Empowerment

Fat at Fashion Week? Diversity champion Kellie Brown is excited for your future

Fashion blogger and diversity champion Kellie Brown, living it up during New York Fashion Week, after launching her #fatatfashionweek hashtag. (Instagram/ itsmekellieb)

While plus size and curvy women are increasingly getting their place on the runway, they’re generally not given the same recognition in the wider scene at New York Fashion Week (NYFW). So, rather than wait around to be noticed and appreciated by street-style photographers, fashion blogger Kellie Brown took matters into her own hands, creating the #fatatfashionweek hashtag — at once highlighting all the great plus-size fashion contributors at the event, and also creating a community.

“Fashion Week rolls around and each season there are so few of us [plus-size women] being captured by street-style photographers, and in some ways, acknowledged at all,” she writes in a piece for the Good Morning America website. “When media outlets were asked why there wasn’t diversity in their photos, the response was that they weren’t seeing larger women or women of color. Perhaps it’s because we are so often ignored.”

Brown says that on the second day of NYFW she attended a brunch hosted by a plus-size luxury retailer, along with “curvy and/or plus-size women from powerhouse publications like Teen Vogue and Allure attending, as well as stylists, influencers and more” and wondered, “How could outlets be saying that [plus-size women] aren’t at Fashion Week?”

A hashtag was born.

“I’m starting a new hashtag #fatatfashionweek. We are here, we work in this industry, we get it, we are leaders and consumers,” she shared in an Instagram post. “I started day 2 at (the most yum) breakfast with @11honore So excited for the brand to delve even deeper into size inclusivity! They are hard at work so those of us who love luxury have much to look forward to.”

In another post, Brown expresses her excitement about the diversity of a NYFW show. “Even in an industry with often narrow views of beauty, the number of wildly fine and impeccably dressed bigger bodies I see walking around this fashion week have me excited and hopeful for the future of fashion. Loved every second of the @chromat show last night – one of the most diverse I’ve ever seen!” (Chromat describe their swimwear and athletic lines as “designed for powerful women, femmes and non-binary #ChromatBABES.”)

Brown’s highlights of #fatatfashionweek have included being named among Essence magazine’s 25 most stylish women, and being honored with a Street Style award alongside singer Kelis, as well as inclusiveness of “models of diverse shapes, sizes and races … as well as people with disabilities and gender non-conforming models” on the Chromat runway and at the Teen Vogue Body Party.

Brown’s blog ‘And I Get Dressed‘ has been celebrating self-love and fashion since 2011, but it’s only now she is beginning to see diversity being embraced in the fashion world. “The word “fat” can be polarizing for some, but most of the women in my life use it because we like to take the shame out of a body type,” Brown says.

With fashion weeks scheduled around the world, she hopes the hashtag — and all the empowerment it brings — will go global.

Read the full story at Good Morning America.

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