I'm so excited to share with you about my recent trip to NYC where I was asked to present at Parsons New School of Design about Plus-Size and Fat Fashion at their Every/ Bodies event. An overview of my presentation is just after the program.
Well, overall it was AMAZING!!! I love NYC and it was extra special because I got to meet with a former student and connect with other professionals who are passionate about body diversity and equality in the fashion industry.
The event was amazing! Here's the program:
PANEL 1: APPROACH FOR EVERY/BODIES: STIGMA, BODY POSITIVITY AND FASHION
5:30- 6:30 p.m
Yoni Doyeon Yu- Designer (Parsons BFA Fashion Design senior student)
Tamara Oyola-Santiago (Director, Community Health, Wellness and Health Promotion, The New School University)
Moderator: Aliana Aires (Ph.D. Visiting Scholar/ Researcher)
BREAK 6:30-7:00 p.m Informal discussions (Beverages and snacks will be served)
PANEL 2: DESIGN METHODOLOGIES FOR EVERY/BODIES: EDUCATION AND PRACTICES
7:00- 8:30 p.m.
Dr Deborah A Christel (THAT'S ME!) (Assistant Professor, Department of Apparel Merchandising, Design and Textiles, Washington State University)
Greta Valigi- Designer (Lane Bryant/ Parsons BFA Fashion Design alumni, 2014)
John Paul Rangel (Design Director, Full Beauty Brands)
Tianjiao Hayley Qu- Designer (Parsons BFA Fashion Design alumni - Winner of the BFA in Fashion Design Social Innovation Award, 2017)
Moderator: Fiona Dieffenbacher (BFA Fashion Design Program Director: Collection and Product). This event was organized by Parsons School of Fashion Research, Scholarship and Creative Practice Committee.
Here is a summary of my Parsons presentation! I talked about how we (as fashion educators and fashion designers) need to focus on 5 principles in order to create body diversity within the fashion industry. The presentation was based on a manuscript that I had published in 2018
Fat fashion: Fattening pedagogy in apparel design. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/320970922_Fat_fashion_Fattening_pedagogy_in_apparel_design [accessed May 17 2018].
Teacher / Student relationship: Teacher is a role model and should be empathetic to all individuals.
2. Critical Reflection
We cannot design or teach from a place of bias. It is important to read about the following topics and to spend time critically reflecting on these.
Designers and Teachers must declare a “Diversity and Etiquette” Statement for their teaching and designing spaces. If we want to create spaces that are inclusive and safe for people of all shapes and sizes, we must set an expectation of what is and isn’t allowed in our spaces (classroom or office).
Here is the statement I used in my classroom - feel free to use it if it feels right to you!
No body talk is allowed in our classroom. Although we work very closely with human bodies, our classroom does not allow any comments regarding good or bad figures, shapes, colors, heights, weights or sizes. In this classroom we recognize and appreciate that all bodies are unique in shape and size. There is no ideal standard for a human figure. We are learning to become designers and it is designers’ job to adorn the human figure, not judge or critique it. As future designers, we understand that all humans deserve equal access to fashionable, comfortable and affordable clothing regardless of body shape or size. Please feel free to come to my office hours to discuss any of these statements.
(copied from) Fat fashion: Fattening pedagogy in apparel design. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/320970922_Fat_fashion_Fattening_pedagogy_in_apparel_design [accessed May 17 2018].
It's also important to bring fat people into your space and ask them what language they would like designers to use when working with them (fat, plus-size, curvy, thick). To break down the superiority and elitism with thinness, students / future designers need to hear fat people talk about their experiences.
4. Environment & Equipment
Challenge each other to look for the ways fat bodies are oppressed:
7. Illustrations must include fat figures!
Look for structural ways to incorporate concepts while working within course requirements or design goals at work. Exposing students and colleagues to alternative perspectives allows them to make connections between what they are learning and broader social implications.
Comments will be approved before showing up.
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