It’s been a good year for Ashley Graham. She’s appeared on various magazine covers, like Sports Illustrated, Maxim and Cosmopolitan. She was named Woman of the Year by Glamour. She continued her advocacy for body image and body acceptance. A Barbie doll was created in her image. All this, while her 2.7 million (and counting) followers liked and commented on her Instagram. People look up to Ashley Graham. People love Ashley Graham. But fashion designers are still refusing to dress her.
In a candid Editor’s Letter for British Vogue, Editor-in-chief Alexandra Shulman revealed that while Coach was eager to dress Graham for the cover shoot, some designers flat out denied her.
“We are all very grateful to the people at Coach who, under the creative direction of Stuart Vevers, moved speedily to provide clothes for us that had to come from outside their sample range,” she wrote in the letter. “They were enthusiastic about dressing a woman who is not a standard model, but sadly there were other houses that flatly refused to lend us their clothes.”
Though she doesn’t name and shame the brands, the fact that size discrimination is still rampant is saddening. Unfortunately, this isn’t a new phenomenon. In June of this year, Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones tweeted:
It’s so funny how there are no designers wanting to help me with a premiere dress for movie. Hmmm that will change and I remember everything
— Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) June 28, 2016
While Dasha Polenco, star of Orange is the New Black, has also experienced designers unwilling to dress her curves. “I had a situation with a high-end brand the other day where I had personally invested so much money purchasing their items, and I love what they do, so I had my publicist reach out to their PR team. Their response was, ‘Oh, you’re not the sizes we have, not right now, maybe in the future,” she told Vogue.
Even the very high-profile Melissa McCarthy had a difficult time finding someone to dress her for the Academy Awards.
Shulman’s revelation comes not long after Graham shared an imagined picture of what the first plus sized Angel might look like at the Victoria’s Secret fashion show. And it looks fantastic.
In our opinion, we think designers should acknowledge that women (beautiful and talented women, at that) come in all shapes and sizes. Sure, it’s impractical to make samples in a huge range, but really, how hard it is it for a design house to find clothes that will fit a woman who’s not a size 2?
“It seems strange to me that while the rest of the world is desperate for fashion to embrace broader definitions of physical beauty,” Shulman continues, “some of our most famous fashion brands appear to be travelling in the opposite — and, in my opinion, unwise — direction.” Amen to that.