The Plus Side of Spring 2014 New York Fashion Week

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by Barbara Gonzalez, Social Justice & Fashion Columnist

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This year’s Mercedes-Benz Spring 2014 New York Fashion Week made groundbreaking history with the entrance of Eden Miller’s line, Cabiria. Though the line’s use of bold patterns and daring colors was certainly noteworthy, Miller’s collection is going down in the books for debuting pieces that assembled the first-ever plus-sized clothing line for women on the runway.

In spite of the fact that it was recently launched in April, Cabiria is making its introduction into the fashion industry not a minute too soon. When Miller met with Susan Scafidi, a representative from the Fashion Law Institute back in July, she complimented her on the dress she was wearing, unaware at that point that it was from Miller’s collection. Shortly afterwards, the Fashion Law Institute contacted her asking if she would like to feature Cabiria in New York Fashion Week.

“This is a huge milestone for legitimizing plus-size fashion, and extremely exciting for me personally,” gushes Miller, announcing the opportunity on her website.

If there is one thing that Cabiria is not, it is camera-shy. With its vibrant color scheme and intense patterns, these striking pieces do not let themselves be pushed to the back of anyone’s wardrobe. Adorned with lively floral patterns and vivid, rich hues, these dresses flatter the curves of every woman, accentuating them with very intricate cuts and silhouettes. The models chosen to walk down the runway came from very well-known agencies, such as Wilhelmina and MSA. I especially applaud Miller on her inclusivity as models of all different colors and races were featured, from Victoria Lee to Frances Cordova.

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However, after all of the positive feedback and gleaming reviews of the show as well as its line, there is still one question that begs to be answered. Why hasn’t anyone thought to do this sooner?

Although the average American woman is a size 14, the fashion world seems to shut its doors to anything above a size 6. Certain retail stores have even been accused of hiding their size 12 items from the shelves, in efforts of controlling the types of people that shop there.  There are plenty of brilliant designers who are brimming with talent and passion to create these fashion forward size 14+ lines, but many of them are on their own with little to no support.

Aimee Cheshire from Madison Plus Select declared that many fashion schools don’t even teach their designers to pattern plus sizes, saying that it is too difficult to accomplish for something that isn’t even mainstream in the fashion world. Miller herself even admits that in the beginning stages of Cabiria, she created the most successful plus-size project ever on Kickstarter in order to fund her creative, valiant efforts. Because of this, there will be very few of each size available, making the process inconsistent and ultimately decreasing the plethora of potential marketing opportunities that these types of businesses could have.  Yet promising advancements have been taken note of, as more mainstream websites such as ModCloth have had more customers report purchasing a size 16 dress than those who reported buying sizes 0 and 2 combined.

With breakthroughs such as the presence and success of Cabiria in New York Fashion Week this season, one can only hope that this will shine more light and bring support for the plus-size fashion community.

In a recent interview, Wilhelmina plus sized model Frances Cordova made a remark that defines the exact ideals that the fashion world needs to embrace.

“Women are all so different that I’m happy to represent women of my size and ethnicity,” she says. “I think we should all be represented–beauty is beauty.”

If only the rest of the fashion industry could try that ideology on for size.

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Photo Credit: cabiriastyle.com

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