It’s a period when people are joining the body positivity revolution by embracing their flaws. The idea of size zero is being challenged through various means of inclusivity. Most recently, Nike introduced curvy mannequins at its new-and-improved London flagship store as part of a special floor dedicated to women. Featuring a full range of athlete figures with multiple plus-sized and para-sport mannequins for the first time in the store’s history, the retailer celebrates diversity and inclusivity of sport.
Though the move is hailed as a celebration of real bodies and an attempt to boost positive body image and self-confidence in all persons irrespective of their size, is that what the fashion industry is all about?
In an industry that stands for unreal beauty standards, penchant for fairness and cosmetic procedures to attain unnatural beauty, will the act of introducing curvy mannequins bring much difference? Will it end body shaming or change beauty perceptions? We talk to body positive activists, fashion industry insiders and plus-size models to know their views and suggestions.
This is a step that requires applause. I feel it will change the perspective of fashion industry towards plus-size models. Being such a huge brand, Nike has taken this step because they totally understand that plus size is booming and that women are comfortable being on the heavier side also, while not compromising on their dreams of becoming a model or actor.
This would also serve as a persuading factor to all those moms out there who, after child-birth and gaining weight, feel insecure about their bodies and therefore choose only a certain kind of clothing. Moreover, plus-size women want to try out sports range outfits as well. Some people in the industry are definitely going to mock this move, but none can stop changes.
Akshaya Navaneethan, Plus-Size Model
Teach them to respect Plurality
It is really congenial to know that Nike has introduced curvy mannequins in its London flagship store as a part of a special floor dedicated to women. Our society has begun to break the myth and accept the truth about women's body types. Curvy was considered to be a dirty word 10 years ago but today it is a proud moment for us as we are promoting and celebrating curvy sizes. It will be good to see curvy mannequins than slender ones in the stores from now. These new mannequins and extended sizes will inspire women of all shapes and sizes and will definitely bring self-confidence and empower them. Now size won't be an issue when it comes to wearing any kind of dress. And witnessing the change with the changing trends of mannequins can be a great initiative which will surely normalize things easily because I know for a fact that the visuals from now onwards will make a difference in our thought process and as an end result we will eventually try to implement them on a daily basis. I hope I can see some of these mannequins here in my city too. These things taking place can truly contribute towards empowering women in society, taking a stand for themselves. I am really happy for the coming generations who might not have to go through the things the current or the previous generations have been going through but it is also a fact that the struggles must be remembered as we hail for our triumphs.
Seema Srivastawa, techie
Zero-size concept offensive
I think the idea of zero size is offensive. There are people with different body structures and I think initiatives like Nike’s store should be welcomed. It is not necessary that a particular dress should look good on a slim girl and not on a fat one. Same is the case of dark and fair women. And above all, fashion is about being comfortable in what you wear. In India, almost every clothing store has all the sizes available, but when it comes to showcasing them, the designers would use zero-size models. Why can’t we all make it a normal thing to have a plus-size lady on the ramp? I believe that would make a difference and change people’s perception, though it will take time for people to accept it.
Nidhi Upadhyay, Fashion Designer
Leave aside all the comments like moti, laddu etc. Women, it’s time to embrace ourselves and be bold with the personality and colour we are gifted with. The surreal film industry is leading to a notion that beauty is just slim and fair. We ultimately face the brunt of these infused notions. Confidence must lie within your personality and not the size of your body. This initiative must be adopted by the film industry and beauty pageants. The BBC recently questioned the selection processes in beauty pageants. From having the same skin tone to glossy lips and an hour glass figure, every finalist looks alike. This is something that needs an immediate impact worldwide. Quite a number of experiences have got to me, but my confidence directed me towards my modelling career as a plus-size model and I’ve never been happier.
Selina Aron Gadamandla, Plus-size model
Reflects change in attitude
There has been an increasing trend of big fashion brands embracing the concept of plus size and inclusivity. I feel this is a reflection of changing attitude as a result of the years-long efforts of body positive activists and feminists. Awareness on body positivity has also increased due to the reach of social media. It is at this juncture that I feel the big corporates have started cashing in on this concept.
As a designer who tells stories of beauty and humaneness through apparel creations, my aim or vision is to treat everyone as equal, irrespective of class, caste, colour, race, and gender. My approach towards fashion is neither presenting the body in a conventionally beautiful manner, nor relying on the concept of external beauty by embellishing it with certain products. My clothing should add beauty to the person wearing it; it should help the person be comfortable and confident, enhancing grace and inner beauty.
Sharmila, fashion designer...