Just when you think the fashion industry is finally listening to calls for diversity, another door closes firmly shut.
Plus-sized model Ashley Graham was “honoured” to be on the January 2017 cover of British Vogue; one of the first times a bigger woman has featured.
But editor-in-chief Alexandra Shulman has revealed that some fashion brands “flatly refused to lend clothes” for the cover shoot.
In the editor’s letter, Shulman spoke of Coach’s enthusiasm at providing samples for size 14 Ashley: “The shoot was put together fairly last minute and we are all very grateful to the people at Coach who moved speedily to provide clothes for us that had to come from outside their sample range.”
“They were enthusiastic about dressing a woman who is not a standard model, but sadly there were other houses that flatly refused to lend us their clothes.”
Shulman doesn’t disclose which designers felt unable to budge from their standard sample size – which usually falls at a UK size 8 or smaller – but it’s a rarity for a prestigious editor to speak out on such an issue.
“It seems strange to me that while the rest of the world is desperate for fashion to embrace broader definitions of physical beauty, some of our most famous fashion brands appear to be travelling in the opposite – and, in my opinion, unwise – direction,” she finishes.
This isn’t the first time the editor has expressed her thoughts on diversity, previously calling for an end to the ‘plus size’ and ‘size zero’ labels.
Ashley, who is the first plus-sized model to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated, also wishes to get rid of the category, telling Vogue: “When we’re supposed to be talking about diversity for women, it feels so divisive and purpose -defeating, giving us yet another label.”
The model was also recently turned into a more realistic Barbie doll complete with thighs that touched.
If Barbie can support Ashley Graham, the rest of the fashion industry most certainly can too.