Not many passersby would describe me as a fashionable person. And, yeah, they would be right. I cannot pinpoint the differences among varying fabrics or name more than five legendary designers or speak on this season’s hottest trends. This doesn’t mean I don’t try to look cute or dread shopping for new looks — I do love fashion. As a kid, I was an obsessed Project Runway fan, set on wedding the perpetually fierce Christian Siriano, and actively picked up issues of Vogue whenever I had the money. So, when I was given the opportunity to attend a Fashion Week event this past Friday, I jumped on the chance.
What I got into, on the other hand, was unlike any runway show I’ve seen in magazines or on TV before.
I was christened at a SmartGlamour show. Immediately upon entering the congested, energy-packed space, I was stuffed with anxieties. They could tell I knew nothing about fashion and have always struggled with the pronunciation of Hermes (Er-Mez). “Shit,” I spit at my friend as we joined the many reporters covering the event. “I should’ve worn black.” Turns out a vintage denim Looney Tunes tee doesn’t cut it as fashion anymore. Still, packs of fashionistas sported with striking looks cleared the runway as designer Mallorie Dunn, who runs the online boutique SmartGlamour, reminded attendees that the most important part of fashion is feeling confident and stunning, and to ignore all naysayers along the way.
That’s what Dunn’s work is about in the end. As a “Fashion Made Accessible” and body positive brand, SmartGlamour promotes fashion for all type of bodies, identities, and abilities. To top it all off, Dunn doesn’t even have a team, essentially creating every item by herself. See? There are no excuses for fat-shaming manufacturing brands to produce size-exclusive wear. Not one. Sorry, Chanel!
Dunn dedicated the Spring 2016 line to her absent pregnant sister, stating, “I hope her child will never have to live in a world where this show is seen as revolutionary.” Prefacing the show as one where you won’t see your typical model sashaying down the runway, but rather witness individuals with disabilities, varying sizes, and differing gender identities inhabiting a space thought to be held for one beauty standard, attendees, like myself, basked in the fantastic liveliness of a room we wished mirrored society.
The lights dim. Upbeat elevator music plays. The models begin to file out. I internally scream ‘yass‘ as each model owns their look with elegance and ease. Stretch marks, surgical scars, overlapping layers of fat, and other western-considered flaws are highlighted, pointedly sticking a middle finger to the many body negative events happening over the course of fashion week. My friend and I glance over at each other, tears practically running down our faces as we are struck to stillness by the beautiful revelry surrounding us.
It never appeared to me that there are people out there like Dunn who are dynamically destigmatizing beauty standards. She hones in on ideas of perfection and rips them to shreds. Somehow by prompting trans bodies, next to fat bodies, and behind disabled bodies, Dunn calls out those who judge a body on surface level and builds up a community of fashion’s outcasts.
SmartGlamour recently launched its ‘I’m Flattered’ campaign, which consisted of Dunn asking customers to share the negative remarks others have made about their clothing in relation to their bodies. Inviting nine loyal customers back to reclaim body-shaming statements, Dunn photographed each while promoting the spread of the hashtag #ImFlattered, triggering a worldwide call to arms to stop the targeted hate and regulation on western beauty defiant bodies.
Since launching in the beginning of 2014 with the help of an Indiegogo, SmartGlamour is helping make the BoPo movement more inclusive than it has ever been before. With rightfully aggressive mantras including “Fuck Flattering” going viral, it finally seems like the majority of society is aligning with Dunn in hopes that no child will grow up thinking that embracing your bodily disposition is a radical notion. And I think we can all agree it’s about time.