When I began college as a fashion designing student, I wasn’t too aware of the term “plus size fashion”. Until I came across some of the international models on Instagram. Often through school and college I would hear comments like “You would look so much prettier if you were thinner“, and people gave me all sorts of dieting and exercising tips. I knew I did not need that kind of advice. I have always led a very healthy life and I didn’t think it was right for people to just go around saying such things. This made me think about it a lot. Why doesn’t the industry in India have more women representing plus size bodies? Soon enough, In August 2016, I saw an advertisement from the brand aLL, for Lakme Fashion Week, asking for plus size women to audition. I did go to the auditions and cleared three rounds before I was eliminated. However to my surprise, the next day, a lot of newspapers had my audition pictures in them, and people had a very positive response to this. This encouraged me to get into the plus size modeling industry that is forming in our country.
Initially my inspiration for plus size modeling came from Denise Bidot. Following her, on Instagram, back in 2015, I was introduced to the topic of plus size modeling. She has been my main inspiration for modeling ever since. Other celebrities like Priyanka Chopra (for everything she has achieved), Ashley Graham (for being the only plus size supermodel) and Deepti Gujral (for showing how nice and kind a famous personality can be) have inspired me too!
But entering modelling wasn’t so simple. On one hand, I was told that I promote an unhealthy lifestyle. Sometimes even my own family or friends or relatives would say this to me! On the other hand, I was told that I wasn’t big enough to fit the criteria of “plus size”.
I had seen the guidelines and criteria on international sites which clearly stated otherwise. In India, the concept of plus size modeling is still very nascent and needs a lot of polishing. Technically any woman over a UK Size 14 is a plus size woman. But not everyone has the ability to model. Internationally, models are chosen after auditions and noting their body shape and between certain sizes only. They are also judged on the basis of how well they can carry outfits or pose in front of the camera or walk the ramp. But our industry selects models without keeping any kind of criteria in mind.
The Indian plus size industry is currently in a very big mess. We still see a lot of brands making uninteresting, parallel shaped garments for plus sized people. Since I’ve begun designing for plus size women as well, I think I’d like to inspire people by my garments which are unique and something that many plus sized women haven’t been offered before and also by modeling and giving a voice to all those women out there who have never been celebrated before.
The fashion industry today plays such a big role in our everyday lives. Being a fashion designer myself, I think people can express themselves tremendously through the kind of clothes they choose to wear, how they wish to wear it and where they wish to wear it. Fashion can be revolutionary. Like today, there are plus size brands coming up with better and better designs everyday, not restricting people to wear only limited styles just because they are big. Women of various sizes, who haven’t been represented yet in the country, are also coming up with bold styles for themselves, to express their individuality better. I think this is a very beautiful effect that fashion has.
I think we are living in a world where it’s time to celebrate the uniqueness in each human being. The modeling and garments industry seriously needs to start accepting models from all body types and sizes!