The Fast and the Full Figured

Vanessa Aguirre

Stylist Erika Kurihara walks out on London fashion week due to Canadian designer Mark Fast’s decision to use full-figured models.

In previous years, the fashion industry has been criticized for it’s use of excessively thin models, but now the world of fashion is being attacked on a larger scale.

The use of what is considered “real” women in the fashion industry adds to the growing support “plus” size women need to get in shape. The idea that young women have to fit the cookie cutter image the fashion industry and society has set for them leads to some walking down an unhealthy path to get the “runway” look.

“I love [the use of plus size models], its actually realistic compared to the use of size zero girls who are like one in a million” said Alyssa Larson, 19, a GCC child development major. “I think it will give them a more positive outlook on their bodies, to be happy with who they are…and be healthy, thats all that matters and seeing girls their own size [on the runway] will just reinforce that.”

Colleges like Glendale have thus set up workshops and health and wellness festivals to support and educate students on things they can do to stay healthy and fit, like that of the one held March 16 in Plaza Vaquero. It’s all about “keeping your shape in shape” as Tyra Banks would say.

Three weeks before his London Fashion Week debut, Fast informed his crew that size zero models weren’t the only ones gracing the runway in his clothes. Adding a little extra to his show, Fast featured both size eight and 10 models for his spring/summer 2010 line and opened the show with size eight model Hayley Morley.

Fast, whose clothing has been worn by recording artist Cassie and actress Leighton Meester, bold move caused his stylist, Erika Kurihara, to walk out nearly three days before the show. If not for stylist Daniela Agnelli and casting director Natalie Hubbarb, who worked early hours to ensure all designs were ready, the show might not have happened.

The models used were from “12 + UK” modeling agency and included, Hayley Morley, 21, a size eight, Laura Catterall, 20, a size 10, and Gwyneth Harrison, 25, who fits both a size eight and ten.

Amanda May, Fast’s managing director, blamed the walkout on “creative differences” over his choice to use plus size models.

According to Kate Lovey of, May said, “The decision to use fuller girls is something we have been talking about.” There’s an idea that only thin and slender women are able to wear Mark’s dresses and he wanted to combat that.”

She then added, “We wanted women to know they didn’t have to be a size zero to wear a Mark Fast dress. Curvier women can look even better in them.”

Fast is well known for his tight-knitted dresses and the use of fuller models was considered a stunt to some. By not using the “average” size zero models, Fast was thrown into the limelight and was the subject of many nasty comments.

“I don’t agree with the fact that slimmer models are considered ‘better’ then fuller models,” said Katherine Delgado, 18, a visual communications major and upcoming designer. “When conducting a show, you chose the models in which your vision for that line will be accurately portrayed; in this case Fast thought curvier women did just that.”

Delgado then went on to say, “It’s not about how thin you are, it’s about the clothing being show cased and the designer’s vision being executed properly.”

Fast’s decision was seen world wide as a call to action of sorts. Showing the world a different shape to fashion, he broke the barrier for other designers who hope to wander down that road.

“I honestly think magazines should advertise plus size products and be real with the world” said Michael Talamantez, 19, psychology major. “Props to Fast for taking the first step.”

Combining fashion and the real world for the first time, Fast gives hope to those curvy fashionistas who also want to rock the runway look and challenges the stereotype that you ‘have’ to be a size zero to walk the runway right in the face.