As December days start rushing past us, it's becoming more and more important to take a close and profound look at the world around us. What changed this year? What were its high? What were its lows? We know that 2014 wasn't perfect. Ferguson proved that. And we won't forget the Ebola epidemic that plagued West Africa. But it had a lot of greats, too. Just think about Malala Yousafzai winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Or #YesAllWomen going viral. These 12 months have been, if nothing else, memorable. We've just about reached the middle of one intense, bizarre, newsworthy decade, and a lot has changed from the decade before. As we inch closer and closer to the new 20s, however, there's one change in particular that I'm truly grateful for — one that I think will impact future generations of women to come. One that might make it so our next generation of girls doesn't grow up with the devastating body image issues that most women alive now will have experienced. Plus-size fashion (and the accompanying size-inclusivity and body-positivity movements that go with it) had a remarkable 2014. And its highlights are certainly worth remembering.
If you had told me as a child or adolescent that I would live to see the day a plus-size model walked a major fashion runway with world-renowned [straight-size models] at her side, or that Barbie would ever look more like me and less like an extraterrestrial mutation of the female, human form, I simply wouldn't have believed you. To look at where plus-size fashion has come since the early 2000s and before is eye-opening. It really is. And whilst I don't think we've nailed size acceptance to the degree it should be nailed, I'm so impressed by the strides that have been taken — by the inspirational human beings who are really trying to make it happen. And if 2014 was anything to go by, we can expect more great things to come for body diversity and body image come 2015. With that, let's take a moment to refresh our memories on all the amazing things that happened these past dozen months.
1. NADIA ABOULHOSN'S CALENDAR
It's not often you find someone as fearless and bold as blogger and model Nadia Aboulhosn, dress size aside. Her calendar was a testament to her sophistication, her sass and her incredibly strong eyebrow game.
2. GABIFRESH X SWIMSUITS FOR ALL: ROUND 2
This spring, one of our favorite fatshionistas collaborated with Swimsuits For All for a second time, designing a loud and wonderful bikini for plus-size babes everywhere. Gabi Gregg and Robyn Lawley also starred in S4A's recreation of a classic Sports Illustrated cover. And theirs was pretty wicked.
3. NICOLETTE MASON FOR MODCLOTH
We all love ModCloth for their passion about size-inclusivity and positive body image. And Nicolette's collaboration with the brand stayed true to these themes. Designing for all sizes, it was a retro-inspired collection for all women to enjoy.
4. TESS MUNSTER'S "DYNAMITE TESS PINUP TOUR"
Tess Munster going on tour in 2014 made a lot of dreams come true. The founder of #effyourbeautystandards even trotted the globe, landing in England to shoot with Yours Clothing along the way whilst meeting and greeting her international fans.
5. VOGUE'S "THE BEST LINGERIE COMES IN ALL SIZES" SHOOT
Featuring plus-size modeling greats like Ashley Graham, Tara Lynn and Candice Huffine, Vogue's "The Best Lingerie Comes in All Sizes" shoot was no less than spectacular. Coming from a publication we all associate with high-fashion and linear beauty, this was a pretty unforgettable moment.
6. THE ANTI-PHOTOSHOP PLEDGE
ModCloth became the first retailer to sign an "Anti-Photoshop Pledge" this year, and with that, they asked that advertisers begin taking positive steps in demonstrating real beauty and truthful imagery. Their #fashiontruth campaign is currently in full swing as well, providing a year-long open casting call for all to share their views, wants, loves and needs when it comes to fashion.
7. DENISE BIDOT WALKING NYC FASHION WEEK
When Denise Bidot walked Chromat's runway at New York Fashion Week this fall, many of us were in blissful disbelief. A plus-size model walking a straight-size runway? It couldn't be. But it was. She made history. She made a change.
8. MISSGUIDED AND BOOHOO LAUNCHED PLUS-SIZE LINES
Two of our favorite British brands jumped on the size-inclusive bandwagon and began selling plus collections: Missguided and Boohoo. And both are doing wonders in providing on-trend, affordable yet high-quality items to women sizes 12 and up.
9. GABI GREGG, TESS MUNSTER AND NADIA ABOULHOSN'S #EVERYBODYISFLAWLESS VIDEO
When Gabifresh, Tess Munster and Nadia Aboulhosn teamed up to remix Queen Bey's "Flawless," well, the world almost exploded. It was incredible. It was perfection. It made us all swoon and cry in utter glee. Their added hashtag #everyBODYisflawless spoke volumes, and made every woman who has ever felt marginalized for her figure feel just a little bit less alone.
10. MEET LAMMILY (OR "AVERAGE" BARBIE)
When Nickolay Lamm released Lammily (Average Barbie), I will admit I considered purchasing one for myself. Finally, a Barbie that represents a woman whose proportions aren't an anatomical impossibility!
11. NEW YORK'S FULLER FIGURED FASHION WEEK
Gwen DeVoe's Fuller Figured Fashion Week hit New York this year, joining events like British Plus Size Fashion Weekend and Plus North in the ranks of game-changing fashion extravaganzas. For one of our globe's fashion capitols to embrace the beauty in the fuller-figure in such an extravagant way was definitely a 2014 highlight.
12. FASHION TO FIGURE'S BLOGGER LOOKBOOK
In collaboration with bloggers and writers like Liz Black and Kelly Augustine, Fashion to Figure created a whole range of plus-size denim inspired by what actual plus-size woman want. The project was stunning, and did a whole lot in terms of offering plus gals far better denim choices. Plus, it totally embraced the vast cultural significance bloggers have in our world today, and acknowledged the greatness of said fact.
13. FATKINI MOVEMENT REIGNED STRONG
Gabi Gregg founded the #fatkini movement a couple of years ago, now. But 2014 saw the most widespread, global attention the hashtag has ever seen. The fatkini movement became, perhaps, stronger than ever. And with it, women began embracing their bodies like never before.
14. CANDICE HUFFINE WAS THE PIRELLI CALENDAR'S FIRST PLUS MODEL
Plus-size model Candice Huffine became the Pirelli Calendar's very first plus-size model. Being that the Pirelli Calendar has previously been on par with the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in terms of its size diversity (i.e. nil), this is not an occasion to forget.
15. MARY LAMBERT'S "SECRETS" VIDEO, AND HER ENTIRE EXISTENCE
We all fell in love with Mary Lambert when she teamed up with Macklemore in "Same Love." But in 2014, we saw her passion for instilling acceptance of all. Whether she's campaigning for gay rights or for positive body image and self love, she's just the kind of powerful female voice we need more of. And, side note, just look at that perfectly retro-inspired dress!
Images: Courtesy Bloggers/Brands; Instagram; Pari Dukovik for Fuller Figured Fashion Week