Body diversity on the runway (or lack thereof) inevitably comes up every fashion season: It starts with an editor taking to Twitter to call out a group of designers for not being inclusive. That’s followed by a casting director or model complaining, and then comes the industrywide panel in which we all discuss the obvious issues before suffering through the bitter cycle all over again next season.
But maybe the fashion world is finally listening. For the first time ever at New York Fashion Week, we saw a whopping 27 curvy models walk the runway. Considering the numbers seen in previous years — 12 models last September, and just 6 last February — this is a vast improvement.
Vogue cover girl Ashley Graham was the first curvy model to walk in any Michael Kors show, and, for the first time, Prabal Gurung had two curvy models — Candice Huffine and Marquita Pring — walk in his show. It’s a sign that yes, times are changing, but only two designers, Becca McCharen of Chromat and Christian Siriano, have made inclusion a priority every single season.
It’s essential to acknowledge Christian Siriano, who’s responsible for 17 of the 27 curvy models that were on the runways this season. The vast majority of designers still refuse to cast curvy women in their shows, despite the $19.9 billion plus-size market in the U.S.
Siriano has been a crucial voice for challenging industry standards on both the runway and the red carpet, so it’s no surprise that he’s leading the fight for body-inclusiveness at Fashion Week. And yes, it’s disappointing that more designers still don’t take curvy models seriously because they democratize the fashion industry and open it up to a new world of inclusivity. Click below to see all the models included, many of whom —like Iskra Lawrence, Sabina Karlsson, and Precious Lee — were featured in The Cut’s “Perfection is a moving target” series.