Boundary pushing, LFW style

Alas, a follow up NYFW post is unlikely – unfortunately I seemed to acquire a life in the past couple of weeks! Fashion weeks wait for no one, however, so now we’re on to LFW: London Fashion Week.

And you know if there’s one thing us Brits adore, it’s a gimmick.

I’ve not been able to properly browse the pretty pictures thus far, but Amy of Wolf Whistle (who is covering LFW for fashion156) alerted me to Mark Fast‘s collection which featured three plus sized models. Not only that, but plus models dressed in his signature revealing, tight, knitted dresses:

Pretty neat, huh? Of course it can be argued that the models aren’t truly plus size, that it was a gimmick on MF’s behalf – and you would be right. But it’s definitely pleasant to see a wider variety of shapes on the runway, and all dressed equally to boot.

(According to, the show’s original stylist actually quit out of disgust at using models from plus sized agencies on the runway. Loser! EDIT: Apparently the casting director walked out too. Here are some reports: GuardianJezebelBBC)

You know what else was completely awesome, perhaps even more awesome? PPQ using only models of colour in their collection:

Now I dislike the Geldof sisters as much as the next person, but I do generally give PPQ the benefit of the doubt, as they have a capsule range with Oli that goes up to a UK20 which is almost unheard of among hipster designers. With this collection, because the racism present in fashion is even more worrying to me than its refusal to endorse different body types, it’s refreshing to see women of colour represented in themselves as opposed to an ethnic token as they are in most other runway shows.

Like Mark Fast’s perusal of plus sized models, however, it’s quite likely a gimmick. And not only that, the models for PPQ seem to be almost hyper-ethniticed, with “big Nefertiti buns” and “tribal” prints. I’m coming from an position of privilege it’s not my call to make, but it does feel like the step forwards and the step backwards cancelled out what could have been something truly progressive. And that’s a real shame.


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10 Responses to “Boundary pushing, LFW style”

  1. Frances Says:

    Whoa, two people quit over a few size 14s?! I don’t understand people.

  2. Deena Says:

    Frances- I’ve given up trying to understand some people because the amount of thought required would give me an aneurysm.

    • thepocketrocket Says:

      Well apparently now people are suggesting she didn’t leave because of the models, and didn’t leave at all. It doesn’t make sense that she’s the fashion editor of i-D which featured these exact same models in the exact same clothes, but can’t bear to see them on the runway! Who knows? That’s the crazy world of fashion, I suppose!

  3. Val - Blog to be Alive Says:

    I know it’s normal for the fashion industry but it still makes me mad that they are calling them plus size. It really sends the wrong messages to teens and women who already have issues with their bodies.

  4. intothesystem Says:

    The models in the top set look fantastic with their curves, unlike the usual stick insects you see. It’s refreshing and far sexier to show real bodies. It is true though that they are hardly plus size though and to call them such is ridiculous but expected!

    • thepocketrocket Says:

      Sorry but I think stick-insect is a nasty term to use – models are people too, y’know! It’s horrible the kinds of things people in the fashion world and beyond say about fat bodies, but ragging on the thin is no better.

      • intothesystem Says:

        yes you are right, sorry. I didn’t mean it to be offensive, but I guess it could be.

        I suppose it’s just frustrating because thin models are pressured into their size. I know some of them are naturally that slim, but most of them have to work very hard to stay that way.

        The larger models are far more natural and it’s a shame that the fashion industry won’t just accept bodies for what they are and show a full range of sizes.

        I guess we all know that though.. Shame the fashion industry won’t wake up to it.

      • thepocketrocket Says:

        Yeah, it is all too easy to slip into talk like that – I have to keep a constant check on my language (and usually fail!). It is sad that most models are pressured to be as thin as they can by whatever means possible. I guess the point I was trying to make was it’s as ridiculous to assume every model we see must live on a diet of cocaine and cigarettes as it is to assume every fat person we see eats burgers and chips every day and never leaves the sofa.

        That’s the killer – variety. No one wants to banish size zeroes, we just want to see all walks of woman reflected. But on the other hand, fashion is primarily about the rich, and reflects their wants and needs. Until they start to get fatter, or the lower classes get thinner, then we won’t see a change. If there’s one thing the fashion industry is terrified of it’s change!

        (whoops, sorry for the ramble!)

  5. Deena Says:

    I agree with you re: the PPQ show. At first glance I thought it was great that all the models were black but within the context of the collection itself- the goddess braids and tribal style prints- it now just looks more like an artistic decision- another prop for the show rather than a statement about race and the runway.

  6. …And Delight | Pocket Rocket Says:

    […] 14, 2010 1:06 am Since the Mark Fast debacle, Glamour photoshoots and V’s size issue, there have been announcements and a flurry of […]

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