New York Fashion Week was more political than ever this year; thanks to the Trump presidency. Some designers expressed their anger at the system, and some asked themselves what they could do about it. The fashion industry is notoriously problematic, mostly for arguments related to body image and representation. Four designers at NYFW took this opportunity to ask themselves, “what is industry standard, anyways?”
Vetements are known for pushing the boundaries, aesthetically and otherwise. This year at New York Fashion Week, the prestigious fashion house took on the issue of ageism in the fashion industry.
The first word that comes to my mind is “wacky”, but it’s good for the fashion industry that they did this. In a time that seems to call for one, this is most definitely a fashion statement.
Nomia took a more minimal approach and used friends and Instagrammers instead of models.
Most Instagrammers are at least model-like, but the standard for high fashion is more rigid than that. Most designers won’t hire women who are shorter than 5’9″, or have a waist that is larger than 25″. For reference, the average height of a North American woman is reported to be between 5’3″ and 5’5″, and their average waist size is 38″. So not only must you be freakishly tall if you want to be a model, but you should also have nearly half the girth of the average woman. It’s great that the average body shape and size is making it’s way into the fashion industry, but what does it mean for the future of fashion? Will we be seeing less industry standard models on the runway and more regular people, or will this trend die out with the season? Only time will tell.
The designers at the helm of Rag + Bone took a unique approach to their presentation this year. Instead of shooting a lookbook or holding a runway show, the designers threw a party with their favorite friends, Instagrammers, and a boatload of instant cameras.
Erin Fetherstone didn’t stray far from the traditional runway presentation, but she did hire ladies of a certain age to walk for her. In addition to being impossibly tall and thin, the ideal high fashion model is underage or at least looks like it. Tackling ageism in the industry is no small task, but Fetherstone and the rest of the designers I’ve discussed here are off to a great start.