Melbourne Fashion Week is a celebration of style and fashion from all over Australia. Twice a year designers, buyers, media and models gather in Melbourne, Australia. Most recently the spring show was held and included plus size Australian models on the City Square runway in the TS14+ show. Melanie Shwarz, TS14+ marketing manager, said the inclusion of models over size 12 was amazing. The plus size Australian plus size Australian models wore bright colors mixed with basic blacks and whites. Ms. Shwarz says the line takes trendy clothes and adapts them to the plus size figure.
The inclusion of plus size models in the show is nothing new, in 2009 City Chic was the first line of clothing to have their own runway show at Melbourne. Critics have brought up the point that they feel the inclusion of plus size Australian models will have the effect of making the population more obese. This is countered with the opinion that if this was the case, everyone would be stick thin from all of the waifs normally seen on runways. Attitudes like the former are just one of the hurdles plus size models must navigate.
Many designers can’t wrap their minds around the fact that 16 percent of the Australian women wear a size 16 or above. Another example is Myer’s Big is Beautiful show. This show was held to introduce Myer’s new plus size department and was praised as a hit. But as usual, when plus size Australian models are involved there are criticisms about their weight. The object was to show healthy looking models, but some pointed out that some of the models looked overweight. Imagine that, an overweight model in a plus size show. It would seem there is a double standard even in plus size modeling. You can be big, but not too big. The sad thing is, too big is considered over size 18.
Even with the detractors from events like the Melbourne Fashion Week and other major fashion events, the plus size Australian fashion industry has made major headway in recent years. Two major modeling agencies, BMG and Bella are based in Australia. They have under contract some of the most beautiful women in the world, and their models have appeared in shows all over the world and many major international publications. These include Vogue Italia, French Elle, French Vogue and Cosmopolitan Australia. Robyn Lawley is one of the most popular plus size Australia n models today and she has become an advocate for the plus size lifestyle. Kudos to TS+14 for including plus size models, and hats off to the Melbourne Spring Fashion Week; let’s hope more major shows include plus size models in major runway shows.