Melbourne Fashion Festival’s inclusive “F.A.T Runway” made headlines all over the world for featuring only plus – sized models. (The “Fat” by the way, stands for Fabulous and Trendy).
Diverse models from size 16 to size 24 walked in the show, including indigenous people, immigrant, trans, and neurodiverse models.
Organisers of the event said that F.A.T Runway was designed to focus on showcasing clothing that is fun and youthful, “Mainstream plus size fashion is so often made in dark colours and aimed at older women. Many plus size young people are forced to wear age-inappropriate clothing which can contribute to body image issues. The F.A.T Runway will connect young fat folks with fashion that helps them express themselves and makes them feel good.”
“I really wanted to use the word fat as people are so scared of it,” said designer Lucy Wilkins. ”Fabulous and trendy are things we’re told we can’t be, as fat people.”
Lisa invited her plus-sized friends to model her clothing. “Unfortunately a lot of agency models stop at 18, which is where we were starting.” she said.
As well as “F.A.T Runway” there was a new and pre-loved clothing event called ‘A Plus Market’, where people could buy inclusive, and plus – sized clothing.
Between shows a flash mob to highlight inclusive bodies was run by Heidi Anderson and Peta Hook who dubbed their event the “Walk of No Shame”. Participant and ‘Appearance activist’ Carly Findlay said, “Women and gender diverse people stripped down to our underwear, walking the fashion forecourt, shouting positive body affirmations and calls for improved inclusion and representation, particularly at fashion events. Most of the participants had positive words written on their bodies with body paint.”
“I took part for Little Carly, whose body was medicalised, seen as repulsive and embarrassing, and never represented in fashion and media.
I also took part for others with skin conditions, facial differences and disabilities. It felt good!”
Caroline Ralphsmith is the Melbourne Fashion Festival CEO, she highlighted the importance of inclusive fashion at the festival, “They can see themselves on the runway and they can see everyone else. We get to see the clothes on all different bodies and we’re making sure everyone feels accepted in this environment.”
Melbourne Fashion Festival has created an incredible template for other fashion events to follow. With inclusivity being a key trend for the coming years hopefully we’ll see other countries deciding to highlight both able bodied and disabled people, more diversity in gender and ethnicity and a broader range of body sizes and shapes.
It would be wonderful to see Ireland lead the way on inclusive fashion. As Irish Body Positivity campaigner Becca Flynn said, “We’ve got to be kinder to people in bigger bodies, which in turn will make us kinder to ourselves. A body is a body is a body, none is better than another.”
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