First off, I hate the word Plus-Size. It is a term that was created to describe a woman who is above a size 12. But that equals to a shit ton of different body types and pant sizes. You cannot label millions of women into a box that is commonly ignored. As Tim Gunn said, the average woman is a size 16. We do not label women who are sizes 0 to 12, so why are we labeling the average woman as Plus-Size? The term doesn't even make sense. PLUS WHAT?! I didn't know the fashion industry was filled with math fanatics. With this logic, everyone that falls between sizes 0 to 12 should be labeled as Minus-Size. This term needs to be eliminated. The fashion industry needs be held accountable and become more inclusive. It's just good for business. Why wouldn't you want to make clothing that the vast population can wear? More people able to purchase your clothing equals more money in your pocket. I thought this math crazed industry would have realized this. Most importantly, stop making different clothing for your "Plus-Size" collection. We shop in your stores because we like your aesthetic. We didn't ask for a completely different collection that YOU thought we wanted to wear. I don't want to wear loud prints and boxy clothing. I find it offensive.
I also don't like to associate myself with the term because I'm personally stuck in a purgatory of sizes. In a "Regular-Sized" store, I am either the largest size or they don't sell to me at all. In Plus-Size stores, I am usually the smallest size or not big enough. In a weird sense, I get the best of both worlds but I also don't know where I belong. That is why this labeling is dangerous and all stores need to be inclusive. I also find it misleading to claim myself as Plus-Size because I am at the beginning of the spectrum. A person might assume that I embody all Plus-Size women and will ignore the hundreds of body types that continue after me. The term Plus-Size is offensive and confusing. We are all Human-Sized.
How it Feels to be "Plus-Size" During Fashion Week
New York Fashion Week has come to an end and it feels like a distant memory. I am going to make one confession, it was quite boring. I volunteered, attended a few shows, and stalked Moynihan Station in hopes of getting a glimpse of the real thing. One of the best parts of any Fashion Week is the street style. For many, the sidewalk is a personal catwalk. I took it upon myself to do the same. I wore an outfit similar to this, feeling confident that I would attract some attention. I am no where near to being a fashion model and understand that the fashion industry has a deep prejudice against Plus-Size women, but I thought my effort would at least be acknowledged.
Photographers were literally taking pictures of everything and anything but me. I felt invisible. I lingered around, hoping to get noticed. I purposely dressed in a way that would make me stand out. But those wearing less thought-out outfits were getting all the attention. Why? Because they were skinny. It was obvious. It wasn't crowded. It also doesn't take long to take a photo. When a photographer chooses everyone around you, but you… you take notice. I stood outside of Moynihan Station and walked in front of photographers as a game to see if they would take my picture. They failed my little experiment. There was not much else going on. Most people were already seated inside. Am I that appalling that you can't even take one second to take my photo? Will I disrupt your camera roll? I gave up with my experiment and left. I walked past a girl wearing similar jeans as me and thought "I bet they're going to take her picture." Not being chosen to be photographed is not the worst thing in the world, but it made me feel like shit. I even started crying as I walked down West 33rd Street thinking thank god I'm wearing sunglasses.
I decided to go back and put on a brave face. The show had supposedly started and I figured the doors would be closed. I also had an hour to kill. As I walked towards the venue, photographers pointed their cameras slightly to the right of me so they could capture a photo of the woman walking behind me. I saw a photographer take a photo of someone wearing all black. I saw another photographer take a photo of someone and then put their camera down once they made eye contact with me. I thought it was pretty obvious I was in the fashion scene. I was carrying a bag with the words MADE on it (a company that produces fashion shows). I was wearing Miu Miu sunglasses, trendy jeans, a blazer that had holes in them, and bold red shoes. I thought I belonged. I don't know what else would make it seem I was not. Was my fly open? Nope. Was there something between my teeth? Nope. The only difference between me and everyone else who got photographed was our weight. The only thing that embraced me that day was a cat in a deli on 14th Street. And to top it all off, I GOT SHIT ON BY A PIGEON.
I will give credit to one photographer. I was a VIP guest to a show and my picture was asked to be taken. He was my hero. But at this same event, I was completely ignored by other photographers. I will be completely blunt, there were not a lot of people at this event. The seats weren't even filled. I was sitting front row, but a photographer chose to ignore me and single handily picked out every other girl that was sitting next to me. Do you want to take a guess as to what was different about me and them? If you guessed weight, then ding ding ding. This happened before my experiment in front of Moynihan Station. That was just the tip of the iceberg. So you can probably understand why I was in tears by the end of the day.
I don't have a solution or a message for the fashion industry. I had a terrible experience that left me perplexed. I'm sure people will label me as being too sensitive or making assumptions. But my feelings are valid and I felt like shit. I don't know the motives of these photographers or who they work for. Maybe their actions are not tied with the fashion industry. You can take my story and do with the information as you please. My purpose is to share this for other women out there who also feel that they are being ignored because of their weight. I'm here for you.