6 times fashion brands broke stereotypes on the ramp

Published: April 7, 2018
Publishing Partner


  1. Baby bumps are in fashion 

Pregnant women are told their growing bumps are beautiful time and time again, but rarely do they see this message reflected in the fashion industry.  Eckhaus Latta, a brand from designers Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta, known for showcasing diversity made headlines last year for casting a pregnant model at its New York Fashion Week Show.

Artist Maia Ruth Lee walked the ramp gracefully and proudly flaunted her baby bump.The stunning model who was wearing a mauve coloured snap-front cardigan dress, unfastened at the middle of the walk to reveal her pregnant belly.

Since the sight of a pregnant woman walking the ramp is rare, fashion aficionados were seen applauding the model as she broke the stereotype associated with a set body image. Lee’s act revealed that pregnant women have every right to be represented in the world of fashion and their bodies shouldn’t be concealed.

  1. Height doesn’t define beauty 

In 2014, the event International Dwarf Fashion Show was held in Dubai, where models who were four feet tall made a presence on the runway. The show was aimed to change the perceptions of the people and raise awareness to show that beauty can be highlighted in many forms.

It conveyed the message that in order to be a conventional model, one doesn’t need to possess the traits of being tall and slender.The fashion affair encompassed 15 models who were recruited from a plethora of countries.

In shimmering bodycon dresses and bright embellished saris, the models sashayed down an impromptu garden runway under heart-shaped arches of flowers. The runway models clad with creations designed by American Wardrobe in New York City astounded the audience with their confidence.

  1. Strength has no gender 

Pakistan Fashion Design Council (PFDC) with its wealth of experience has proved to be an ambassador of progressive thought in Pakistan for several years. With the 11th edition of PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week (PSFW) that took place from 9th to 11th March 2018 in Lahore, PFDC yet again used art and design to highlight social ills that are eating away the fabric of our society.

It is only befitting that this fashion show made history by giving a transgender (Maavia) the opportunity to walk the ramp. In a society where transgender have been reduced to begging and are denied their basic rights, this was a proud first for Pakistan. Maavia proudly spoke on behalf of her community, “It is such an honour for me to represent my community on such a prestigious platform. I know I should be nervous but I’m not. I’m so happy to finally fulfill this lifelong dream of mine.”

The fashion show launched a new segment in collaboration with the jewellery designer Reama Malik; it aimed to discover and preserve indigenous craft. Hira Ali, one of the popular designers, made a bold entrance as her models owned the ramp with posters that sported powerful messages like:  “Anything you can do, I can do bleeding”, “fight like a girl”, and “don’t touch my rights”. Additionally big shots like HSY, Misha Lakhani, Saira Shakira, Nida Azwer, Sania Maskatiya and Saira Rizwan graced the event.

  1. Resilient smiles on burnt faces 

Eight brave survivors of acid attack walked the ramp for ‘Survivors Runway’ show launched by the charity ActionAid last year. This live-streamed fashion show in London flew in men, women and a teenager from Bangladesh to put up an awe-inspiring act of defiance against perpetrators of this heinous crime.

The bright rich colours of their outfits spoke of the resilient spark that still burns in these fighters. Their stories reduced people to tears and compelled them to ponder on the abysmal human thirst for revenge. Narun Nahr, a 35 year old woman had acid thrown on her just because she refused to go home with her husband and his new wife.

Those of us who fret over a fat nose, thin lips and dark skin cannot even imagine the horror these women had to go through. Yet here they are, telling us there is inner beauty too. The attacker may have burnt their bodies and faces but these survivors take pride in their minds.

  1. Were you really calling for attention? 

Last year at the Fashion Week, the Survivors Trust show ‘Guilty Clothes’ was promoted using the lines ‘most provocative fashion show ever” and emphasising on words such as ‘erotic’ and ‘tease’. The anticipated audiences were confused when they observed that the clothes these models sported weren’t erotic at all.

The trust created this project to prove how society blindly makes an assumption that clothing provokes rape.The show conveyed a strong message that neither the clothes nor the girl wearing them should be condemned for being raped.

The models were dressed in garments which were inspired by the clothes sexual assault victims wore when attacked.  Additionally, the show ran a presentation of rape survivors who shared their personal stories and revealed their sartorial looks at the time of the incident.

Since 85% of the women facing sexual violence never contact the health centres, the show invigorated victims to overcome their fears and contact rape help centres at their earliest. It was aimed to make masses realise that only the rapist needs to be blamed for a rape not the victim. The trusts remarkable act highlighted the cause, which needs instantaneous attention in countries where rape is escalating at an alarming rate.

  1. What’s in a size? 

Lakme Fashion Week in 2018 yet again carried forward the theme of inclusiveness with the introduction of ‘Half Full Curve’ edition. It proved that plus size can be fashionable even without camouflaging the ‘trouble areas’.  Women all over the world felt empowered as these full-figured females shed the conventional floaty, shapeless yards of chiffon for structured peplums and pleats.

This unpretentious and bold presentation by Rixi and Tinka questioned various barometers of beauty. It was not just about sizes. Dusky models and octogenarians walked the ramp with a pride that questioned every individual who had told them they were too fat or too old to be models.

Plunging necklines that accentuated bosoms, silk maxis that hugged the curves beautifully and off shoulder overcoats that accentuated uplifted chins gave a new meaning to the buzzword we have relegated just for hashtags. We cannot create body positivity by paltry attempts like fixing a full-size model in an array of zero size figures and refraining from calling someone fat. Instead of fishing for euphemisms, we should realise that fat is beautiful.



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