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The Curvy Con and NYFW: Inching Towards Body Positivity and Inclusivity

The Curvy Con and NYFW - Inching Towards Body Positivity and Inclusivity

August 2021 Sales (LATEST)

If we are to base how women look like in fashion shows alone, we can be led to believe that everyone is thin, tall and usually pale. The reality is far from it as women come in all shapes, sizes and ethnicities, but the limiting image has persisted for years. In recent times though, fashion companies find themselves pressured to be more inclusive, especially in terms of body types. And that development has extended to the rest of the industry, including major fashion shows.

It was only a few years ago when events like the New York Fashion Week were pretty much closed off to anyone who did not fit the definition of ‘fashion elite’. Those outside the scope are pretty broad; indubitably, technology has led to fashion becoming more accessible outside the circle, and for demands from those outside straight sizing to be made louder. Today, we see the New York Fashion Week more welcoming of budding talents, indie labels, bloggers, influencers, and men and women from all walks of life and shapes. For ‘plus-sized’ (the term is problematic, but we’ll stick to it in the meantime) fashionistas, this year’s New York Fashion Week has the Curvy Con.

Curvier women are taking control

The Curvy Con, as the name implies, is a conference held specifically with plus-sized consumers in mind. It brings together fashion lovers coming from different fields to encourage embracing one’s shape by talking all things curvy and shopping for fashionable clothes that actually fit nicely. Its inclusion in the New York Fashion Week is especially meaningful because the industry has traditionally been very exclusive and limited in sizing options.

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Curvy Con is not new, having been founded in 2015, although it was just last year when it made the move to the New York Fashion Week. It was founded by bloggers Chastity Garner Valentine (@garnerstyle) and CeCe Olisa (@ceceolisa), and has grown significantly in size and influence in the years since its inauguration. This year, tickets were sold out, people were coming from all over the world, and many have signed on the waiting list. These are enough to convince the duo that they will be needing a bigger venue to cater to more designers, retailers, and most importantly, consumers. The move is also the right step towards the community taking control and holding brands and designers to higher standards.

Inclusivity and body positivity for everyone

This year’s Curvy Con featured a successful star as its keynote speaker: actress Gabourey Sidibe, best known for her performance in Precious that won her the Academy Award for Best Actress and part of the cast of Empire. Sidibe, who was a delight during her speech, made the audience laugh as well as empathize with the discrimination plus-sized women usually receive. She made the strong point that her body is just a part of her, and that she is a whole person. Many celebrities and influencers were also spotted during the event, which include Venus Williams, Lizzo, Alex LaRosa, Grisel Paula, Nia Jax, and Brie and Nikki Bella, among others. Williams, together with Lizzo and designer Tracy Reese, treated the audience to a conversation about fashion and inclusivity.

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Another big part of the event is shopping. Curvy Con invites designers and brands that offer full sizes to sell items on the venue. Many women who go beyond straight sizing often resort to online shops and retailers for their clothes, but it comes with the risk of the items being ill-fitting. Curvy Con gives attendees a chance to feel and try on the clothes before purchasing them. As sizes vary among brands, it is important for a customer to know which fits best in one preferred brand or another. This is among the many concerns that curvier women also face, pretty much the same way as the rest of the fashion-conscious market does.

Curvy Con may, first and foremost, provide a space for big, beautiful women to convene, but ultimately it is welcoming to any shopper who wants to dress just as nicely. Its founders walk the talk, providing room for fashionistas that come in different shapes and sizes. The point is that inclusivity and body positivity should be everyone’s concern.

Image credits: Getty Images, Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images for Dia&Co, AP. 

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