GOOD

Tim Gunn Calls The Fashion Industry A Disgrace For Excluding Plus-Size Women

“Designers, make it work”

Image via Flickr

Tim Gunn is a champion of all women—really, that’s no exaggeration. As a mentor and co-host on Project Runway, fans love Gunn for his sensitive nature and thoughtful, constructive feedback. On his spin-off series, Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style, Gunn elevated your average makeover into a tool of empowerment and a bona fide therapy session.


Most recently, Tim Gunn penned an open letter to the fashion industry via The Washington Post that eloquently explains his frustrations with size discrimination and the industry’s blatant refusal to acknowledge the majority of American women. Not one to shy away from criticism, Gunn, who was the former chief creative officer for Liz Claiborne Inc., explains how designers have failed not just plus-size women but all women who don’t adhere to very limited beauty standards as well.

He starts his letter with the fact that most American women are between a size 16 and 18, a fact that has been bolstered by a new Washington State University survey. While fashion designers have an opportunity to embrace these women and make a healthy profit in the process, Gunn says most are “dripping with disdain, lacking imagination or simply too cowardly to take a risk.” This is a huge problem considering most clothing lines only go up to a size 12, leaving out the vast majority of American women.

As Tim Gunn says (and has shown through his own extensive work in the fashion industry), the responsibility does not lie on female customers to conform their bodies to the clothes but rather on the designers to conform the clothes to evolving bodies. Proving he has more concern for the women he dresses than for his own self-preservation, Gunn even calls out his own show, Project Runway, for failing plus-size women as well. He says plus-size designer Ashley Nell Tipton’s Season 14 win “reeked of tokenism,” claiming her pastel, voluminous, sheer looks didn’t do justice to her models’ curvy bodies. “A nod toward inclusiveness is not enough,” he writes, arguing instead for comprehensive change.

As Gunn writes,

“There is no reason larger women can’t look just as fabulous as all other women. The key is the harmonious balance of silhouette, proportion and fit, regardless of size or shape. Designs need to be reconceived, not just sized up; it’s a matter of adjusting proportions. …

Based on my experience shopping with plus-size women, it’s a horribly insulting and demoralizing experience. Half the items make the body look larger, with features like ruching, box pleats and shoulder pads. Pastels and large-scale prints and crazy pattern-mixing abound, all guaranteed to make you look infantile or like a float in a parade. Adding to this travesty is a major department-store chain that makes you walk under a marquee that reads ‘WOMAN.’ What does that even imply? That a ‘woman’ is anyone larger than a 12, and everyone else is a girl? It’s mind-boggling.”

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether designers change their ways to boost female empowerment or their own profit margins—at the end of the day, the customer is always right. In Tim Gunn’s own parting words, “Designers, make it work.”

Articles
Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet

Millions of people in over 150 countries across the globe marched for lawmakers and corporations to take action to help stop climate change on Friday, September 20.

The Climate Strikes were organized by children around the world as an extension of the of the "Fridays for Future" campaign. Students have been walking out of classrooms on Fridays to speak out about political inaction surrounding the climate crisis.

"We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart," organizers say.

There's no doubt the visual images from the marches send a powerful message to those on the ground but especially those watching from around the world. GOOD's own Gabriel Reilich was on the scene for the largest of the Climate Strikes. Here are 18 of the best signs from the Climate Strike march in New York City.

Keep Reading Show less

September 20th marks the beginning of a pivotal push for the future of our planet. The Global Climate Strike will set the stage for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where more than 60 nations are expected to build upon their commitment to 2015's Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

Millions of people are expected to take part in an estimated 4,000 events across 130 countries.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Apple

When the iPhone 11 debuted on September 10, it was met with less enthusiasm than the usual iPhone release. A lot of techies are holding off purchasing the latest gadget until Apple releases a phone with 5G technology.

Major US phone carriers have yet to build out the infrastructure necessary to provide a consistent 5G experience, so Apple didn't feel it necessary to integrate the technology into its latest iPhone.

A dramatic new feature on the iPhone 11 Pro is its three camera lenses. The three lenses give users the the original wide, plus ultrawide and telephoto options.

Keep Reading Show less
Health
via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

Keep Reading Show less
Health