vogue australia

Popular Fashion Sovereignty: Body Type or Gender Diversification?

Earlier this week, I belatedly discussed the The Row’s contribution to age diversification in this Fall’s Look Book. The powers that be immediately responded, pulling out all the stops to deliver us two delicious pieces of news in the way of diversification this week (and all in direct reply to my suggestions blog post!).

1. The cover of Australia’s Cosmo was graced by its first, its own home grown plus size model Robyn Lawley. And you know what? It didn’t say anywhere that she’s a plus size model. She’s just another sexy woman on the cover.

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Among Lawley’s resume is the cover Vogue Italia and French Elle. She is also the first plus size model to have graced the pages of Vogue Australia. In a Daily Mail article she spoke out about her distaste for the ever-growing “thigh gap” obsession inspired by Cara Delevingne (I included a link to the article for those of you who are lost as to what I’m talking about). Looking luscious on the cover, she gives some good evidence that it takes more than a thigh gap to make it.

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Her jaw-dropping Vogue sweep.

2. Barney’s released their Spring 2014 Campaign, entitled “Brothers, Sisters, Sons & Daughters.”

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Upon sight, it may not look any different than any other fancy photo shoot. However, the ad campaign manager (and former creative director of W), Dennis Freedman describes its unique inspiration, I was exquisitely aware that in the last decade, the L.G.B. communities have made extraordinary advances, and the transgender community has not shared in that progress.”

That’s right. The campaign is composed of 20 transgender models of all ages, colors, and socioeconomic statuses. Check out their photos, shot by All-American photographer Bruce Weber here.

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As an aside, one thing I was not so keen on was Arin Andrews holding a football in the picture above. It seems kind of a hackneyed way to say, “Hey! I’m a boy!” Not to mention, it’s a direct contrast to model, Ryley Pogensky’s statement in the catalog,: “What is between my legs is not thoroughly who I am. If gender is black and white, I’m gray.” Fashion may create and explore the bounds between gender norms, but that football isn’t doing the ideology any favors.

So after seeing these two headlines, which do you think is the more expansive move to the fashion industry today? On the one hand, while transgender models are rarely photographed, even rarer is the sight of the curvaceous, bodacious lady. While each of the models’ bodies in the Barney’s ad is a source of controversy, they seem to fit into the lineup as far as size is concerned. For that reason, I’m more inclined to be excited about a plus size model on the front of Cosmo. I admit it’s a purely selfish reason, but I like to see ladies with breasts BESIDES Christina represented every once in a while.

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Not that I’m complaining.

Still, if Lawley is the ONLY plus size model getting the limelight, maybe it’s not such a progressive and laudable thing after all. Besides, should we kowtow every time more than one body size is shown? Maybe it’s counterintuitive to even put one interest over the other. Does designating one of the other belittle them both? Should we instead usher in these changes with open arms all hailing the name of progress? Please let me know which issue you think is more important. I’m very interested to know your feedback. Seriously CAN WE GET A COMMENT IN THE HOUSE Y’ALL?