepping up with an inclusive initiative that we’re here for. Long-running fashion designer competition #Project Runway will feature models of all different sizes during its sixteenth season, which kicks off Aug. 17.
The show, in which fledgling designers create clothes based on specific challenge criteria, is all about body diversity this season, as models ranging from size 0 to 22 will appear in all episodes.
“It was about time,” judge and fashion editor Nina Garcia told Good Morning America during an interview promoting the new season, offering a little perspective. “The perception of beauty changes throughout the times. We went from Twiggy to the supermodel to the waif, and now, happily, the industry is embracing body diversity and so are we. I am proud to be part of a show that has full-figured women, real women — designers designing for real body types.”
Preach, Nina, preach!
As Real Simple notes, Project Runway has featured models of various sizes in the past, such as the annual “Real Women” challenge. Also, Season 14 winner Ashley Nell Tipton designs for plus sizes. But featuring a variety of models with different body types throughout the entirety of the season is a major step forward and truly represents women IRL.
Let’s remember that Project Runway is technically a “reality show,” so it should, in theory, reflect real life.
Show mentor Tim Gunn famously penned an editorial for The Washington Post a year ago, expressing his disappointment in and frustration towards his industry for essentially ignoring curvy women who want to look good and for refusing to design for these women who are willing to spend money on amazing clothing.
He wrote, “There is no reason larger women can’t look just as fabulous as all other women,” further suggesting that “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.”
Choosing models that represent a wider array of body types, and therefore actually represent the women who actually watch the clothes and shop the looks created by these up and coming designers, is a true exercise in “making it work,” to paraphrase Gunn himself.