June 16, 2024


Everyday Fashion

Inside Fashion’s Size-Inclusivity Revolution by Gianluca Russo


Gianluca Russo. Chicago Review, $28.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-64160-642-4

Nylon columnist Russo debuts with an illuminating chronicle of the fight to make fashion more inclusive for plus-size people. He begins with Lena Himmelstein opening the first Lane Bryant store in 1904 and covers the formation of the fat acceptance movement in the 1960s through to the age of social media, which created new opportunities for plus-size women to connect with audiences and to find modeling work. The author describes recent episodes in the push for inclusivity, including how Michael Jackson’s death nearly torpedoed the first Full Figured Fashion Week, anti-fat remarks by the chief marketing officer of Victoria’s Secret sparked a backlash against the brand’s unrealistic beauty standards, and a viral open letter to Target led the retailer to carry more plus-size clothing. In roundtable interviews, advocates such as fashion blogger Kellie Brown and models Iskra Lawrence and Yumi Nu tell how they became interested in fashion and discuss their efforts to change the industry. Russo excels at weaving disparate events across the past several decades into a convincing narrative that traces the activism and halting but meaningful progress of the plus-size fashion movement. Fashionistas will be delighted. (Aug.)


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