Body Rising: The Intersection of Clothing and Being Seen
At Rosebud Woman, part of our mission is that every woman loves her body her whole life long. Our bodies change for a variety of reasons: childbirth, hormones, illness, lifestyle, aging. In September, 2022, we hosted and sponsored a weeklong event that focused on the future of women's embodiment.
The opening panel was hosted pioneering supermodel Emme, who has been spearheading a movement in inclusive fashion and body acceptance, at design schools and in the fashion industry.
Her panel, Body Rising, is featured below, and includes:
From Emme: "Some of you might know me from the modeling world many, many years ago, about 30 years ago. I shook things up and put out a body that was not seen in mainstream. The mainstream at the time in the '90s was size zero, six foot, 5'10, 5'11 and there was no way I was going to cut myself in half, and I just said, "No, I'm just going to be who I am." Today I'm a mom of a 21 year old, and so everything that I have done in my work, whether I worked with certain clients or did not work with certain clients, was reflected through the eyes of being this mother of another young woman. I'm also the founder of the True Beauty Foundation of 501(c)(3) nonprofit with the mission of improving youth and adult mental wellness. It is a legacy project that I've worked on since 2013, and through Fashion Without Limits, a program of the True Beauty Foundation and found the Fashion Without Limits program is an inclusive fashion education. You'd think that most design schools would have forms size zero to 24 so that they can teach their students in design school on how to create for all bodies, au contraire.
When I started realizing that a lot of women were having a hard time (a hundred million strong in our country alone) finding clothes that reflected the best of who they were at business and in private in all different aspects of their life, I said, "There has to be a change. I don't know how to design, I don't know how to sew, but the concept to having inclusive fashion being taught within design schools seemed like a no-brainer."
Despite the rotten tomatoes and all the bad produce that you could throw at somebody on stage, when I announced this at Syracuse University, our first partner, a lot of parents were very upset that we were going to teach inclusive fashion, "How dare you teach my child to create for a fat person?" And I said, "Stand by." Humor is the best, "Stand by we've got this. How would you like your son or your daughter to be in many, many publications being the first university in the world that taught inclusive fashion from top to bottom?"
They were not happy at first, but boy, when they started seeing Italian Vogue and WWD and Business Insider and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, it went on and on and on. It was the most magnificent, beautiful journey.
Now, in 2022, Syracuse is teaching the inclusive fashion throughout all four years, and so the Fashion Without Limits is underneath the True Beauty Foundation and we have a wide swath of how we would like to be able to affect change and inspire people to think better of themselves and to think how they can affect the conversations around the conference room tables as mothers, as fathers, as uncles, aunts, grandparents, and so on when they say, "Oh no, we don't need to go up to a size 12 or 14."
Additionally, we have a huge waste problem, 62 billion apparel return, and so if something doesn't fit, you can't keep on going back and making something that doesn't fit, so the importance of an inclusive education for these designers coming out of design school, it is at Syracuse now, but it's going to expand around the globe. And I also want to be able to boost our economy by billions of dollars by opening the aperture for all to feel better. The days of "fashion as exclusive" have passed. We have to keep on using our voices, but this is where we're going with fashion, so this is wonderful."
From Dana: "Everybody should feel beautiful with or without their breasts."
From Renee: "Plus size women are always relegated for the most part, especially if you're oversized 24 to fast fashion, not luxury, not ethical, not sustainable, but I'm trying to change that."
From Tanya: "It's important that we can make beautiful clothing but we can also share really important messages."