We’re all aware of the harsh reality of the ideal image of models. We see it everyday, whether we follow fashion or not. It is found between the pages of our favorite magazines, slipped into commercials on our movie nights, and posted as sidebar advertisements on our social media pages. We are constantly reminded of what the media thinks is the perfect body image: tall, contoured, with a ribcage slightly peaking through bronzed skin.
For those of us who are into fashion, we know all too well the standards that women are held to — to strive to look like the unreachable goal of Photoshopped women. The image is impossible to make real, yet the media teaches young girls that this is beauty. Most models deprive their bodies of food to satisfy judges, audiences, and the modeling industry. It’s time that more people broke the standards of this unreachable body image and put not only realistic model sizes on the runway but designed clothing lines that fit larger women.
Ashley Nell Tipton raises the bar of beauty, proving that bigger can and will be better. 2015’s Project Runway winner released a plus-size line that turned the tables, proving to judges, fans, the media, and herself — especially as a plus-size designer — that there is beauty in everyone. It just depends on the way you look at yourself and others.
Tipton is changing the views of modeling and fashion one design at a time. Not only was Tipton one of few plus-size designers to be on Project Runway, but she was the first designer to put out a full plus-size collection; and, man, did she turn heads. Tipton showed the judges that you can be a great designer and have an eye for fashion regardless of whether the waist size of a high-waisted skirt is a 0 or a 16.
Struggling with body image as a child, Tipton always strived to be bold and beautiful, to break through the social norms of beauty, to show others that it didn’t matter what they said about her because it only made her stronger. It pushed her closer to her dream of becoming a fashion designer.
“When someone tells me I can’t do something, I prove them wrong.” – Ashley Tipton
With Season 14 of Project Runway, she did just that.
Along with reminding the industry that plus-sized women exist, she proved that they are also fashionable. You better believe that every girl wants to have a pop of color in her wardrobe, to make a fashion statement with an article of clothing. Tipton creates looks with bold and bright colors, with sparkles, with flowers, with headpieces, and with slit skirts — all for sizes that the fashion industry never made them for. Everyone, no matter their size or gender, wants to reflect some part of their personality through what they wear, and Tipton is allowing that to happen with her daring and beautiful collection.
Tipton is opening a new door for not only the fashion industry but for plus-sized individuals all over the world. As the fashion industry grows more familiar with diverse body sizes, the clothing designed will become more relevant, the standards will become more realistic, and clothing will be able to be enjoyed by a community of individuals who don’t fit the original runway sizes but who have more to offer than meets the eye.
This is a big statement for Tipton, that a plus-size designer and a plus-size clothing line not only made it onto Project Runway but won Season 14. It is very eye-opening, and it’s a breath of fresh air. It’s a logical step forward, and it’s a tangible accomplishment for the industry. Tipton is giving a larger variety of people an entrance to the fashion world; she is giving others hope for body-positive feedback and creating minds that are more open to the different types of bodies that exist.
A big round of applause for Ashley Tipton.