The world’s first plus-size supermodel has revealed she and her colleagues were once banned from runway shows, as she celebrated the progress that has been made in the fashion industry in the past two decades.
Emme Aronson, 54, looked back on the early days of plus-size fashion while taking part in a New York Fashion Week panel on Friday evening.
‘Today marks the day that I have, for the first time in my life, walked in a New York Fashion Week show, for Chromat,’ Emme told the crowd at Curvy Con, a convention dedicated to plus-size clothing.
Icon: Supermodel Emme Aronson looked back on the early days of the plus-size fashion industry on Friday evening after walking on Chromat’s runway a few hours earlier
Discussion: Emme took part in a panel with (from left to right) NYFW founder Fern Mallis, Dia & Co founder Nadia Boujarwah, stylist Stacy London and model Marquita Pring
Hours before the panel, Emme walked for the swimwear, lingerie and athletic wear label in a black and blue ensemble paired with beige sandals.
The size 16 icon continued the discussion by recounting the shocking beginnings of full-figured models in the industry.
‘We were not allowed to be on the runway many years ago,’ she said before launching into an impassioned plea for diverse sizing.
‘So I want to see diversity on world press and fashion where the statement across the board, on New York Fashion Weeks, London Fashion Weeks, where we can see fashion in W magazine. Editorial coverage where we are included.’
Emme, who rose to fame as a model in the 1990s after working in television, explained how she was amazed to discover there was a spot in the industry for full-figured women—but candidly described how tough it was to get the movement going.
Knowledge: In order to encourage young designers to create clothes for women of all sizes, Emme (pictured with Pring) has worked with Syracuse University on a specific program
Back in the days: Emme (pictured in 1999) rose to fame as a model in the 1990s after working in television and was amazed to discover there was a spot in the industry for full-figured women
Reaction: Some of the fashion students she first worked with scoffed at the prospect of designing outfits for full-figured bodies, Emme (pictured left in 2002 and right in 2001) said
‘I felt like I was the windshield of the full-figured industry, where you’re going 100 miles an hour and all the bugs get stuck to it,’ she said. ‘I was proud to do that. But change has certainly come leaps and bounds.’
In order to encourage young designers to create clothes for women of all sizes, Emme has worked with Syracuse University on a specific educational program as part of its fashion course.
But as she worked to establish the new classes, some younger students scoffed at the prospect of designing outfits for full-figured bodies, Emme revealed—but she had some words of wisdom for them.
‘I got up there and I was like, “Hey, the future of fashion is right in your hands. Be quiet,” ‘ she said, laughing. ‘No, I didn’t say “Be quiet” but “Wake up, it’s really important. And believe me, I’ll bring the press, as long as you guys put your heart and soul into this program, really, truly, you have 100 million women that need these clothes. We need you. You guys are our future.” ‘