Proud2Bme | Fashion Springs Forward: Observations from NYFW

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Fashion Springs Forward: Observations from NYFW

By Pooja Patel--On Thursday, New York Fashion Week came to a close—meaning that we can let go of our hopes of seeing Karl Lagerfeld or Anna Wintour roaming the streets of SoHo or coolly exploring Moynihan Station. While titans like Wintour and Lagerfeld have been staples of fashion weeks across the world for quite some time now, it is clear that tides are changing in ways that would have been unimaginable 10 years ago.

Ten-plus years ago, the body ideal of the fashion industry was essentially Kate Moss, who has been quoted saying, “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” This sentence in and of itself seems to epitomize what fashion tried to embody at the time. Most fashion shows excluded women who strayed away from that body archetype, the ethnically diverse and those who weren’t traditionally feminine.

After observing NYFW via Instagram, fashion blogs and an emerging fashion designers show, it was clear to me that we are not where we used to be in terms of body positivity and ethnic diversity. While attending an emerging designer’s fashion show last week, it was clear that the younger generation of fashion designers vary more than ever before in the types of clothes they make and the people they aim to dress.

Nearly every designer at this show supported racial diversity. However, even though models of varying heights walked, most had the same body type. Although this is not the extreme change we’d like to see, it is nice to see designers taking some steps towards inclusivity. While these emerging designers were great, there are other newcomer mavericks whom I believe will change the next generation of fashion.

For example, many fashion blogs covered Chromat, a fashion line designed by Becca McCharen, which aims to bring body positivity while expressing a new-age, almost robotic aesthetic. It’s where strong meets sexy meets Zenon. To McCharen, light is natural and so is the body—she certainly takes that to heart when designing clothes and picking her models, who vary in body size and ethnicity.

Dynamite up-and-comers like McCharen, who has received great acclaim for her work, represent a new generation that is cognizant of how fashion, body positivity and inspiration can intersect. Moreover, her success demonstrates to the fashion industry that a fashion line can be successful without the age-old archetype of the “traditional” model as the face of the line.

Body positivity has a long way to go before it is all-inclusive, but steps like the ones McCharen and other new designers are taking are necessary to achieve the goal of a body-positive fluid society, one in which fashion week is about the clothes and not about the people wearing them. NYFW 2016 made some strides from the past; let’s hope we can say that every year from now on. Here’s to a body-positive NYFW in the near future!

About this blogger: Pooja Patel studies neuroscience and philosophy at Barnard College, Columbia University. She does research at a CU neurobiology laboratory, which emphasizes anticipation behaviors, circadian rhythms and biology. She has interned off and on at the National Eating Disorders Association for about two years. Pooja enjoys reading, dancing, watching mindless TV and keeping up with fashion trends.

Also by Pooja: 

Dress Codes Are Body-Shaming and Sexist

Lauren Conrad Bans "Skinny"

Lena Dunham and the Body-Positive Workout Selfie

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Proud2Bme is an online community created by and for teens. We cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

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