Face of Melbourne Fashion Week’s body-positive plea


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The media and fashion industries often grapple with how to refer to models who are, shall we say, less than waif-like.

“Natural” and “curvy” get thrown around like confetti, each term with its own problems. And then there’s the vexed “plus sized”.

Fashion week ends its spring fling

Changes to festival name and program reflect the rise in tran-seasonal dressing. Video courtesy Melbourne Fashion Week.

Model Stefania Ferrario, one of the four faces of Melbourne Fashion Week announced on Wednesday, has a simple solution: just call it like it is.

In her case, that’s a size 12.

“When we talk about size we shouldn’t be using terms such as plus size especially because in the fashion industry any model above a size 8 is labelled plus size… and that’s misleading because the average woman is size 12 to 14,” she said.

Ferrario, whose Instagram account includes the hashtags #dropthestigma and #droptheplus, wants the term “plus sized” to be “eradicated” from the vernacular.

“It’s damaging the minds of young girls… they should be able to see models they can relate to,” she said.

“People need to be able to relate to the models they are seeing on the runway… so they can imagine what the clothes look like on [them].”

Ferrario also wants to see more age diversity on the runway, which the festival’s organisers have promised for this year.

“Age is very important. When I get older I want to see models who are my age. There are so many brands that are unfortunately using models in their teens when their target market is women in their 30s or 40s. It’s almost criminal to be doing that.”

Ferrario said when she started modelling, at age 16 and a healthy 55 kilograms, she was told she needed to lose more weight to book commercial jobs.

“For my height [172 centimetres], I would have been well underweight if I had done that. And I was turned down by a lot of agencies,” she said.

At the launch of Melbourne Fashion Week on Wednesday, Lord Mayor Robert Doyle announced the four faces of the event: Ferrario, international model Ajak Deng, and social media stars Kristy Wu and Thomas Davenport.

This year, the City of Melbourne has dropped the “Spring” from the event’s former name to better reflect the tran-seasonal nature of Australian fashion in 2017.

Designer Yeojin Bae said the festival’s new image is “slick and gets to the point”.

“More collections are becoming tran-seasonal. I focus on dresses that can be worn all year around,” she said.

Melbourne Fashion Week will centre around the Town Hall precinct, including shows in the building’s garage for the first time.

Melbourne Fashion Week runs from September 1-8. mfw.melbourne.vic.gov.au

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