The fashion world is a fickle one and full of the beautiful people. Too big, too small, too short, too tall. The debate never seems to end, and it’s rarely about the clothes, but the bodies in them.
High heels and high chairs
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So I was very surprised to see local designer Maiocchi, who makes beautiful clothes for all shapes and sizes, was the target of some negative social media on the size, age and shape of models in the label’s seasonal campaign shoots in August this year.
During the two-day Facebook debate, which flared up over the unwitting posting of photographs from a model casting for the label’s upcoming Winter shoot on their Instagram and Facebook page, customers shared many varied but all incredibly strong opinions about the fashion-beauty debate relating to the size, shape and age of models used in the brand’s fashion campaigns. The label was slammed for the use of young, size 8 models in marketing to an audience that customers felt was targeted to a more mature demographic (like me).
Most of the women commenting believed that Maiocchi customers were a group of women that more closer resembled the ‘average’ size Australian women, currently a size 14. Maiocchi responded with an honest, impassioned and detailed response on their blog explaining the business reasons for why the company makes samples in size 8, and subsequently shoots magazine campaigns with size 8 models. They also discussed the commercial realities of the size range they produce, the quantities needed to make a profit and the reason why Maiocchi makes clothes in size 6 – 18 exclusively.
While this honesty and transparency with its customers ended the debate and brought Maiocchi positive press-coverage in its handling of the affair in local Brisbane media, the matter remained unresolved for Maiocchi from a customer-relationship point-of-view. Maiocchi has always championed the femininity of women, their varied shapes and has always strived to create fashion that can be worn on any size woman.
“After the Facebook episode, I really wanted to do something for our customers that demonstrated, through our actions, that we received their feedback and understood their frustrations with representations of beauty in the fashion industry,” said Deanne Mayocchi, Director and Designer of Maiocchi for over 10 years.
“It wasn’t enough that we resolved the argument online, we wanted to make a statement that we agreed with them, and that we care about this issue too.”
“Some of the feedback we received from our customers was that they felt we weren’t brave enough to challenge the standards of the fashion industry. It became a matter of personal pride that Maiocchi would take the chance to photograph a range of shapes, sizes and ages and run a campaign that truly represented the physical beauty in all its variety, of our customer base.”
Hello Beautiful was born with models sourced from five customers and Facebook Fans.
As a fan of the brand, I wanted to show the final images to you, and applaud Maiocchi for turning a negative into a positive. But on a personal note, I can’t wait for the day that we actually asses clothes for clothes, and not for the body wearing them.