Diversifying high-end fashion on the red carpet, runway

Monday, January 22, 2018 05:02PM
Sandy Kenyon reports on a growing trend in a fashion industry long-criticized for catering to a specific demographic


NEW YORK - The high-end fashion industry has long been criticized for catering to just one demographic: young, thin, and often, white. But some designers are bucking the trend and embracing diversity.

Now, it's being called the "new beauty" that is fashion for women of all ages, shapes and sizes. What began on the red carpet is a trend that has now swept onto the runway, and it reflects a dialogue that's become part of Oscar season

"How wonderful it is that our careers today can go beyond 40 years old," Nicole Kidman told the audience at The Screen Actors Guild Awards.

What's true in Hollywood has now reached New York's Fashion Avenue, where one new star model, Maye Musk, is just shy of 70 years old.

"It's whole new ballgame," said Alex Badia, who is style director at Women's Wear Daily, or WWD. He says the entire look of the runway is changing.

"In today's world, in today's economy, you need to be super inclusive, and you need to go for it," he said. "And I think it's the beginning of a revolution."

At New York City's Fashion Week next month, expect more models of color, and models of all shapes and sizes. And Badia singled out one designer for staying ahead of the curve.

"Christian Siriano is in the forefront of inclusivity," he said.

The designer came to fame on reality TV a decade ago.

"The choice to show different body types and different women on the runway was really for the customer," Siriano said. "I really wanted them to envision themselves in the clothes."

Fashion Week marks the 10th anniversary of his company, and he has embraced diversity from the beginning.

"Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah were some of the first women I dressed, so you know they have a beautiful shape," he said. "And then we did the amazing Christina Hendricks on the red carpet."

And he's still designing for her, as he showed me in his office by taking out a blank piece of paper and sketching in front of me. Siriano is an apostle for "The New Beauty," so I asked him if his fellow designers rushed to follow him?

"I think they're changing," he said. "They could be a little quicker. I think the whole industry could be a little quicker, but we're making great strides."

Siriano grew up in a house where his sister was very petite and his mother was not, which is one reason why he offers all of his clothes in sizes ranging from 2 to 26.
(Copyright ©2018 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.)
Outbrain