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Dear Fashion Designers...

by Eva St. Clair April 08, 2022 2 min read

I opened my fashion design skills book to the lesson for today and saw this picture. It’s a true-to-proportion female body next to the standard used in the fashion industry for illustrations:

In sum, to draw for fashion, use Barbie.

Oh wait - even Barbie is too proportionate for fashion illustration.

So, wait - then why should we draw this way?? Who is supposed to wear these clothes? The lesson explains that:

“These conventions are inevitably linked with the use of mostly very tall and very thin models within the industry, which is in turn criticized for creating a set of unrealistic and unhealthy ideals. What these conventions add, however, is a sense of elegance, and the long limbs in particular introduce a feeling of movement and energy. Whether you choose to go along with these conventions or not is up to you, but you should understand them.”

Thanks. Yes, I understand them. I understand that this industry has restricted the meanings of “elegance and energy” to a very particular, nearly cartoonish body type - completely arbitrarily (see below) - and in so doing, has created the Voice that will not stop telling me (and most of you too, I imagine) that my body by comparison is flawed.

You know what also has a sense of elegance? Elegant people.

You know what also has a feeling of movement and energy? Energetic people in motion.

You know, fashion designers, your choosing to go along with these “conventions” limits all of us by pushing forward one body type, and that damages all of us as we only see that one body type as the “ideal”, against which we all judge ourselves and discover “flaws” that don’t exist.

But it also limits YOU, fashion designer. Try drawing people - real people you see, who are elegant, and energetic in themselves - and then try designing clothes that match their elegance and energy. See what new concepts you can create by thinking about the beautiful diversity within the human form. Would you ever restrict yourself to using just one kind of fabric, or one color, one season? Why do you restrict yourselves to drawing one kind of body?

The clothing we design should be inspired by how the human body moves, not by how it is shaped. That's why we should design for the elegance and movement of all body shapes, in all body sizes.  So that the people wearing the clothes feel more like themselves when they are in them - enhancing their inherent elegance and energy.


Eva St. Clair
Chief Creative Officer
Princess Awesome
(5'3", 160 lbs, elegant, energetic, constantly in motion)

PS. Thank you to everyone who sent in a photo! If I missed yours and you'd like me to add it, please send it to info@princess-awesome.com.

Eva St. Clair
Eva St. Clair

Eva St. Clair is a co-founder of Princess Awesome and the company's Chief Creative Officer. She and her husband are raising four kids outside of Washington, DC.

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