Despite being one of the world’s most successful supermodels that designers should be falling over themselves to dress, Ashley Graham recently admitted that she had to skip the 2016 Met Ball because she couldn’t find anyone to dress her.
The star doesn’t fit the industry’s standard size zero (she’s a size 18 and prefers the term “body activist” to “plus-sized”), and she told New York Magazine that designers had initially been reluctant to forge a relationship with her.
That’s all changing now as Graham’s profile continues to rise and the mainstream fashion industry is gradually catering for bigger sizes.
But it’s still important that size discrimination within the industry is still spoken about publicly so that attitudes can change even faster. Here are nine stars who’ve shared the battles they’ve had with the industry, just to wear a beautiful gown on the red carpet…
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Thousands of designers would gladly queue up to dress Queen Bey now, but she admitted that during her Destiny’s Child days, many luxury brands didn’t want to dress the band.
“Starting out in Destiny’s Child, high-end labels didn’t really want to dress four black country curvy girls, and we couldn’t afford designer dresses and couture,” the singer recalled as she accepted a fashion icon award at the 2016 CFDA Awards (via ABC News).
“My mother was rejected from every showroom in New York. But like my grandmother, she used her talent and her creativity to give her children their dreams.
“My mother and my uncle, God rest his soul, made all of our first costumes, individually sewing hundreds of crystals and pearls, putting so much passion and love into every small detail.”
Beyoncé also reminded designers that they have “the power to change perception, to inspire and empower, and to show people how to embrace their complications, and see the flaws, and the true beauty and strength that’s inside all of us.”
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend creator and actress Rachel Bloom may have a Golden Globe under her belt for her hit comedy show, but the star has admitted she still struggles to find a designer to her dress her for red carpet events.
Arriving at the 2017 Emmy Awards, Bloom revealed she ended up buying the £2,500 Gucci dress she was wearing, telling Giuliana Rancic on the E! red carpet: “I’ve said in an interview before, ‘Oh, sometimes it’s hard for places to lend me dresses because I’m not, like, a size 0,’ but also, I can afford it, so it’s okay.”
She later clarified that she had problem with the high-end designer, saying on Twitter: “To be clear: we didn’t ask Gucci to dress me because they loan to very few.
“That being said, pickings are still slim for non-sample size ladies.”
Oscar-winner Spencer spoke out about the difficulty of finding a designer to dress her for the Golden Globe Awards back in 2012, even though she was a nominee (and eventual winner) on the night.
“I’m just a short, chubby girl,” the actress told reporters at the Palm Springs Festival (via People). “https://www.elle.com/It”s hard for me to find a dress to wear to something like this. It’s a lot of pressure, I’ll tell you. No designers are coming to me.”
She eventually wore a lilac Tadashi Shoji gown (pictured), and later joked: “Maybe I should have sworn off peanut butter last year instead of this year.” Never.
The Mad Men star revealed she had trouble finding a dress for the award seasons because she’s a UK size 14.
“People have been saying some nice, wonderful things about me. Yet not one designer in town will loan me a dress,” the actress told the Daily Record.
“They only lend out a size 0 or 2. So I’m still struggling for someone to give me a darn dress. This has always been my size. I’ve worked on other shows with this same size but Mad Men celebrates it and that is nice.”
Despite feeling excluded from the fashion industry for her curvaceous figure, she added that she had never been pressured to lose weight for a role.
“I definitely think the fashion industry, and people in general, look at me more now that I’ve lost weight,” Khloé told Harper’s Bazaar US. “Even on shoots, I would never have options for clothing. There would always be this attention on Kourtney and Kim, but I was too much work for [stylists] or they had nothing in my size.
“I wasn’t even that crazy big!”
The Orange is the New Black star revealed that she’s been turned away by one of her favorite luxury brands, despite spending lots of money on the label, starring in a massive Netflix hit, and having 2.4 million followers on Instagram.
“I had a situation with a high-end brand the other day where I had personally invested so much money purchasing their items, and I love what they do, so I had my publicist reach out to their PR team. Their response was, ‘Oh, you’re not the sizes we have, not right now, maybe in the future,'” the actress told Vogue.
“Now even if they want me to [wear their designs] down the road, I will not give them the pleasure. It’s disappointing, but I try to work with up-and-coming designers who will make things for me and who will collaborate with me. People who love my curves and embrace them as much as I do.”
McCarthy may have been nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her hilarious turn in Bridesmaids, but she still couldn’t find a designer to dress her for the 2012 Academy Awards.
“Two Oscars ago [in 2012], I couldn’t find anybody to do a dress for me. I asked five or six designers—very high-level ones who make lots of dresses for people – and they all said no,” she told Redbook. She eventually walked the red carpet in a draped rose-gold dress by plus-size designer Marina Rinaldi (pictured).
The experience prompted the comedian—having previously studied clothing and textiles at the Fashion Institute of Technology—to create her own fashion line to help women “feel good about themselves.”
7. Leslie Jones
Jones lamented the lack of designers willing to dress her for the Hollywood premiere of her film Ghostbusters on Twitter.
“https://www.elle.com/It”s so funny how there are no designers wanting to help me with a premiere dress for the movie. Hmmm that will change and I remember everything,” the actress and comedian tweeted.
Christian Siriano immediately stepped forward to dress the star (in the stunning red dress pictured), and later responded on Twitter: “It shouldn’t be exceptional to work with brilliant people just because they’re not sample size.
“Congrats aren’t in order, a change is.“
The model looked sizzling in a custom gown by Bao Tranchi at lthe 2016 Oscars, but admitted that finding a dress felt like a job in itself.
“I’ve just been insanely busy—I mean first of all trying to find a dress for the Oscars, girls my size, these girls this size [gesturing to her chest], I mean it has been a whole job in itself. So I am happy tonight with my outfit,” Graham told E!‘s Giuliana Rancic on the red carpet.
Bryce Dallas Howard
The Jurassic World star revealed that she had to buy her own gown for the 2016 Golden Globes as there weren’t enough designers who could lend her one in her size.
“I like having lots of options for a size 6 [a UK size 10] as opposed to maybe one option so I always go to department stores,” the actress told E!.
She bought her metallic blue Jenny Packham gown from Neiman Marcus.
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