Last week, Afterpay Australian Fashion Week (AAFW) hit the Sydney stage. As a curve model eagerly watching from Adelaide, I was keen to see some changes from previous years.
I was ready to scream “YES” when I saw the vast size diversity that represents the breadth of Australian consumers.
I was ready to clap for the women who worked hard to put curves on the runway.
I was ready to feel accomplished, like we’re finally making headway in the fashion industry.
Watch: Mamamia reviews non-family-friendly fashion. Post continues below.
What I wasn’t ready for were the feelings of disappointment and anger that overcame me.
According to ABS data, the average size for Australian women is between 14-16, but if you used Australian Fashion Week as a guide for representing the population, you’d be grossly misinformed.
From the 70 labels featured in fashion week, there were only three labels that cater for size 16 and over – with only a fraction more offering size 14+.
That means while the average sized woman is 14-16, she was only represented by 4.3 per cent of brands at AAFW.
If that figure doesn’t both confuse and anger you, I don’t know what will.
I’m not the only one feeling this way – plus size models and influencers with the likes of Kate Wasley, Riley Hemson, and Founder of Everi-Body Models Nikki Mann, have spoken up on social media about how the lack of size diversity has made them feel.
Nikki Mann called out AAFW in an Instagram post:
"Dear Aus fashion week. Enough is enough. No more “excuses”, DO BETTER. I’m not about to write a whole big caption.... but instead I’m planning something BIG with a bunch of badass humans in this industry."
And Riley Hemson, who has an impressive 361k followers, shared on her post:
"Serving the curves @ausfashionweek clearly forgot to serve. This week really highlighted how far we still have to go in terms of size diversity in the fashion industry. 14-16 is the average dress size in Australia, yet I sat through shows this week and saw two models over a size 12. It just isn’t it! Can’t believe in 2021 we are still having this conversation. On behalf of all my curvy babes: We are here. We wear clothes. [And] we will look damn good on that runway."