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Who’s Really Driving the Thin Trend? Some Believe Consumers Want to See More Body Diversity

Image: Jennie Runk for H&M Summer 2013 / via Ford Models

Image: Jennie Runk for H&M Summer 2013 / via Ford Models

Last week, I reported on some statements Kelly Cutrone made during a conference call promoting the upcoming season of America's Next Top Model. As part of a conversation with a handful of entertainment writers, the fashion publicist and reality show judge acknowledged that "society has a hyper-emphasis on thin" and said she believed that the trend comes directly from consumers. The fashion and beauty industries, she argued, are just taking cues from the market, and that their only real objective is making money.

The remarks (which also included a critique of Dove's "Real Beauty" ad campaign) stirred up a fair amount of controversy, as some people felt that Cutrone was misrepresenting the role fashion plays in shaping consumer expectations and establishing the beauty standard. 

The online retailer Modcloth, which recently launched a new plus size category, reached out to me to respond directly: "We believe strongly that her comments are more representative of an 'old school' belief system and with the rise of technology, the fashion industry is changing rapidly." 

I spoke with the e-commerce site's Category Manager Samara Fetto, who told me that Modcloth expanded its plus size offerings specifically because the company realized there was a huge, unmet demand for more variety in sizing: "We know the plus size community has been underserved for so long, and the one thing that kept coming out was that [the plus size customer] didn't feel like she was included…we learned there was a tremendous need for plus size products." 

Modcloth cites a variety of statistics that helped inform its decision to better cater to this underserved market — more than 50% of women identify as plus size, more U.S. women report wearing a size 16 than a size 2 and 0 combined — but the most impressive numbers were gathered internally from user behavior on the site: the average order for Modcloth's plus customer is 25% higher than the average; the number of items in each order is 17% higher; the plus size customer is 66% more likely to share on social networks. 

Fetto: "She is more engaged, spending more money and buying more products."

Despite the obvious demand for plus clothing, Fetto told me that out of the 1,500 vendors the retailer typically works with, only 30 were initially prepared to produce plus garments (the number has since grown to over a 100).

Modcloth has a retro aesthetic that lends itself to a broad range of figure-flattering styles, but even more straightforward contemporary brands have seen an overwhelmingly positive response when they've shifted the focus away from straight sizes. A summer and swimwear online campaign for H&M+ featuring model Jenny Runk went viral when it showed up on the retailer's U.S. website without any copy flagging it as a 'plus' collection. 

"We think that Jenny showed our summer and swimwear garments in a very good way and we are very happy with the pictures," H&M told me via email. "At H&M we try to have a mix of models for our different campaigns throughout a season. Our aim is not to convey a certain message or show an ideal but to find a model who can illustrate our collections in an inspiring and clear way.”

Runk is represented by JAG Models, the first-ever all-sizes agency. JAG was recently founded by Gary Dakin and Jaclyn Sarka, formerly co-directors of Ford Models' plus division. 

Dakin told me that clients book plus size models "constantly now. They book models for almost every major department store including Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom, Macy's, etc. Glamour, Elle and every major publication. I believe they are doing it because the public is responding so well to diversity in fashion…The hyper thin trend is supported by all sides of the equation while being ridiculed by the same people, which is interesting to watch. The designers have trended all over the place. Gaultier, Mark Fast and others have included women of different sizes in their shows and campaigns which has been sporadic. It has been nice to see women of all sizes being included in the editorials and campaigns so I do not necessarily buy into the hyper thin thing.  If that was truly the case, would I even be here for you to ask the question?"

PreviouslyKelly Cutrone: ‘Society Has a Hyper-Emphasis On Thin and That Trend Comes From the Consumers’

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Link Buzz: Behind the Scenes at Michelle Williams’ Louis Vuitton Shoot; Kate Moss Covers Esquire

Image: Facebook/LV

Image: Facebook/LV

  • Never forget: fashion ads are made to elevate a brand and sell stuff. Unrelated: here's a "behind-the-scenes" video promoting Louis Vuitton's lovely new handbag campaign, which stars actress Michelle Williams. [Fashionologie]
  • CELEBRITY BIKINI BODY BABY YAAAA. No just kidding, the following link is 100% classy. [FabSugar]
  • Lady Gaga has a "new look" and I luv it. [BellaSugar]
  • Apparently the only place you can buy Celine bags online is, which seems fitting. [SheFinds]
  • Nicole Richie and Jessica Simpson's NBC show, Fashion Star, has been cancelled. [Earsucker]
  • Katy Perry spent three months prepping for her Vogue cover, because how else do you measure the value of a human life if not by highly airbrushed fashion magazines? [Fashionista]
  • Kate Moss covers Esquire, making this the first men's magazine she's photographed for in 17 years. [Telegraph]

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Issa and Banana Republic Set to Launch a Capsule Collection

Vogue Festival party 2013

Image: Lia Toby/

Issa is one of the most sought-after shows to get a seat at during London Fashion Week, with leading top models such as Cara Delevingne or Jourdan Dunn gracing its runways. That’s without even mentioning its high profile fans, which includes the Duchess of Cambridge herself, who opted to wear the label for her engagement portraitSo, upon hearing that Issa is set to launch a more affordable collaboration with the high street giant Banana Republic, let’s just say the fashion world was a tad excited!

The capsule collection is set to include 40 key pieces from dresses to clutches, and even an updated take on Kate Middleton’s iconic blue engagement day dress, the original having sold out almost immediately. 

Elle magazine recently caught up with Camilla Al-Fayed, Issa’s Chairwoman, about the forthcoming collaboration and she explained that together Issa and Banana Republic are the perfect fit, as both brands target feminine women who are effortlessly chic. Issa also wanted to create a timeless capsule collection yet still promote patterns with a universal appeal. It sounds like the perfect collection and we can’t wait to see it!

Dresses from the collection will start at an affordable £75, and hits stores on August 13. So, maybe go and camp out in line now, as that’s definitely going to be one heck of a queue. 


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Good News? Hudson’s Bay Snaps Up Saks for a Cool $2.9 Billion

Hudson's Bay

Huge retail news is breaking today as the Canadian store-formerly-known-as-The-Bay, Hudson's Bay, is planning to acquire U.S. retailer Saks and its 42 stores in a $2.9 billion buy-out.

The purchase of Saks caps a seven-year run of deal-making for Hudson's Bay Chief Executive Richard Baker, a longtime real estate investor who, last year, sold Zellers to Target and also attempted to take over Bloomingdales. In 2008, you may also remember Hudon's Bay scoring a deal with department store chain Lord & Taylor, however, the clothing retailer has still yet to make its move this side of the border.

Naturally, with Saks added to its portfolio, many are hoping the luxury chain will join Hudson's Bay in the snowy North, but according to news outlets, HBC "plans to keep Saks as a separate unit headquartered in New York and introduce the Saks brand in Canada through online and other formats." I'm not sure what that means other than Canada shipping and what? Pop-up shops on Queen West?

"This exciting portfolio of three iconic brands creates one of North America’s premier fashion retailers," says Baker in a press release. "This acquisition will increase our growth potential both in the U.S. and Canada, generate significant efficiencies of scale, add to our powerful real estate portfolio and deliver substantial value to our shareholders."

Value to shareholders yes, value to customers, hmmm. Hudson's Bay is quickly positioning itself as an unmatched conglomerate when it comes to clothing retail. This recent news only adds to the incestuous nature of the North American market, where profit and growth comes first. Just recently Loblaws took over Shoppers Drug Mart in a $12.4 billion deal, meaning that the end game looks as though a select handful of companies could soon monopolise certain sectors (ahem, Rogers/Bell and Chapters/Indigo anyone?). All is left now is for Hudson's Bay to drop a pretty penny on Sears and we're almost back to the 19th century monopoly enjoyed by HBC during its fur trading years.

Image via The Bay

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Suboo Ditches Floaty for In-Your-Face at Swim Week Miami



Suboo has always been one of the most fun runways to watch at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia. But now they’ve joined the bevvy of local brands taking a whole new collection to far-flung countries, showing off a less floaty and more in-your-face swimwear collection at Swim Week Miami.

We’ve already established that Miami and swimwear are a very enjoyable combination, and the setting was perfect for designer Sue di Chio’s loud statement that Suboo is no longer just a local surf brand.

Over the course of 20 different looks, Suboo moved seamlessly from bright neons and cool, cropped rashies to lady-luxe one-pieces incorporating animal prints and dramatic mesh paneling. And there were plenty of Bond girl-inspired athletic separates along the way. Can we get an encore of that graphic Tetris-like print in futuristic silver?

Fix yourself a cocktail — shaken, not stirred — and watch the high-impact video below to see the local label that’s on the up and up. 

The Buzz Latest News

The Fashion Spot’s 10 Best Articles of the Week


  1. Stars Show Off Some Hero Looks at Comic-Con International 2013 - Starlets fail to get geeky at Comic-Con; on the flipside, there were very stylish looks all around. 
  2. Gail Simmons: 5 Best American Cities for a Food Tour - The Top Chef judge talks eating and traveling. 
  3. Cocktails, Fashion and Lots of Skin: Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim Recap - "I've covered Fashion Weeks from New York to Paris to Sydney — none are as much fun as Miami Fashion Week Swim."
  4. Kelly Cutrone: ‘Society Has a Hyper-Emphasis On Thin and That Trend Comes From the Consumers’ - The fashion publicist has strong opinions, is not afraid to use them. 
  5. Remix Your Wardrobe with Celebrity DJ-Inspired Style - We’ve got everything you need to get the DJ girl look — minus the playlist.
  6. Insta-Crush: Opening Ceremony’s Too-Cool-for-School Instagram - What started as a humble little shop in NYC has since grown into a must-visit emporium of cool in cities across the world.
  7. 5 Ways to Break Out of Your Style Rut For Good - Stop grabbing the look you know 'works' and start hitting the street in looks that feel fresh and chic.
  8.  The Glam Guide to Visiting Montreal - Montreal is everything this girl could want in a weekend getaway. (Psst, don't miss the other installment we published this week: The Glam Guide to Visiting Miami)
  9. Cate Blanchett Gives a Master Class in Red Carpet Style and Other Best Dressed Celebs of the Week - Rose Byrne, Rachel Bilson and Jessica Chastain also made this week's list.


  10. Celebrity Hair Trend: The Faux Bob - Cut out the dramatics and ‘do as the celebs do, by pinning your hair into an easy faux bob.

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