Fashion Design for All Shapes and Sizes


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by Sarah Clark
Fashion School Review Columnist

May 21, 2007


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Each year Vogue dedicates an entire issue to women's shapes, identifying clothing designs that flatter specific figures. With all this attention given to different body types, why does it seem like all clothes are made for super-thin women? And what role, if any, does fashion school play in all this?

Women of means with curves can always find great clothes--just look at Jennifer Lopez or Jessica Biel on Oscar night. Even with her boyish hips, Angelina Jolie doesn't seem to have trouble finding flattering fashion designs. But what about those of us who can't afford custom dresses tailored to our individual bodies? If you don't have the body of a swimsuit model, buying clothes can be frustrating.

Figure-Friendly Fashion Design
There are options for people with less-than-ideal figures. Stores like Lane Bryant and the Carol Little brand have long catered to women with full figures, while many department and specialty stores dedicate space to petite sizes. Yet it still seems as though most fashions are designed for people with a gym-sculpted, film star-perfect body.

Fashion School: Learn to Design for All Shapes
The idea that clothes only look good on models is a myth. So it's surprising that more designers don't focus on the female silhouette, cutting clothes that will showcase it in a traditional hourglass shape with all the techniques that flatter the female form. Fashion school students can learn tricks of the trade for fashion design that downplay physical shortcomings. You'll learn how a clothing design feature like pleats can add pounds--or how a tuck here or there can evoke a slimmer silhouette.

If you're aiming for a mainstream career post-fashion school, you might benefit from learning the basics about design that works for the everyday woman.

About the Author
Sarah Clark is a freelance writer specializing in career development and postsecondary education.

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