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On the plus side

Who said models needed to be slim to walk down the ramp? The forthcoming winter-festive edition of the Lakmé Fashion Week is aiming to challenge status quo by hosting the first-ever plus-size model hunt in India. The domestic fashion industry appears to be slowly veering towards the belief that confidence need not be tied to one’s waist size. With this move, the industry looks poised to challenge its own notions of beauty and glamour that have been cemented over so many years. Jaspreet Chandok, vice president and head-fashion, IMG Reliance, feels it’s time the industry pushed the boundaries. “More and more people are realising that fashion needs to be ‘inclusive’. We want to push the limits of what fashion stands for and our basic aim is to just start a conversation,” he says.

The auditions have just been wrapped up and out of 160 models, 10 have been short-listed. The show is slated to happen towards the end of this month, from August 24 — 28. “We were surprised to see the turn out on the day of the auditions. During our regular auditions, just about 100 girls usually turn up, but for this show we had over 160 participants from across the country. We hope that it all evolves to a time where plus-size women look at modelling as a career. There are plus-size models in the West, who are celebrities in their own right. We want to see how the scene changes in India and hope that these models become a part of the regular model pool,” Jaspreet adds.

Designer Shilpa Chavan, better known as Little Shilpa, who was part of the judging panel for the hunt, says that she fails to understand how fashion gets the license to decide what’s more or less. “Fashion cannot be a ‘one size fits all’ entity. It’s a global movement and hence free for adaptation and experimentation, be it any size or shape. This show could not come at a better time as social media is also pushing for individualistic acceptance and confidence and body positivity is celebrated, while body shaming is slammed. For me, the fact that 160 people turned up and owned their ‘plus-size’ is empowering on its own,” she says.

This support system is the need of the hour, says Rajiv Bhasin, who is one of the ten short-listed models for the show. “I’m a businessman and have to keep travelling abroad for my ventures. I have attended fashion shows abroad and realised that plus-size fashion shows are common there and the models are highly appreciated. Auditioning for a plus-size model hunt was a different experience. In India, people assume that fashion is not for the fat,” says the 26-year-old. Rajiv continues, “I was once attending a college fest and it is a usual thing for me to dress fashionably, but students there did not shy away from taking jibes at me. Even at the plus-sized store I visit, I often see customers selecting clothes that will cover their flaws. They will always opt for full-length jeans instead of something that’ll show their thighs and calves, but with this fashion show, I feel people will be more aware about the fact that fat and fashion can go together. Let people see and know that even we can be confident and beautiful,” he says excitedly.

For 28-year-old voice artist and fashion stylist Tanvi Geeta Ravishankar, walking down the ramp was a far-fetched notion. It was only when a Facebook notification announcing the plus-size model hunt popped up on her screen a day before the auditions that she grabbed the opportunity. “I have styled models but this was the first time I was going to be on the ramp. I got to know about this a night before the auditions and decided to give it a try. I was nervous to put on those heels as I was wearing them after a long time and was very scared if I would be able to walk the ramp with the same confidence. A lot has changed in the last few years, and with social media, I think this was the best time for India to have a plus-sized fashion show. I see this as a start to a brilliant change. I’m a trained dancer and my mother would always nudge me to lose weight. But after the selections, even she is proud of me. It is very important for people to realise that fashion is not restricted to one size. It is for all. I would love to take up modelling as a full-time career but I’m not sure how vast the fashion industry is in India for models like me,” she adds.Read more at:plus size formal dresses | cheap formal dresses

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