Plus-Sized Runway Show: A Fashion-Week First

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Model Crystal Renn

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The old supper-sized vs. super-skinny debate is set to rear its ugly head again this week at New York Fashion Week. Organizers have announced that it will host the first plus-sized runway show in its history.

The official definition of plus-sized is U.S. dress size 14 or higher- not particularly big by most of our standards- especially considering that two thirds of American women are over size 14.

One of the show’s organizers, Nancy Le Winter, editorial director at OneStopPlus.com, said, “It’s simply about time that fashion speaks to all women.” She hailed the show as “the first time that women can look around and say ‘Oh my god I can wear that!’” “It’s fashion democracy at its best.” (See pictures of how Fashion Week models are chosen.)

With 28% of Americans being officially obese, the question of whether the promotion of the ‘plus-sized’ look is a good idea is bound to be asked. But when TIME spoke to plus-size super model Crystal Renn last year, she was very clear on the issue. On her transition from anorexic to ‘plus-sized’ and healthy she said, “Women have come so far in the past 100 years…but what holds them back is lack of confidence and self-hatred.” Talking about herself at size 0, she said “I was at the lowest level you can be.” “It was only when I accepted myself that I managed to achieve [my goals] in life and work.” (See pictures of wacky, bearded models at Berlin Fashion Week.)

-Frances Perraudin

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