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ANTM’s Nigel Barker Thinks Designers Should Cater to Real Women

Former model and TV personality Nigel Barker also happens to be a photojournalist, which is why he spent much of his recent Salon.com interview discussing his website and his new venture selling prints of his photographs through Art.com.

But we were more interested in his constructive criticism of the industry that helped make him rich: fashion.

It’s ironic to watch a dress on a mannequin or a model on a catwalk who’s not anything like the person that’s gonna buy it. And we buy into that. I think the true test for a designer is to send a collection of women down a catwalk, of all different sizes and shapes and colors, and say, “Look, I’m as good as I say, because look how wonderful my dresses look on you and the women who are gonna buy them.” And I’m afraid it’s never really been done.

It’s true: industry pros have discussed “plus size models” for some time, top designers occasionally include them in runway shows, and some of the world’s biggest agencies now include entire plus size divisions. But a show like the one Barker describes would get quite a bit of attention in both fashion-focused and mainstream media outlets, no? What journalist wouldn’t take that pitch?

A question for fashion publicists: what do we think of Barker’s suggestion? Would such a show amount to blockbuster PR for a major house, or would competitors call it a stunt and laugh the brand out of the club?

*Photo via Oxygen/Lorenzo Bevilaqua

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