The ‘big’ debate: Will Indian fashion embrace body diversity

  • Masaba Gupta, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Apr 07, 2016 19:26 IST
Kim Kardashian has made the bulbous body type one of the biggest trends (

Love her or hate her, Kim Kardashian makes news. A lot of it. Recently, she created waves on Instagram when she posted a selfie in the nude. But then again, in the past, she has hardly left much to imagination.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan. She gets hated on a lot, which is never easy.

Nude selfies and debuting baby bumps in body-hugging Balmain aside, Kim Kardashian has done one more thing: she has made the bulbous body type one of the biggest trends in the recent past.

Curvy women haven’t always been unapologetic about their tiny waists and rounded hips. Being curvy myself, I would shy away from acknowledging my body until a few years ago. And then there are the occasional quotes and posts on social media saying men prefer curvy women or studies and quizzes to know ‘What kind of a body do white men/black men/beige men really like?’

To begin with, the entire debate is wrong. You cannot compare one body type to another Like Sonam Kapoor in her recent tweet rightly said, “Fat shaming or skinny shaming. It’s still body shaming! (sic).”

Thankfully though, of late, women across the world have been standing up for their bodies, of late. Big women aren’t having it, nor are the skinny ones.

Sonam Kapoor’s tweet slamming body shamers (

Reality check

Now, how does this changing trend affect the fashion world — one of the biggest champions of skinny women? Are we going to see full-bodied women on the ramp, on hoardings and ad campaigns? The answer is yes, but not really. Body diversity is a topic widely discussed and debated, even in fashion. But changing the age-old format of tall, leggy women as the ‘perfect’ canvas for designers to showcase their art may never see its end. Will there be an additional format to showcase clothing on curvy women?

Absolutely. However, it will only turn into a phenomenon once designers stop using curvy women as one-time showstoppers, just to grab more eyeballs. The way ahead The industry as a whole needs to come out and support this idea. Fashion magazines need to divide their cover stars into women ranging from skinny to curvy, all year round, and not just as a publicity stunt.

Model Ashley Graham on the cover of Sports Illustrated

Designers, too, should follow the same practice where we have a mix of models showing various styles for different body types. And models can promote and talk about women who are not really considered ideal for the ramp.

Madrid, Italy and France have banned skinny models, but that is hardly the solution. The idea is not to leave the skinny women behind and slam them for their genetics. We don’t have to pick a particular kind of body but embrace the various types there are. Fashion is meant to cater to everyone in the same way. As we focus on pricing for different strata of society, we need to follow the something-for- everyone philosophy when it comes to different body types too.

Gupta is a leading fashion designer. She tweets as @MasabaG

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