‘The right to be fashionable’: Models put the curve in curvalicious at Manchester’s first plus size fashion festival

Being curvy or plus size doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to fashionable clothing and brands are finally starting to understand this, according to the organiser of Manchester’s first ever Curve Fashion Festival.

Lovers of fashion from all over the country flocked to Manchester Central on Saturday, for the festival, which will be held annually.

The event featured a shopping hall stocked with plus sized brands, a fashion show of high street household names and international collections, and panel discussions.

Fans had the opportunity to meet famous faces, and plus size pioneers, such as models Tess Holliday and Hayley Hasselhoff.

The body positivity movement, which promotes confidence and self-acceptance regardless of weight or size, has been gaining popularity in recent years.

Zoe Pennick, the organiser and a plus size fashion stylist, believes this is a result of both social media and brand progression.

She said: “Brands are finally giving plus size women the fashion they deserve and through this we are able to see inspirational women like Tess Holliday, Hayley Hasselhoff, Ashley Graham and so many more at the front of these campaigns.

“This helps the media gain a better understanding of what it means to be body positive, rather than the stigma that has often been attached to plus size.

“The use of social media and bloggers means that it can move so much more quickly than it did five to ten years ago when these avenues weren’t explored so much.”

NO COMPROMISE: Mainstream brands are now giving plus size women a range of on-trend clothing to choose from

It was clear from the catwalk that curve fashion is, rightly, offering more on-trend options than ever before.

Brands such as ASOS Curve, New Look Inspire and Missguided showed collections of plus sized clothing that didn’t compromise on style, using a diverse selection of models.

But Zoe would like to see this commitment go further.

STYLE ICONS: Louise O’Reilly, Tess Holliday, Nicolette Mason, and Hayley Hasselhoff

She told MM: “It would be great to see retailers just have collections, from their straight sizes all the way through to their plus size, so there’s no separation.

“Likewise it would be great to see plus size models used in campaigns without it being a big deal or a marketing ploy.

“I remember ages ago seeing an advert from Debenhams that used plus size models and it was great as they just didn’t make a fuss, they did it and that was it.

“They made it seem like it was the norm and I love when retailers do that.”

While the body positive movement is becoming more accepted by mainstream brands and in the media, it continues to divide opinion.

Some critics suggest that providing plus size clothing encourages an unhealthy lifestyle, which is something Zoe disagrees with.

THE HOFF: Hayley Hasselhoff is an American model and actress, and daughter of Baywatch star David

She said: “You cannot understand someone’s healthiness or un-healthiness based on their shape, size or general look.

“When the average woman in the UK is a size 16 and plus size retailers often start collections at a size 14, it’s wrong to believe that all of those women are unhealthy.

“Being curvy or plus size doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to clothing and just as importantly it doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to fashionable clothing.

“The Curve Fashion Festival is all about making plus size fashion, fashionable.”

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