Plus “Positive” Fashion

Last month Lakme Fashion Week and aLL: The Plus Size Store hosted the first ever plus-size model audition for men and women. Out of 160 participants, 10 were chosen as the final models who will be walking the ramp for The Lakmé Fashion Week Winter/ Festive 2016 from 24th to 28th August. While we have seen Lakme host the fashion shows year after year, this particular show has been made special with the help of aLL: The Plus Size Store. 

Plus Size Fashion Show
Source: Huffington Post
In recent years, the western fashion industry has been forthcoming on issues like body shaming and industry’s obsession with size. From JCPenney to Dove, many brands have raised their voice and spread awareness about the dangers of following the ‘size’ mentality. It is great to see that we are finally seeing such an initiative on the India shores supported by one of the forerunners of the Indian fashion world – Lakme Fashion Week. This is a step towards a ‘positive’ fashionable Indian society.   

We had a quick tête-à-tête with Tanvi Geetha Ravishankar, who is a part of the ten plus-sized models who’ll be walking the ramp for the fashion week. Tanvi, like many of her contemporaries, is thrilled and feels like things are changing in the Indian fashion scene. Here’s an excerpt from the interview.  
Plus Size Fashion Show
Q. How did you find about the audition ?
Tanvi: Got to know about the show a night before the auditions while browsing through Facebook. Happened to come across the post shared by the Lakme Fashion Week Page.
Q. What made you go for the audition?
Tanvi: I have always been an avid fashion lover, so would always wonder while looking at international plus sized models and ramp shows as to when something of this sort would begin on India. And on seeing this opportunity, I just had to give it a try and be a part of it.
Q. How was the experience ?
Tanvi: Firstly, I felt so amazing just being there, surrounded by so many other beautiful and confident women and men. And walking the ramp, honestly, felt really empowering. To have gotten the opportunity to walk in front of an esteemed panel of judges and show the world that we, people of size "not zero", also have it in us to be confident and stylish.
Q. How did people around you react when you told your friends, family about winning a spot in the Lakme Fashion show?
Tanvi: Their excitement was to another level. My husband and his family have always been very supportive and proud of my achievements and talents and this was another feather in my cap. My mother was extremely excited too and in a way apologized for asking me to lose weight all my My brother for the first time bought me so many chocolates, which has never happened before…like nobody every got me food items as gifts in my family but that day he was like "kha…aur kha.." haha…lol.
Q. What was your routine like before the show? How much has your life changed ?
Tanvi: Well, I am a freelancer so when there is work…there is no time to breathe and otherwise I go about doing the usual day to day chores. Now as well, honestly, nothing much has changed as the main struggle I guess I will begin post the show to find good substantial work as a plus size model in India.
Q. The fashion industry is biased towards skinny people . What are your thoughts on the way the industry works?
Tanvi: I do understand somewhere that for a designer to show off his designs, he needs a canvas that will show his work completely rather than someone whose body may cover up most of the design. But the flip-side to that also is that majority of the shoppers are not a size zero, so a more realistic approach towards apparel sizing and role models for a stylish body is required. Internationally things have changed at a large scale for this and plus size fashion is main-stream fashion there now. It’s great that India too has welcomed the same now thanks to aLL: The Plus Size Store and Lakme Fashion Week.
Q. Are there many brands that keep sizes for plus sized people? Do you think there’s a need for more store like aLL: The Plus Size Store?
Tanvi: Uhmmm…there aren’t many Indian brands that cater to plus size fashion, just a handful. Only recently have brands like Westside and Pantaloons introduced their plus size ranges into the market. But the options are limited which is absurd considering Indian women are basically curvy. The funny thing is that even the international brands like Forever21, Zara, Splash, H&M and Aeropostale haven’t introduced their Plus size collections in India. So yes…I feel there is a huge gap in the demand and supply of fashionable and trendy plus sized clothing in India.
Q. Where do you see yourself go from here? Do you want to take this up professionally?
Tanvi: I definitely am considering taking up modelling professionally but I honestly have no clue as of now as to how to go about it or the extent to which plus size models are included in Indian Fashion. Let’s hope that this show opens doors for a more inclusive, non-body-shaming society.

Hear, hear! 
We hope things are bright and cheery for Tanvi in years to come. aLL: The Plus Size Store and Lakme Fashion Week have taken the first step and here’s hoping that more fashion brands follow their bold steps. 

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