For Glamour, by Erin Reimel.
Tim Gunn is known for his honest critiques of the designers on Project Runway and his “make it work” catchphrase. But he recently made it clear that the fashion industry has a lot to do in order to really make it work for all women: Gunn appeared on PBSNewsHour on Friday with a call to action for designers. True to form, he didn’t mince words. “I love the American fashion industry, but it has a lot of problems,” he said.
Gunn explained that he’s unhappy with the industry’s obsession with size and its exclusion of anyone it deems “plus-size” — a term he says he wants to erase. From a purely business perspective, he pointed out that designers are missing out on an important market by not catering to the 80 million women who don’t fit in what the industry considers non-plus sizes — after all, he pointed out, the average American woman is now between a size 16 and 18. These women actually spend much more money on clothing than anyone else, yet designers still say they’re not interested in larger women: Gunn says they use the excuses that they’re “complicated, different, and difficult.”
“There is no reason why larger women can’t look just as fabulous as all other women,” Gunn said, challenging designers to create something that’s actually designed for their proportions and not just sized up from a sample size. It’s all about reaching a balance between silhouette, proportion, and fit, he said — because all women deserve fashion and choices.
It’s exciting to see someone so established in the fashion industry speak out for women who aren’t sample sizes — but there still aren’t enough brands on the market to really cater to everyone. At the end of the segment, Gunn speaks directly to the designers of more accessible lines, saying it’s time to open up the possibilities. “14-plus is now the shape of women in this nation, and designers need to wrap their creative minds around that,” he said.
His sign off? “Designers, make it work.”
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