I know, I know. I promised I was going to be all on top of things this season. I’ve just found that I’ve been wanting to blog more about other subjects lately so most of my blogging efforts have been going elsewhere.
Anyways, this will be a mega-super-update (see the three posts below) with a spicy little rant on top about this week’s episode.
Episode 6: Fix my Friend
Ohhhh. The dreaded makeover challenge! The dreaded ‘real woman’ challenge! Every designer’s nightmare! Oh the horror! They’re not model-sized! What can possibly I do with this fat frumpy client!!
I actually thought that the producers found a much better way of getting around the whole “designers pick the thin clients first until all that’s left is the fat ones” problem of previous seasons. Randomly assigning them and not even allowing the designers to see their client until the workroom was an excellent solution – except of course for the problem of Ven being a complete an utter ASS and totally insensitive to his client. Regardless of her size, any girl getting a makeover is going to have some insecurities that need to be handled deftly.
I’m sure the Internet is already exploding with outrage over Ven and his attitude. I am very tempted to raise my own voice and tear him down for his words and actions too, but I’m going to take a different tactic here.
I’m in NO WAY defending Ven’s statements when I say this, but the ‘problem’ of designing for real woman sizes in the fashion industry is not limited to Ven or any one designer. It’s a problem with the entire industry. How many times have you walked into a department store or really ANY store and seen even a mannequin that reflects your proportions? Clothes, in general, are designed to look good on that one size and shape. As soon as you pull that cute dress or skirt or top off the rack in a larger size, the proportions are lost and nothing will make you look like that mannequin, whether you’re a size 8 or 12 or 24. Its pretty basic people – the only people who look good in model-sized clothes are duh, models.
There are plenty of arguments for why this is: samples are sewn in small sizes to use the least amount of fabric, blah blah blah. Basically they are designing clothes that look good on a hanger – a human hanger called a model – that provides no real shape that will affect or change the silhouette that the designer has in mind.
You know what would be a really great challenge? Have all the designers design something for the SAME CLIENT who is of normal proportions or plus-sized proportions. Then you’d really see what each of them is capable of. It’s fine and dandy to say that you understand silhouette and proportion and design and construction when you basically don’t have to deal with any kind of real shape underneath the clothes. Put a little booty under there, a large bust, a pear or hourglass shape, a boxy shape, some muscular shoulders and that’s when the real designers are going to shine.
What shocks me more than anything in this episode is not Ven’s comments. If you’re an asshole, you’re going to say asshole things. What I’m surprised by is that NONE of the female designers said anything to him. There are some very strong women in that room. They all commented about his actions in interviews…but NONE of them confronted him about it. None of them said what needed to be said. Finally, his client’s friend said something to him but I feel like the other designers (male and female) kind of had a responsibility to take him to task for it.
This is a bit of a tangent, but one of the biggest problems with feminism in our modern era is that so many young women seem to think that they aren’t feminists at all…or that its somehow a dirty word.
I have, on countless occasions, witnessed firsthand a classroom of women in a university openly declare that they are NOT feminists. Um, hello? You are taking classes in a UNIVERSITY. Do you believe you have a right to be there? Then you are a feminist. Full Stop.
Despite what the propagandists of the 70’s and 80’s would have you believe, feminism is NOT about hating men, or advocating that we deserve more than they do. It’s about equality. It’s about fair treatment regardless of gender. It’s about realistic representation of women. It’s about freedom regarding our bodies, our choices and our lifestyles. And when we stop standing up for those rights, which are basic and kind of laughable that we have to fight for in the first place, we are doing ourselves a disservice.
Every time someone tells a joke about a girl needing to eat a sandwich (or alternatively to eat a salad), every time someone tells a rape joke (or justifies rape), every time someone says something sexist or demeaning to ANY other gender or culture, its our responsibility to say something. That is the only way things are going to change. That’s the only reason things DID change. I applaud the other designers for treating their clients more humanely than Ven did, but I shake my head at them for not making him accountable for his actions. In the preview for next episode, Ven issues another decree about how “men make better designers than women.” Speak up designers! Make your voices heard beyond the interview room and put them right in his face where he can’t defend himself.
The judges too, had an opportunity to make a statement about acceptable behaviour towards women and clients in general and although they teased around it (“One, OR MORE OF YOU, will be out.”) they didn’t follow through. Ven is safe to wage his reign of misogynistic crap another day. Nathan, the human being, was eliminated instead.