On the post where Sarai revealed her new designs, a way-out-of-line commenter (let's call her or him "Commenter X") made the following nasty remark:
"Hate saying this...but if you had put the clothes on someone slimmer they would have looked better..I understand you need to market patterns for bigger sizes but they just don't look that good on your huge models.."I think Commenter X's statement may be true . . . ON OPPOSITE DAY. The clothes look ravishing and the models are far from "huge." It strikes me as sad that Commenter X would look at these beautiful women in these beautiful designs and only be able to issue an insult.
Here's what the ever-eloquent Sarai herself had to say about the incident:
I found this upsetting on a few levels. First, if my clothes only look good on someone very thin (and I don't think that's true), then they are not well designed. Second, the two models are about a size 4/6 and 8/10. That anyone would find this "huge" seems so warped to me. Third, I think variety is beautiful and I find it so upsetting that there are people that are so hellbent on every woman's body conforming in order to be beautiful.I think it's probably pretty clear where my opinion will fall on this matter. In my interview with Sarai from last summer, I commended her for modeling her first line herself; I thought it was fantastic seeing a curvier body type on a pattern envelope. And, obviously, I've written about body image fairly often here and discussed sewing as a way to come to love my own body, which obviously does not meet the super-slim criteria that Commenter X holds for pattern models.
I'd be really interested in what you and your readers think, since you've written about this sort of thing yourself. I really worked hard to find these gorgeous models amidst a sea of sameness, and I know that many women appreciate it, but it's disheartening to hear that some people still think stick-thin is the only way to make clothes look good.
But I can also admit that there is a self-destructive part of me that's internalized the core of what Commenter X is saying (however screwed up it may be): "clothes always look better on skinny women." I've grown up in a culture that accepts that opinion as a truism, so it's not surprising that a small part of me still worries that it may be true, even as another part of me is saying, "Damn, these women look hot." So while it's obvious that this conflict of opinion exists in society in general, it surely also exists as a niggling piece of doubt in many women's individual minds.
But, for Sarai's sake, I think the most productive conversation we can have here is this: How should pattern companies choose models? Should they follow the fashion industry's lead? Should they strive for a variety of body types? Or just a more "average" body type (whatever that means)? Do pattern companies have an ethical responsibility here? Do you think using larger models helps market patterns, as Commenter X suggested? Does it help you to see designs on women who have a similar shape to you? Or do you not care either way?
Whew! So many questions. For discussion's sake, let's please keep the following in mind: it's not productive to demean any body type, whether curvy, skinny, or anything in between. And also: no body type is more "real" than another, i.e. curvy models don't necessarily represent "real women."
Can't wait to hear your thoughts, lovely readers! And don't forget to pre-order your new Colette Patterns here.