The fashion industry has a long, complicated history with body positivity. While many designers have begun to make steps in the right direction, as seen earlier this month at New York Fashion Week, plus-size celebrities and models still have a difficult time finding designers to dress them for events and red carpets.
Most recently, Rachel Bloom, star of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, purchased her own dress for the Emmy Awards’ red carpet because she was unable to find a designer to dress a body that was not a size zero. Even Ashley Graham, an internationally praised plus-size model, has spoken out about experiencing this exact same situation.
One thing is clear: many designers have not caught up with the times.
Thankfully, some creative minds have made strides and are fighting for body inclusion and self-love in the industry. Rachel Bloom, take note! We’ve compiled a list of our favorite body positive designers, ready to dress you as glamorously as you can imagine.
1. Christian Siriano
Christian Siriano has never been afraid to share his thoughts about the lack of body positivity in the fashion industry. In an open letter published in Teen Vogue, Siriano writes, “There are still designers who balk at the idea of dressing a larger woman, or a woman from a background deemed unworthy. These are designers for whom restrictions have been placed upon themselves, by themselves, and to me, restrictions are the antithesis of art.”
In an interview with Elle, Siriano explained that his mother was a size 16 while his sister was a size zero. This inspired him to dress for all women, regardless of size. In his 2016 runway show, Siriano featured five plus-size models, something that was almost entirely unheard of. He has consistently stepped up to the plate to break the stigma when other designers would not, dressing Leslie Jones, Michelle Obama, Ashley Graham and more: all of whom do not fit the flawed “ideal.”
Thank you, Christian, for being an advocate for women of all shapes and sizes.
2. Ashley Nell Tipton
It seems that Project Runway is bringing us the best designers possible. While Siriano won season four of the competition show, Ashley Nell Tipton took home the title in season 14. Throughout the show, she was praised for always dressing for the average woman. It’s not surprising then that since winning, she’s gone on to become one of the most celebrated designers in the business.
A plus-size woman herself, Tipton knows exactly how to make women who are not a size zero look stunning. In September of 2016, her plus-size fashion line released with JCPenney received rave reviews and was praised for being a collection aimed at normal women as opposed to stereotypical models. While Tipton’s career is still fresh, we are dying to see where it will her in the upcoming years as she is sure to be an influential voice in the industry.
3. Mallorie Dunn
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You may have never heard the name Mallorie Dunn before. She hasn’t had as much success as Siriano and Tipton. But trust us when we say that she will soon be a household name.
Dunn, who has been designing for over 15 years, is determined to break the stigma on plus-size fashion. The reality is that many women who are considered to be plus-size are actually average. It is the size zero women who are the small percentage. Dunn has made it her mission to dress women of the norm.
Her clothing line, Smart Glamour, sells clothing in every size from XXS to 6X and beyond. According to the line’s website, it is described as “affordable, fashionable, and customizable ethical clothing line for people of all shapes, sizes, heights, ages, identities, and styles. We make plus size clothing, straight size clothing, petite clothing, tall clothing, and everything in between and beyond.”
As a plus-size fashion aficionado myself, seeing Siriano, Tipton, Dunn and other designers fighting for inclusion of people like me in the fashion industry is remarkable. No matter size or shape, height, or color, every single person should be able to find clothing that makes them feel as fabulous as they look. For all the body positive designers out there, thank you for fighting for inclusion and thank you for fighting for me.