Forget the usual fashion show stereotype of 6 feet tall, size 8 models. One show in Paris last week was strictly for the shorter woman: All models had to be no taller than 4 feet 4 inches.
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The innovative New York Creative Business House show has been dubbed The National Dwarf Fashion Show, and although it’s not an official Paris Fashion Week show, the fact that it took place during one of the biggest events on the fashion calendar has helped to shine a light on the enduring elitism and prejudice that exists in the modelling industry.
French association “Donnons-leur une chance” (Give them a chance) put on the show at the French Ministry of Culture and featured 15 female dwarves in glamorous outfits.
After the event, founder of The National Dwarf Fashion Show, Myriam Chalek, said: “When you look at all these fashion shows, you see tall and skinny models. I don’t see myself in them. Because being a model… it’s just showcasing clothes. So if you know how to walk the runway, you are a model.”
“So that’s what the dwarf fashion show’s about… providing this community of little women with clothing that fits them physically but also mentally, emotionally, so they can feel good about themselves,” Chalek continued. “I feel like we kind of forget what fashion is really about; it’s about self-expression.”
Which is something we should be reminded of — often. The fashion industry still has a long, long way to go before it offers a more realistic representation of its customers. Those tall, willowy models will always prevail. So the more shows we have featuring models of different size, shape, height and colour, the better.