Bit by bit, the fashion industry is changing for the better, especially when it comes to size inclusivity. In part its thanks to the body positivity movement, but mostly it's the labour of models like Paloma Elsesser, Jilla Kortleve, Precious Lee and Barbie Ferreira and hoards more, who have unapologetically taken up space in an industry unwilling to create room.
At times it can feel like Australia is frustratingly behind the curve, but in line with its mission to foster a richer, more inclusive environment, Afterpay Australian Fashion Week will be hosting its first ever curve exclusive runway in 2022. Dubbed 'The Curve Edit', the show was pitched to IMG by Chelsea Bonner, CEO of Bella Management, a modelling agency that prides itself on its commitment to body inclusivity including gender diverse folk and people with disabilities.
Six designers are set to show their collections at The Curve Edit show; namely, 17 Sundays, Saint Somebody, Embody Women, Vagary, Harlow and Zaliea Designs. In an interview with The Guardian, head of Australian fashion events for IMG, Natalie Xenita said, “We’re working to create a more accessible and equitable industry by ensuring talented designers, creatives and fashion professionals of all identities have the opportunities and resources they need to succeed".
This change to proceedings comes after critics pointed out a dearth of diverse bodies at the 2021 Australian Fashion Week festivities. One of those was model and member of QTBIPOC ballroom collective House of Silky, Basjia Almaan, who applauded designer Jordan Gogos on his refreshing debut show and called out the rest of the runways for having "no range and no flavour".
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Keeping this in mind, it must be said that while The Curve Edit is a wonderful first step in the right direction, we're hesitant to shout "progress" unless there is a greater presence of body diversity on the rest of the runways. But we remain hopeful, especially with AAFW's commitment to growth, as we saw with the First Nations Fashion + Design showcase and the forthcoming show from the Adaptive Clothing Collective which will make a point of spotlighting interesting, luxury clothing for people with disabilities.