Size-inclusive runways are unfortunately still not the norm. But some labels are beacons of progress.
Is body diversity going out of style? This distressing question has been permeating the fashion zeitgeist lately, thanks to a trend of regressively rigid sizing on the runway.
Despite all the progress made to push plus-size fashion to the forefront over the past decade, recent seasons have been lacking inclusive clothing (and body) representation. With the Spring 2024 calendar having officially wrapped, this topic is once again impossible to ignore.
What did body diversity look like at fashion month?
At some big labels, the absence of plus-size bodies spoke for itself. Elsewhere, fatphobia was called out — with plus-size model Felicity Hayward critiquing designer Mowalola for repurposing a Karl Lagerfeld T-shirt that read, “4 Slim People.”
Size was top of mind at Balenciaga, where Demna’s array of intensely XL garments hid models’ shapes altogether. But without a diverse range of body sizes wearing them (this collection reportedly marked Demna’s first time featuring curve models, and there were only two), it was not exactly a groundbreaking statement. In terms of overall inclusivity, Paris Fashion Week ranked the worst, with just 28 curve models who walked out of 4,000, according to Hayward.
Luckily, some brands bank on rejecting fashion’s troubling preference for thinness. Legacy labels like Coach and Boss have been reliably integrating plus-size inclusion into their shows. And a rising crop of designers dedicate their collections to fitting bigger bodies. Below, FASHION spotlights the labels that did body diversity right during the Spring 2024 season, and where to buy their designs.
Nobody is doing body diversity quite like Selkie. The New York-based brand has an ethereal aesthetic, and its latest runway was akin to an inclusive fairytale fantasy. Models of all sizes traipsed across the catwalk in unapologetically romantic wares, from ruffled collars to gauzy skirts to bow-adorned socks. This particular image of delicate femininity has long been associated with thinness. But with their size-inclusive babydoll dresses, Selkie champions fanciful fun for all sizes.
With its puffed shoulders and ruched sleeves, this flouncy design puts an elegant spin on the classic LBD. The tiered ruffle skirt cascades into an asymmetrical fit, thus accentuating the cinched waist statement even more. Ranging from XXS to 6X, it’s a universally flattering design that embodies what makes Selkie special: confidence.
For his Spring 2024 show, Christian Siriano gave balletcore with an edge. The designer is known for size inclusion on the runway, and this time, he served it up with blushy pinks, jet blacks, trailing ribbons and frothy tutus. There was a sense of seduction in the collection, with sheer fabrics and revealing cuts driving home the overarching sultry sentiments. Through its execution, it pushed back on two dressing dogmas: The notion that sexy exclusively equals thin, and the idea that all ballerinas look a certain way.
Textured Crepe Miniskirt
Miniskirts have been having a moment for a while, but they’re notoriously not size-inclusive. Thankfully, Siriano works to offer extended sizing, as seen on this miniskirt worn by plus-size advocate Lauren Chan, which ranges from zero to 30. With a high-waisted fit and textured material, it can be worn in warmer weather on its own or during colder months when paired with a leather jacket and tights.
Body acceptance is the cornerstone of Sinead O’Dwyer’s avant-garde work, which plays with fishnet, re-conceptualized corseting and bright colours. For her Spring 2024 collection at London Fashion Week, the emerging designer held a show at her Alma Matter, the Royal College of Art, and showed off a line of risqué collegiate clothing, from micro-mini pleated skirts to collared shirts with breast boning. This reimagined prep was championed by plus-size models, further driving home the idea that fashion traditions are meant to be broken.
White Fitted Shirt
This structured button-up is both work-appropriate and going-out-ready. Its cuffed sleeves and strong collar make it a reliable wardrobe favourite in professional realms, but with added details like subtle darted lines and curve-accentuating shape, it can be taken out to any environment. Plus, the cotton-blend poplin material promises comfortable all-day wear.
Blurring gender, aesthetic descriptors, and size restrictions, Chopova Lowena’s London Fashion Week runway was a genre-bending escape. Featuring models of various bodies (and ages), the brand presented its signature maximalist silhouettes, pattern clashing, and over-accessorizing flare. It was a surprising mishmash of skater culture and cottagecore, rejecting the notion that one style — or size — is better than another.
Multicolour Bled Miniskirt
Kaleidescopic skirts have become Chopova Lowena’s most sought-after garment, and the above item shows why. Its impossibly voluminous shape and flap pockets exude breathable comfort, while its leather detailing and buckle accents add a hardened edge. The brand works to make their products size-inclusive, with many designs offering one-size-fits-all adjustability, fitting up to a 3X.
On the last day of Milan Fashion Week, Karoline Vitto pushed back on stuffy notions of runway aspiration. Using leftover materials from Dolce & Gabbana (the brand has been hosting emerging designers in Milan for the past few seasons), Vitto introduced a catwalk of plus-size models in sultry garments.
There were mini-dresses with revealing side slashes, deconstructed gowns held together by metal links, and slinky separates showing off body parts that one tends to feel self-conscious about. With a cast of exclusively curve models, Vitto showed that inventive skin-baring fashion can, in fact, be body diverse.
Framed Hourglass Top
Featuring Vitto’s signature metal looping, this asymmetrical piece has been strategically shaped to accommodate those with fuller breasts. Designed to play with negative space and guide the eye in a curved line, the stainless steel wire acts as a refined centrepiece and has been chrome-plated for shine and durability. The result is a comfortable luxury evening top, with the rare bonus of size inclusivity.
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