No Wire Hangers: Fashion of Tomorrow

Gabourney Sidibe should be the future

By E.J. Mitchell

Illustration by Keisha Cedeno

For a second, the democratization of fashion via the Internet — and the questionable tastes it unleashed on the world — warranted a bitch slap, and the fading Prada-wearing devils of the industry deserved a defense. And then some anonymous quotes from Vogue hit the wires, calling Gabourey Sidibe, the Oscar nominee from the film Precious, a “joke in the fashion community” whose weight would make it “impossible” for her to fit into top designers’ clothes.

Apart from their rudeness, insecurity, and maliciousness, these statements also indicate a lack of creativity and vision from the fashion elite. Just because Sidibe doesn’t look like a coke fiend doesn’t mean she cannot grace the cover of Vogue — the beautiful (though strangely cleavage-focused) cover with Jennifer Hudson in 2007 attests to that. But for years, Vogue sent readers one message: beauty is defined by weight. This is not only damaging, but also limiting.

If designers are truly supposed to be as creative as they claim, why the hell can’t they design clothing to fit a voluptuous girl like Sidibe? There’s something rotten in the fashion world. At the core of female self-esteem issues in our society. Sidibe is a beautiful young woman who radiates warmth when other models freeze the air. Her tears during the Oscar nomination dedications when Oprah described her journey from skipping school to “being in the same category as Meryl Streep” were the most genuine moments of the evening. Sidibe is the soul that the fashion industry is missing.

It’s time to ditch fashion’s wire hangers in favor of some human models. And let’s start with Precious herself.

illustration by Keisha Cedeno