Plus-size and curvy models are front and center at this fashion week

A model wears a floral off-the-shoulder dress by Lane Bryant at Full Figured Fashion Week’s finale in New York City. (Photo: Courtesy of Lane Bryant/Cacique)

Long before plus-size fashion took over the runways at New York Fashion Week, there was Full Figured Fashion Week, empowering women through plus-size fashion for the past 10 years.

On Saturday night at the Broad Street Ballroom in New York City, FFFWeek celebrated its 10th anniversary with an amazing finale featuring styles from over 15 fashion labels, including Lane Bryant, Catherines, Ashley Stewart, Curves with Purpose, and smaller designers, such as Generose, DivaBigg, and Robert E. Knight.

The excitement in the room was palpable from start to finish. In contrast to traditional runway shows in New York, Milan, or Paris, at the FFFWeek finale, if you loved a model’s look, you let it be heard. Cheers and applause were considered the appropriate etiquette throughout each designer’s show, not just at the end. The models debuted a mixture of cocktail dresses, off-the-shoulder floral blouses, graphic-print skirts, sexy bras, panties, and hosiery. One model wore a leather jacket with “Fat Pride” written on the back, which electrified the crowd, bringing people to their feet in acclamation.

A tweed-and-leather belted jacket and jeans by Lane Bryant made an impression at Full Figured Fashion Week’s finale in New York City. (Photo: Courtesy of Lane Bryant/Cacique)

Lane Bryant has been a sponsor of FFFWeek since the very beginning. On Saturday night, the brand showed a preview of its forthcoming RTW styles and new collections from its lingerie line, Cacique. Standout items included a chic tweed-and-leather belted jacket, a feminine off-the-shoulder floral dress, and my personal favorite — a sexy burgundy-lace bodysuit.

“When I design for Cacique, I design what is the most beautiful, most relevant, most sexy fashion that I think any woman would want to wear,” Gill Heer, VP of design for Cacique, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “On that stage, I’m considering the fashion and the trends. And it’s then, with the help of our technical design team, that we make that work to fit and support all women.”

Supporting all women of diverse shapes and sizes has always been a core mission for Lane Bryant, especially within the last few years. The company’s #ImNoAngel campaign became an instant viral hit in 2016 and earned more than “16 billion media impressions,” according to Marcy Schaffir, SVP for  Merchandising at Cacique.

A model wears a burgundy-lace lingerie set by Cacique at Full Figured Fashion Week’s finale. (Photo: Courtesy of Lane Bryant/Cacique)

Lane Bryant was one of the first major fashion brands to champion plus-size model Ashley Graham in print and televisions ads. “Our message has always been that all women deserve great fashion … and  we want to change the way women see themselves in the world and the world sees women,” Schaffir tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

The progress made in the plus-size space since FFFWeek debuted 10 years ago is undeniable. Plus-size models such as Graham and Candice Huffine have become runway mainstays. Graham graced her first cover for British Vogue in 2017 and made history as the first plus-size model on the covers of both Sports Illustrated and Maxim in 2016.

It’s worth noting that the models in the shows were predominantly models of color, a stark contrast to the high-fashion runways, where diversity is only slowly increasing.

The rise of the body positivity movement has also created a space where plus-size influencers such as Denise Bidot and Gabi Gregg can thrive. Brands are showing they’re serious about inclusivity. When Rihanna first debuted her Fenty Puma line, there was not a single plus-size model, but in the star’s newly launched Savage x Fenty lingerie line, diversity and inclusion were front and center.

We don’t know what progress will be made in plus-size fashion over the next 10 years, but if the past is any indication, the future looks very bright.

Read More from Yahoo Lifestyle:

9 sexy plus-size bikinis to wear this summer 
‘Fat people can be happy’: How the new show ‘Dietland’ is changing the game for women 
Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty lingerie line is perfect for plus-size women

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