FULL FIGURED FASHION WEEK 2020

VIRTUAL TOWNHALL FORUM

written by ValaRae Partee

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What an introduction to Full Figured Fashion Week! From start to finish, industry icons were dropping gems all night. Full Figured Fashion Week kicked off with a spicy and engaging Townhall forum moderated by Madeline Jones, Editor in Chief of Plus Model Magazine. Our very own Tawana Blassingame joined other industry professionals to discuss inclusivity, branding, body positivity, and support within the plus fashion industry.

 

The discussion kicked off with tips on how the community can protect itself from companies using the plus industry for profit but are not true inclusion. There was so much information given. I dare not share it all with you (you had to have gotten your own ticket for that, haha). But here are some of my takeaways.

 

Public relations specialist, Emma Medeiros, said to keep calling out problematic industries and to continue pushing the use of model size models in marketing campaigns. As a model myself, I am all for that idea. 

 

On the question of how to support our industry, LaKisha Zevarra, designer of Z by Zevarra, highlighted the fact that big brands do not use plus designers but often use their ideas.

 

Plus blogger, Lisa Schoenberger, suggested we stop buying with big brands and look within our own community for fashion needs.

 

Tawana, founder and Editor in Chief of Queen Size Magazine, boldly stated that we cannot wait for doors to open for us, we need to knock them down ourselves and understand the creativity within our industry.

 

Michael Moss, founder of Big Man Culture in Atlanta, noted that many big brands struggle with inclusivity for the plus man.

 

Mickey Armstrong, photographer and producer of the District of Curves, added that most plus male campaigns include imagery of plus men that look like Shaq and that these campaigns miss the mark for being truly inclusive of the plus male figure.

 

On the topic of inclusivity, both Tawana and Madeline noted declining trends in sales and engagement when using extended plus models and how this is problematic within the industry.

 

Hannah Nodskov, Bridal designer of Hannah Caroline Couture, added how her brand intentionally showcases all plus bodies and that brands should not be half-inclusive.

Jennene Biggins of J Biggins Consulting weighed in and discussed how there are no sizing standards for plus size fashion. Designers are just making clothing with more material rather than fitting us properly.

 

The Townhall discussion ended with a heartwarming and emotional discussion on how we individually define body positivity. Social media influencer, Lynxx Garcia, shared her personal struggles with weight gain and loss and being rejected at stores that do not truly cater to the plus body. At the end of the day, we are all in this together. Body positivity is a personal experience with oneself and we must support each other along that journey, especially as members of the plus size community. We are all beautiful in our own way and, though it is well past time for the broader fashion industry to play a role, we are so lucky to have trailblazers like the panelists to continue moving the industry forward.

Full Figured Fashion Week, also known as "The Oscars of Plus" is a partnership of independent designers, retailers, event producers, plus models, and plus industry businesses that have come together to create an inaugural showcase of the very best in fashion for plus size consumers. Produced by Gwen DeVoe of DeVoe Signature Events.

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