Of course the 60s upset the whole apple cart of fashion as it were, and put everything into new and sometimes psychedelic puzzles, but it was not only the woman of size who was affected but all women.
So why is it in the year 2011 that we still hear some of our mega-flavour-of-the-month designers both here and elsewhere around the world, say that they would NEVER design a garment for a woman who is larger than size 14? Size 14, heavens there aren't many of us who have ever been a size 14!
OK, they may be recognised around the world as the "top" designers. And they obviously have repeat clientele of small women who upgrade their wardrobes each and every season, as well as in between! But what about the other 68% of Australian women who are size 14 and above? ** (Refer to the link below on an article that appeared in the "West Australian" back in September 2010 where you'll see that some Australian designers ARE recognising the need and are meeting the challenge).
If designers of the calibre of Christian Dior (not the present day executives) and Coco Chanel (not the present day executives) were able to design clothes which translated into larger sizes WITHOUT losing their style or design, then why can't Australian designers design clothes for Australian women that will easily translate from small to large. And for that matter just where are the rest of the Australian designers hiding? Commentators and fashion pundits rave about our designers who present "original", "unique" and/or "oriental/ethnic" garments but if you really look at most of the other designs, you'll see that they are a carbon copy or a clone of what is appearing at the New York or Milan Fashion Shows as well as other shows around the world. In fact shove a bit of fabric somewhere on the body of a skeletal model, muss up her hair and send her out on the catwalk and everyone goes into raptures!
Let's not kid ourselves. The fashion industry in Australia at any rate is losing, if not has already lost, it's opportunity to take centre-stage and reap the tremendous benefits of AUSTRALIAN PLUS-SIZE FASHION. Let's use our own natural fibres; colours which truly represent this land of the Southern Cross; our own natural dyes; our own natural flora and fauna to be used as themes; create garments that are designed and made FOR the Australian climates (of which there are many), and FOR the Australian woman. Just where are the Ken Done fabrics, colours and designs for the larger size Australian woman? Where in fact are the wonderful Jenny Kee designs (for knitwear) hiding these days? (Other than in the original knitting books that you may have stacked away in your bookcase).
You can't tell me that the original and truly unique designs of these two Australians are locked in a time-warp and were only available or relevant to the years in which they first came on the scene. Their designs based on the Australian landscape, fauna and flora translated into ANY season and any decade.
As you've probably guessed, I am NOT an expert on fashion. Far from it. I'm not even a dressmaker even though there are times when I wish I were. But I do wear clothes, and I do know what I would like and I do know what I want when it comes to fashion. And in speaking with other Australian women right around the country, as well as expatriates overseas, they tend to agree with me.
So my point is this. If we can't convince our so-called "leading designers" to create fashion for us, then let us look at our indigenous dress designers. While I haven't as yet seen any creations by these wonderful designers in the marketplaces of Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane, I hope it won't be too long before we get a glimpse of what is available. Back in the 1980s there was a flurry of interest as major Australian fashion designers put indigenous textiles on display. Just look on the internet and you'll find articles on exceptional indigenous women designers, like aboriginal Lenore Dembski of Paperbark Woman, http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/hsc/paperbark/lenore.htm
We have Australian women (indigenous) of great talent; we do have Australian textiles; but where do we buy garments created by these women in the fabrics and designs and themes of their culture?
We remain optimistic!
Here also is the link from the West Australian newspaper which relates to Leona Edmiston and Collette Dinnigan vefnturing into the plus size market. Perhaps there's more to come.