We often have discussions about how we need to see more "real women" in fashion, media, and advertising.
But what exactly is a "real woman?"
A real woman is any living, breathing human who identifies as a woman.
Real women are tall, short — and everything in between. Real women are slender, curvy, and plus-size — and everything in between. Real women are all different races and ethnicities. Real women are assigned female at birth and transgender. Real women have different abilities and disabilities.
When we talk about wanting to see "real women" reflected back to us and when we say we want clothing available for real women of all sizes, we're simply asking for more variety.
Because the 5'10", 120-pound, size 0 model? She's most certainly real too. She's just not the only kind of real.
Fashion designer and business owner Mallorie Dunn is here for real women — all of them.
She created the fashion line SmartGlamour, which she describes as a "body positive clothing line of customizable, ethically-made pieces from XXS to 6X and beyond."
And on Feb. 19, she hosted a runway show during New York Fashion Week unlike anything the fashion world is used to seeing.
The SmartGlamour fashion show was an amazing display of real women rocking Dunn's designs.
It featured 24 models, from sizes XS to 5X, who walked the runway in front of a completely packed room.
Dunn's models, she told Upworthy, come in all sizes, shapes, heights, weights, ages, abilities, and identities. It seems that she definitely has real women covered.
While Dunn has always loved designing and making clothes, she told me the most important reason she created SmartGlamour "was to help fix how badly people, and women specifically, feel about themselves and their bodies."
Dunn explained that when we feel bad about ourselves because of the fashion industry, it's often a two-part problem.
First, it's hard to find clothes that fit well and when we don't have luck, it can wear on our self-esteem. Second, she said, "Models depict 5% of people. That leaves 95% of people feeing like they have no representation, looking around thinking, 'If don’t look like these people, clearly there’s something wrong with me.'"
While it might feel that way, it's just not true. And Dunn is doing her part to change that.
She offers customizable clothing and selects models for her website and shows that are diverse in every way. By giving women options and showing them women they can relate to, "you can really change the way people feel about themselves," Dunn added.
Take a look at more of the women who walked the runway in SmartGlamour's spring show:
The show was a hit, but are times really changing?
I asked Dunn whether she thinks we'll see big changes in the fashion and advertising industries given that there have been steps in the right direction (like the first plus-size model appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated).
"We've seen small baby steps so far. It can only continue to get better," Dunn said. When it comes to large companies, "There's no reason for them not to do it. I’m one person and I fund my own company. I seem to be able to do it. If one person can do it, I don’t see why giant companies can’t!"
Excellent point. Your move, fashion industry!