Vogue Curvy: Progress or Patronizing?


There’s something going on in the fashion world. An uprising is brewing and the Wintours and Lagerfelds on high are being forced to recognize that their body ideals are destructive and unrealistic. The people are angry (low calorie diets tend to make you cranky) and ready for change. And like so many rebellions in history, when the people start to stir the powers that be throw them a bone to try to quiet them. Enter Vogue Curvy. No, it’s not a magazine, it’s a section of Vogue Italia’s online presence found at vogue.it/en/vogue-curvy.

Vogue Curvy is devoted to … women with figures. That section leads with a video interview with Crystal Renn, who talks about how amazing life became when she decided to stop starving herself and eat salad with salmon and walnuts on it. Source: The Cut – nymag.com/daily/fashion

A quick look at the site and I found it sparsely appointed and featuring content more than two years old. Then they have the nerve to list Liz Tyler as a curvy icon! If you’re looking for inspiration for plus size fashion, Vogue Curvy will probably not be your best bet. Like most “separate but equal” efforts, these facilities are outdated and underfunded. I should mention, too, that the launch of this new mini-site is simultaneous to the launches of Vogue Black and Vogue Talents – which are devoted to black people in fashion and emerging designers, respectively. The message from the biggest fashion franchise in the world: it’s okay if you’re fat, black, or unknown, but we don’t have room for you in our stately halls.

What’s next? A “fat” section at fashion shows for anyone larger than a size 4? Will a size 6 with long legs and a good girdle be considering “passing?” Can the separate but equal routine work in the longterm? American history says the answer to that is a resounding NO.

My outlook isn’t entirely cynical. I realize that many movements start with superficial, well-intentioned-but-awful measures. Ultimately, however, we can’t rely on a franchise whose High Priestess is the likes of Anna Wintour to provide us with meaningful angles on fashion for average women. Thankfully, the blogosphere is officially on fire and there are plenty of plus & real-size fashion blogs that translate fashion Culture into advice for the average woman. Here’s a quick reading list:

Black Cat Plus
Fat Chic
The Manfattan Project
Big Girls Browse
The Budget Fashionista
Fat Girls Like Nice Clothes Too
Pretty Pear
Le Blog de Big Beauty
Fat and Fab Chic

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5 Responses to “Vogue Curvy: Progress or Patronizing?”

  1. I like the way you offer 2 sides to looking at the emergence of Vogue Curvy. It is great to see more online presence for women with curves. No one site or source can offer the true voice of plus size women or fashion. You have done a great job creating this blog post and offering an alternative, sites with a DIY aesthetic. The reading list of links of plus and real size fashion blogs are awesome places to start for a more genuine and more authentic view.

  2. Did you know that even the super-fashionable bomber jacket is available in Plus Size. Curvy is going mainstream.

  3. This is an interesting take on Vogue Curvy. I like reading a fair assessment of their site, and seeing things from this angle is cool… usually it’s just curves + Vogue = yay!

  4. Coco says:

    I am so thankful that women of all shapes and sizes actually accept themselves and embrace their uniqueness. I think that perhaps the companies need a fresh outlook on reality and need to start recognizing the beauty in TRUE women. Maybe our generation will get it through our thick skulls and make a change for the future! If I had a model /talent agency i would certainly embrace the full figured women and make a change!

  5. Michelle says:

    It is a refreshing change. Over the last couple of decades our view in the media of women has gone from good to bad. Not to long ago everyone thought people like Marilyn Monroe were who we needed to be and she struggled with her weight like the rest of us (rumors vary for her size between a size 10 to size 16 but thats still not the 0 we seem to expect today). This isn’t a huge step forward but it is a necessary step towards a healthy body image for more women.

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