Plus-size designer calls for greater diversity in fashion

A plus-size designer and blogger has called for greater diversity in fashion – claiming it ‘shouldn’t be a headline’ when size 14 models like Ashley Graham feature in catwalk show.

Nicolette Mason, who recently launched her own plus-size dress collection for clothing brand Addition Elle, said there has been a ‘big shift’ in fashion with more plus-size models gaining prominence but that there still needs to be more diversity ‘across the board’.

Speaking at a presentation of her range at Lord & Taylor in New York last Thursday, the 29-year-old told Daily Mail Online: ‘I think that’s the ultimate thing, there shouldn’t be a headline [that a plus size model has walked in a fashion show].’

Scroll down for video 

Proud to be plus: Blogger and designer Nicolette Mason, 29, modelling one of her own creations, says clothing brands should be more inclusive by stocking a broader range of sizes

Flowing: Nicolette, wearing a caped dress from her collection, said she tried to capture different aspects of her personality with the line for Addition Elle

Nicolette, who lives between New York and Los Angeles and is a ‘body positive’ blogger, said recent developments show how the fashion world is becoming ‘more democratic’.

She said there have been ‘a lot of amazing moments’, such as size 14 model Ashley walking in H&M’s Paris Fashion Week show last Wednesday, or the rising prominence of other plus-size models such as Denise Bidot, who has walked for Chromat, and Candice Huffine, who featured in a Sophie Theallet show, as well as the attention around the launch of Gossip singer Beth Ditto’s new plus-size clothing line last month.

She said: ‘It’s really exciting to me to see more representation on the runway, more inclusivity on the runway, I just think it’s a really exciting time in fashion right now and we have seen a big shift towards a more democratic view towards fashion, that’s a wonderful thing.’ 

Nicolette, who last year married her wife Ali, added that she believes social media has played a big part in helping recent shifts in culture. 





Bit hypocritical! Cheryl Tiegs admits she has a 37″ waist -… Is this the most PC fashion show ever? Transgender, plus…

Share this article


Progress: Plus-size model Ashley Graham, 28, pictured left, walking for H&M this week at Paris Fashion Week and Denise Bidot opening the Chromat AW15 show in New York

She said: ‘I think a big part of it, and certainly this has been my experience when it comes to a lot of advocacy that’s happening now, it really is because social media has given a platform for people of all kinds, not just people who are in power and privileged and controlling media in whatever regard they are. 

‘Social media has given a platform to everyone to say that they’re here and they’re valued and they have things that they want to deal with.’  

Although she personally knows where to find stylish plus-size clothes, having spent years finding the best stores and brands that make designs suited to curvier figures, Nicolette said she would like to see more diversity in clothing stores.

‘I think the number one thing for me is really just more options across the board. I think that as many options as there are in the straight-size fashion world there should exist in plus size fashion as well. 

‘Ultimately I would love to see less differentiation between straight and plus, it would be amazing for shopping to be an exclusive experience.’ 

Options: Nicolette shows off her new designs as she says their should be more choices for plus-size women

She said she is happy with the term ‘plus’ which she said is ‘necessary’ but she said there is still a ‘stigma’ around plus size. 

She said: ‘Right now I think having some kind of definer is just necessary, it’s a really practical thing.

‘What needs to change is the stigma associated with plus size, I think the connotation that that’s somehow negative or less than, that’s what needs to change, right now it’s just a matter of fact. 

‘I can’t go into every floor of a department store and find something, period. I’m a size 14, that’s just not going to happen right now. 

‘It would be great if down the line I could find something in my size on every floor of a department store, but until then I don’t want to waste my time looking at hundreds of racks of clothes to find the one rack that has my size, it’s a waste of people’s time.’

It is not just plus-size representation that needs transforming, according to Nicolette. She said there are ‘a lot of other issues in fashion’. 

Monochrome: Nicolette pairs her black lace design with matching ankle boots

She added: ‘There’s a huge lack of racial diversity in runway shows, that’s something that needs to be contended with too.

‘But for me, ultimately the goal is inclusivity across the board, representation across the board, visibility across the board. 

‘We should be seeing people of all sizes, not just a zero or the friendly size 12 of a plus model, we should really see all of the sizes that exist in our real world because that’s what the world looks like.

‘And visibility is a really valuable thing, to be able to see yourself in the media and see a reflection of who you are is just invaluable when it comes to self-esteem and confidence and the way that people then take care of themselves.’

It comes after veteran Sports Illustrated model Cheryl Tiegs, 68, last week apologized to Ashley, who recently became the magazine’s first swimsuit issue curvy cover model, in an open letter published online after she reportedly described as ‘unhealthy’ and accused of helping to ‘glamorize full figured women’. 

First: Ashley was the first fuller-figured woman to feature on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine

In the letter, published on Huffington Post, she also admitted to having a bigger waste than the star.

She wrote: ‘I worry about the influence that print media has on this issue and I care about the health of all Americans. If it becomes the norm, then what happens with rates of diabetes, cancer and heart disease? This has nothing to do with beauty.

‘Please accept my deepest apology if you were offended or in any way think I was referring to you. I commend you on the positive influence you have on helping women to love themselves.’

Nicolette described Cheryl’s original comments as ‘infuriating’, adding that it was tantamount to ‘concerned trolling’. 

She said: ‘I just think that when people try to bring health into a conversation about fashion they’re missing the point completely. 

‘First of all, you can’t tell someone’s health by looking at them, and it’s also not anyone’s business, so that I find really infuriating. 

‘I really appreciate the term ‘concerned trolling’ because that’s exactly what it is, you don’t actually care about that person, you’re just trying to find a way to get your prejudice in.’

Range: Nicolette, third from left, poses with models showcasing her designs at Lord & Taylor in New York 

Biker chic: Nicolette pairs one of her designs with a leather biker jacket and diamante stilettos at the presentation of her collection at Lord &Taylor on 5th Avenue

Nicolette’s seven-piece collection for spring features dresses and cardigans and is inspired by her own style. Cardigans cost $65 and come in sizes X-4X and dresses come in sizes 14-24 and range from $170-$195. 

The designs, which are available from select Lord & Taylor stores and on the Addition Elle website, include a clinched dress with a floral lace bottom, a collared shirt dress with a floral lace skirt, an off-the-shoulder dress and a black bodycon dress.

Nicolette, who studied at Parsons School of Design, in New York, said she enjoyed the design process, adding that she tried to base the dresses around different occasions.

She said: ‘It was less about a person and more about thinking about different occasions and different personality types, so they’re all definitely my style and my aesthetic but they speak to different sides of who I am.’  

Read more:

An Open Letter to Ashley Graham

Leave a Reply