This year’s Rosemount Australian Fashion Week stirred up a good deal of controversy over the exclusion of plus-size models from any of its runway shows. In response, plus-size models from the BGM agency held a protest outside of the main venue to call attention to the issue.
BGM agent Darrianne Donnelly expressed the view of the protesting models: “While the rest of the world is embracing women with curves, Australian fashion is going backwards. The public wants to see themselves, in all shapes and sizes, not just size six.”
Event organizers refused to comment on the controversy, but did note that casting decisions were the responsibility of the individual designers showcased.
It is interesting to note that the Australian government has taken steps to address body image issues, including the establishment of an advisory group comprised of industry and other experts in 2009. Among the steps taken by the group was the creation of a Voluntary Code of Conduct on Body Image, which recommends the use of “a diverse range of people that are appropriate to their target audience. When considering diversity, particular focus should be given to including a range of body shapes, sizes, and ethnicities.” Ultimately, the panel left the fashion industry to self-regulate in the matters addressed in its findings.
The absence of any plus-size models from this year’s Fashion Week has many questioning the legitimacy of the voluntary code.