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AICI Launches a New Initiative: AUTHENTIC BEAUTY unCOMPROMISED
Fashion Diversity is the hippest thing trending today. I could see that it was a viable platform when I started my Runway the Real Way fashion brunch shows In New York City in 2011 and coined the “inclusive catwalk” to major kudos from everyone in my immediate domain. I even had a theme song written that encompassed the philosophy. One Sunday, I looked in the audience of 400 brunch fanatics in Time Square at the YOTEL HOTEL and said to myself, “I bet this crowd doesn’t want to just celebrate one type of model size.” It became a mission to integrate all sizes, shapes, ages, heights, genders, ethnicities in my show. Truly a sign of the times, it has always been the image consultant’s mission and challenge to work with all people from all walks of life. I came from the wasteland (or waist-land rather!) of plus size modeling in the 80s, when the industry was still forming, and when I stopped modeling I made it my niche to specialize in the full figured fashionista. All this inclusion has gotten me right back to where I first began.
With the soft launch of Authentic Beauty uncompromised, the program that is being spearheaded by AICI and rolled out internationally, we have officially become the purveyors and supporters of real fashion for real bodies. A take off on the ABCs of AICI’s tagline – Appearance. Behavior. Communication. the ABCs of Authentic Beauty uncompromised take shape in becoming the initiator of change at the design level. ABunC is taking it to the schools where designers are first exposed to different markets and decide what their specialty will become. The design schools do not encourage students to “think big “and many don’t even have a larger sized dress form that they can work on if they were interested. And there is no curriculum or courses to address the issue and impart the knowledge for designing clothing for a bigger body. There is no guidance or motivation if they can’t learn about the discipline of plus sizes through the courses offered. According to Refinery 29, 5% of all designers in the market today feature plus. Perhaps that’s why there isn’t the kind of choice available and with no courses offered to students coming into the business, there’s no mystery as to why there are no amazing designers being instructed. Even though the statistics state that 63 million women in the United States are plus size – 14 and above. 57% of those surveyed say they can’t find any clothing they like. Is it because they haven’t looked, given up, or it simply isn’t on their collective radar?
Authentic Beauty unCompromised will seek to be the force behind change at the very fundamental core of the supply chain…the inspiration of the young design mind. Motivating the students is key and to stage a complete competition with a monetary prize and the capability of having the dress be manufactured has been a dream of mine for a few years now. Phyllis LeBrach of Sydney’s Closet approached me about pitching something to FIT and get a Design a Dress contest going with her retail online gown site awarding the cash prize and manufacturing of the winning dress.
Authentic Beauty uncompromised is a true collaboration of fashion forces and will no doubt impact the kind of change at the grass roots level that will continue to make a significant contribution for years to come and will leave a lasting legacy in the image field. For more information contact Catherine Schuller, AICI, CIP at 917-375-0731 or look on the www.aici.org website for details about this amazing initiative. Imagine we discover the next Michael Kors or Anna Scholz or Marina Rinaldi through this project? It could happen and it all started with AICI!
Catherine Schuller, AICI, CIP
Runway the Real Way
Catherine Schuller, AICI CIP