By Emma Wendt
Size inclusivity is growing within the fashion industry. Renowned director of the New York STATE Management curve division Susan Georget hopes that plus size fashion will become part of the norm.
The fashion industry is in the midst of a global rising plus-size phenomenon. Plus size models have been represented since the 1970s. However, it has started growing fast during the last years with the help of the “body positive movement”, which challenges the traditional fashion industry only tailored for anyone a US size 4 or under.
Today, plus-size bloggers and activists are jolting the system, as they demand clothing that is current and reflects their personality and fantasies. The language of body positivity has redefined and re-awakened fashion to being more size inclusive.
This can particularly be seen in the United States, where people are increasingly getting larger. American mainstream clothing stores such as Lane Bryant and Avenue, who have been around for a long time, represent this large plus-size segment. With this growing market, agencies are faced with an increasing demand for larger models who wear a US size 8 and up.
STATE Artist Management is amongst one of these agencies that celebrate personal beauty from all shapes and sizes. Founded in 2015, New York City – the microcosmic city for models – STATE offers an alternative modelling platform and has a wide variety of categories including Main, Direct, Classic (Age 35-50), Curve, Petites, Sports and Fitness.
Named “the little-known figure who shaped the entire plus size modelling industry” by mic.com, Susan Georget is the current director for the STATE curve division. She is responsible for the discovery and management of some of the biggest curve supermodels including Emme and Ashley Graham. She has been in the business for 30 years and has noticed the higher demand in the Big Apple for curvy models.
She shares her thoughts on how size inclusivity has grown and answers whether plus size fashion will become the new norm.
Photograph of Susan Georget, source: mic.com
On your website you call the division curvy, is this the same as plus size?
Susan: We don’t like to call it plus size anymore because it does not fit with what we do. We call it curvy. Now it is not so much about the size but more about the body shape. As long as it is not a straight up and down Twiggy look, our models range from apple shapes to pear and are anything above a size 8. The sky is the limit when it comes to sizes.
What kind of message is fashion trying to send larger women?
Susan: I don’t know that there is one God of fashion that sends out a message. I think maybe if anything it is the other way around where women are demanding more opportunities to shop in the styles they want. So clothes in different materials, colours, styles and price points. There are so many facets to the industry of fashion, which is one of the bigger changes from when I started 30 years ago. Then there were high-end and very low-end brands. Now there is more in the middle to accommodate more consumers.
Do you feel conversation surrounding plus-size fashion has evolved?
Susan: I think that the conversations are so positive. It has opened up all kinds of diversity for women and men. It is not just body shapes that are applauded, clothed and shot for magazines but different hair types, skin tones, heights and sexual orientations. All of that has stemmed from the acceptance of the body positive movement. You can’t have one thing without the other.
What does the future look like for the curve industry?
Susan: Every day someone, new designers or websites, are adding something new such as the Loft or J Crew who have created plus size collections based on current trends. It is a constant growing market because now with social media there are too many voices to quiet it. The voices are growing and the trail has been set. The path mark lights are on and there is a bigger vision for many ways to create clothes and a business for the consumer that has curves on her body. I think of all the women who have been shut out for so long by the fashion industry because they were too big. It is mind boggling because women are all curvy in one form or another. I see no end to this market as it is ever growing. The market for larger men is also growing as seen on Asos, who carries a great male plus size line.
Do you think that clothing for larger women has become more stylish?
Susan: I definitely believe that. Every time it is successful with 1 or 2 retailers, 2 or 3 more pop up because everyone then tries to forge their way. Universal standards come to mind. Asos and Mango are the brands that really get it right. They think outside the box or rather inside the box with the right materials and cuts to fill a fuller size woman. It is going back in and rethinking how clothes fit curvier women. The brands should aim to make curvy women feel special and empowered because that is really what clothes do to us.
Can plus size fashion exist as just clothes and not as statements?
Susan: I think it is one of the same things. You are going to react to it because you hardly ever see it. Fashion is supposed to be new and different and that is what curvy beautiful women represent. The curvy female body didn’t used to be such a strange thing 50 years ago. However, people react to things that are different as much as you would react to a model with short hair after being used to seeing models with long hair. Once you get used to the different then you can relax and enjoy the female form and the beauty of it. It is absolutely fantastic.
When will plus size modelling stop representing diversity and become the norm?
Susan: As long as it is different it is going to be shocking and surprising. If it is the norm then fashion will look for something else to be shocked by. But I have always said that I was hoping I would be out of a job and by that I mean I wouldn’t be the head of a curve division. I would be booking a curve model but she would be a model. The editorial curve girls would be on the editorial board, the catalogue curve girls on the catalogue board and the curve new faces on the new faces board. It is started to be like that in some agencies and I think that is the way it should be. Ofcourse, I love having my little division.