For those of you that are Project Runway fans, you may have heard of Ashley Nell Tipton, the reality show’s first plus-size winner from season 14. This lilac-haired designer was the first to send an entirely plus-size collection down the runway. For her victory, Tipton received $10,000, a new car, a fashion spread in Marie Claire and a cruise vacation. Despite the huge success for the plus-size fashion scene, many Project Runway fans disagree with the judges’ decision.
Social media users swarmed, criticizing Tipton’s win, claiming the show prioritized making history instead of choosing the best designer. On Blogging Project Runway, 59 percent of fans voted that Kelly Dempsey would win while only 17 percent of fans voted that Ashley would win. Yet, in an interview with The Wrap, Tipton states, “My collection was cohesive. My collection was wearable. My collection can also go for straight-sized women.”
In a society where plus-size clothing isn’t always fashion-forward or popular, Tipton’s show featured in New York Fashion Week presented a new, girly and chic future for plus-size fashion. Lace, florals and bright colors appeared in her show-stopping collection, which took inspiration from 1950s Mexico City. Not only has Tipton, an active member of online plus-size fashion and body positive communities, inspired more people to discuss plus-size fashion as a whole, but many other designers and magazines are promoting plus-size style into the fashion realm.
During New York Fashion Week last year, Beth Ditto, lead singer of rock band Gossip, strutted down the runway in Marc Jacobs’ show, wearing his take on plus-size fashion. Ditto has also modeled for editorials and walked for Jean Paul Gaultier. Chromat’s Momentum show featured plus-size models Sabina Karlsson and Denise Bidot. Ashley Graham’s lingerie line also featured all plus-size models.
Australian Cosmopolitan featured plus size-super model Robyn Lawley on their cover in March 2014. Vogue Italia also featured plus-size models on their cover in 2011. Editor in chief Franca Sozzani even stated in an interview with Women’s Wear Daily, “We help [plus-size women] dress fashionably.”
Leaders in the fashion world are taking steps to introduce plus-size and “regular” size fashion into the mainstream, which is now influencing the image media outlets and fashion shows portray. Even now, plus-size models are actually seen as “regular-sized.” Although it will “take baby steps,” as Tipton stated in her interview with The Wrap, “plus-size fashion shows are being welcomed into Fashion Week, [sic] and having more plus-size women in major magazines.”
Whether the judges of Project Runway chose her as the winner because of her groundbreaking plus-size collection, her talent, or both, Tipton has stimulated discussion of plus-size modeling. The stereotypes of plus-sized women are diminishing with acceptance and with the help of designers like Tipton, who increase diversity in clothes for women of all sizes. As the fashion industry slowly accepts women of all shapes and sizes, the equality of beauty will expand.
Photo by: Pixabay