Melbourne Fashion Festival accused of snubbing plus-size models

Melbourne Fashion Festival accused of snubbing plus-size models

Curve models have slammed a major Australian fashion event for a ‘deliberate’ lack of size diversity on its runways.

The accusation that the Melbourne Fashion Festival (MFF) chose not to launch enough plus-size models was leveled by those on and off the catwalks.

The MFF board has made a “very clear decision not to launch models above a size 12-14”, according to the managing director of modeling agency Bella Management and the campaigner for variety of Chelsea Bonner sizes.

“There’s just no excuse this year, it was such a deliberate casting direction.

“They were shown several times with each of our models up to a size 22, and my manager in Melbourne kept asking why they wouldn’t launch any models above a size 14 and those emails went just been ignored.”

Jess Seeto, one of two plus-size models who walked in MFF’s latest fashion show, said the experience made her feel “ostracized”.

“It didn’t seem fair to me that there were only two plus-size models and two disabled models,” Ms Seeto said.

“It really sucked and I felt like I was the token ethnic fat person there and I was just there to tick a box, which didn’t feel right to me.”

According to Ms Seeto, of the cohort of around 30 models who took part in the final show, only five were “diversity models”, including curvy models and people with disabilities.

In response to questions from NCA NewsWire, MFF said it “engaged models and spokespersons from a variety of backgrounds” and that 10 of its premium leads featured curve talent.

“The festival cares deeply about accessibility, diversity and inclusion and will continue to place a strong emphasis on this as part of our programming and casting at future events,” said a doorman. word.

The festival also featured the Fabulous And Trendy (FAT) Plus-Size Runway, a dedicated run for 16-24 year old models and a plus size market.

Ms Seeto said she was in tears after her fitting for the final show, with comments about how the clothes fit her although the size 16 model was forced to try on size 12 clothes.

“I cried after the fitting because I’m really struggling and a lot of fat people feel like they don’t fit the clothes when the clothes are supposed to fit them,” she said.

“At that moment, I felt like I shouldn’t be there.”

Ms Bonner confirmed that some of the girls in her agency had left MFF fittings in tears over the comments made, but said she did not believe they were personal attacks, but rather general comments hurtful to those with larger bodies.

“(Grossophobia) corrupts the thinking of everyone involved, not just models. It corrupts stylists, casting directors, magazines for advertisers,” she said.

A spokesperson said the MFF was not aware of models leaving fittings uncomfortable and that action would have been taken had the festival been made aware.

The lack of representation throughout the festival forced one model to take a stand, Maia O’Connor wearing a shirt with the words “WHERE ARE THE FAT B*TCHS?” SIZE 10 DOESN’T COUNT! DO BETTER!” emblazoned on the back

Ms O’Connor has attended numerous shows at the MFF this year and was appalled at the lack of diversity after the body positivity movement pushed curvy models to the forefront of the fashion industry.

“What are we working for if we can only make it to one festival and all that hard work is cancelled? A group of people can sit together around a table and just decide they don’t really care,” she said.

She said she saw attendees reading her shirt; however, the majority of them “turned their backs” on the message.

“It was like there was this huge elephant in the room and I just pointed it out and everyone was trying to close their eyes,” she said.

Ms Bonner urged the MFF to take a different direction with their casting in subsequent years.

“I just hope they think deeply about their direction for next year, because it was insulting to everyone this year,” she said.

Originally published as Plus-size models rage over ‘deliberate’ snob at Melbourne Fashion Festival

Melbourne Fashion Festival accused of snubbing plus-size models

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