This year’s Australian Fashion Week was unquestionably memorable. From beginning to end, from May 9 to May 13, each day was more fascinating than the last. But the 12th specific stood out and utterly blew our minds.
Australia’s first plus-size runway event is the Curve Edit fashion show. This year’s Australian Fashion Week is one of 26 editions. That is, it took them 26 years to catch up to the times. We’re not passing judgment, but they took a long time to arrive.
The most important part is that they arrived. Perhaps this was due to the severe public backlash they received following the series of shows that took place during last year’s fashion week. The general public perceived a lack of diversity in the shows in terms of size.
This should not have come as a surprise given that some Australian designers only offer sizes 14 downwards (which is surprising seeing as the average dress size in Australia is 12-16). Nonetheless, the public was outraged and took advantage of the opportunity to express their feelings.
Designers in Australia have gradually expanded their product lines. While this is a step forward, they should not be required to “extend their lines” to accommodate plus-size women. Catering for larger sizes should be the norm rather than the exception.
CEO Chelsea Bonner of Bella Management appears to agree, stating that getting designers to include plus-size models in their shows has always been difficult for her. Bella Management is a modeling agency that prides itself on the diversity of its models. Bonner made it her mission to host this show in order to highlight the undeniable beauty of plus-size women.
The runway show included 84 looks, including evening wear, flowing maxi dresses, a swimwear collection, lingerie, and statement pieces. Plus-size models strutted down the runway in flattering pieces from six local labels—17 Sundays, Zaliea Designs, Saint Somebody, Embody Women, Harlow, and Vagary.
While we are ecstatic that Australia has finally joined the ranks of countries attempting to move beyond the unrealistic and frequently inaccessible societal ideals of what beauty should be, the world is still a long way from where it should be. We would, however, continue to applaud the efforts, no matter how small.