Regina Cordium

Hypocrisy in Plus Size Fashion?

Fat shaming is definitely not in good taste these days and body positivity definitely is. So shouldn’t marketing plus size fashion be a simple matter? Hardly.

Graduate students at the NYU Costume Studies Program have assembled an exhibition that provides extraordinary insight into just how complex this subject has been across centuries of fashion and culture. Even the title — Fashion and the Plus-Size* Woman — required an asterisk and disclaimer to pre-empt trolls and tell everyone that the organizers get it:

As a complicated cultural construct itself, the very term “plus-size” evokes a myriad of reactions, thus, after careful consideration from the curators of the exhibit, the term “plus-size” is used here for its association with fashion, the primary focus of this exhibition.

Tracy Jenkins, director of the exhibit is blunt, saying, “fashion’s job is to exclude. Fashion is not accepting fat.” Writing for Venus Diva Daily, Catherine Schuller commends the exhibit:

Because of the very nature of fashion’s inherent prejudicial viewpoint (remember the adage “You can never be too thin or too rich?”), the apparel market is a ripe field of endeavor to explore the changing viewpoints and interpretations of the once envied, once revered, then shunned, snubbed (pick a decade!) but never fully accepted “curvy customer.”

If you’re in New York between now and February 3, take a hike to see the exhibition at the 80WSE Galleries of NYU. If not, you can read more about the exhibit and take a virtual tour (coming soon) of it here, read more about it in the New York Times here, and get further perspective from Schuller here.

Regina Cordium, painting 1860 by Dante Gabriel Rossetti / WikiArt

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January 15, 2016

One Response to “Hypocrisy in Plus Size Fashion?”

  1. January 16, 2016 at 12:15 pm, Allen Browne said:

    Lot’s to learn about human nature. Very interesting.