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An Alarming Fashion Trend Emerges on the Runway: The Disturbing Resurgence of Backslides

Now that the Fall-Winter 2023 catwalks have concluded, it is evident that one trend stood out above the rest: the lack of plus-size models. This is surprising considering the availability of five injectable medications in the US, which can be used as appetite suppressants with a prescription. Additionally, a sixth medication called Rybelsus is available in oral pill form. In the UK, two weight loss medications have been officially approved, marking the largest influx of such medications in almost a decade. Injectable treatments like Wegovy and Ozempic, both containing semaglutide, have garnered attention as secret weapons for weight loss in Hollywood. However, the scarcity of plus-size models on the runways this season has raised concerns among fashion commentators and diversity advocates. While progress had been made in recent seasons, the decline in representation has been widely criticized. The rise of weight loss drugs has made size zero attainable simply through a prescription. In contrast, there has been a decline in the number of mid and plus-size models this season, as reported by fashion search engine Tagwalk. A size inclusivity report by Vogue Business revealed that 95.6% of the looks presented were in a size US 0-4, even though 68% of American women wear a size US 14 or above. Agent Mina White, who represents plus-size and curve supermodels, expressed frustration with designers choosing not to use curved bodies this season. However, some smaller brands have continued to prioritize size diversity and inclusivity, showcasing lineups of size-diverse models. The use of standard sample sizes in the fashion industry makes it challenging to cast curve models, as it saves time and money for fashion houses to have interchangeable models. Sample sizes remain a hurdle, with some brands claiming that creating larger samples is a financial burden. Stylist Francesca Burns also highlighted the issue of sample sizes, sharing a personal experience where the clothes provided for a shoot did not fit the model. While progress is being made in terms of inclusivity in fashion campaigns, covers, and editorials, there is still a need for change on the runways. British Vogue, for example, featured plus-size models on its cover but faced criticism as the featured dresses were not available in most plus sizes. Editor-in-chief Edward Enninful expressed disappointment with the lack of body diversity on the Fall-Winter 2023 runways, emphasizing the need for more inclusive representations of womanhood.

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