INSIDE INDIA’S ‘PLUS-SIZE’ FASHION INDUSTRY

On one hand, the industry is trying to normalise the conversation around plus-sized people by including them in runway shows and even designer campaigns; on the other, is the same industry is singling out one show and categorising it as “plus-sized or xxl size” instead of encouraging the participating designers to have a diverse model portfolio. Inclusivity stems from acceptance and can’t be forced. Are we, as consumers of fashion, ready to see plus-size models on the mainstream runway? Are Indian designers even open to the idea of showcasing a range of sizes in their collections? The answer is not as straightforward as it seems. 

Representation Vs Marginalisation
While it is heartening to see TVCs, runway shows and campaigns that feature faces from different walks of life, in a country that lacks a standard sizing chart, it is difficult to determine what makes for a sample size or a plus-size. As an industry that is driven more by commercial profits than trends, it wouldn’t be unethical to demand a justified representation of sizes.

Social media has definitely played an important role in breaking stereotypes and celebrating individuality. A quick search for #SelfLove will give you a whopping 32.5 million posts on Instagram. The millennial and Gen-Z generation is here to accept exceptions. There are so many brands that can have a wide range of sizes but they are not putting in any effort for some reason. The industry needs to normalise plus-size, it is not such a big deal.”

The Way Forward
Today, it is not only about celebrating the one (or two) show(s) that had a plus-size line-up. As we revere #real people on our Instagram screens, it is time we adjust to change in real life as well, sans inhibitions. Why can’t all mainstream designers have a line-up that is as diverse as the country is? “Firstly, the industry needs to change its point of view that plus size is odd size. They need to realise that plus-size women represent majority of the women in the country. Hence, we need better representation of these women on the runway and in the fashion magazines. We also need more plus-size women in powerful positions because they can relate and be better decision makers.

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