Making Waves In The Fashion Industry, One Local At A Time

September 12, 2017

In honor of New York Fashion Week, I decided to dive into a topic a little closer to home, both literally and figuratively. This week is also Fashion Week MN, with local events taking place throughout the Twin Cities. Not only is this an awesome and accessible way for Minnesotans to participate in the trend, but it’s a way for professionals and influencers alike to share their insights that are relevant to the local market. One of the Ponies, Emily Eaton, was included in this panel, as she has become a well-known body-positivity influencer.

I unfortunately could not attend her panel event, but was still interested in hearing her wisdom. In school, especially as a strategic communications major, I was always interested in the media’s portrayal of women and often used it as discussion piece for projects. I knew how I stood on the argument of the media’s influence, having viewed countless articles and documentaries (Miss Representation – highly recommended!) and experienced the pressure of fitting “the mold” myself — as many women do.

For those reasons, I find Emily’s confidence and mission to spread body positivity to be a true inspiration. Read on for an interview with Emily Eaton.

Tell us about the Flyover x Fashion Week MN event.

The Flyover x FWMN event was a half-day summit for influencers, brands and consumers interested in making the fashion industry more inclusive. Topics of discussion included diversity in hair, brand politics, queer style and my discussion — from body positivity to radical body love.

What did you think of the Chromat runway show at NYFW? Do you think this is an existing and/or up-and-coming trend in the fashion industry as a whole?

It’s a step in the right direction, that’s for sure; however, it’s just a start. The average size for a woman in America is 16 — so only when every runway is at least half-full of “average” women should we feel like our work is done and we are all represented. It was pretty chic that Chromat did include anti-chafing thigh bands on the runway, though.

What changes do you feel still need to be made? What successes do you see?

While the fashion world still needs to include a full range of sizes, not just size 16, they also need to bring in more trans, queer, and disabled models, as well as better representing all people of color. It’s amazing how one can feel when they see someone THEY look like on the runway being admired by all. Everyone should have that opportunity. I do feel really positive about how badly so many consumers want to see more inclusion and are active with brands on either calling them out, or supporting them when they do right. That’s the main way we as consumers can actually make a change.

What role do you feel media plays in all of this?

The media has so much to do with what we as consumers see, and once again the importance of the media either calling out a brand or supporting a brand is massive — taking a stance versus simply reporting. However, it’s up to consumers to indicate what they want to see, so most importantly, we need to use our voices to demand more diversity.

What advice do you have for individuals who are looking for self-confidence in their own style?

Put all the focus that you have in how you want to change your body and use that energy to hone in on loving yourself as you are today. It sounds pretty hokey, but it’s important to remember that you are the one who controls your happiness, and life is so much more pleasurable when you can take charge of that. And the time you save when you embrace your body as it is today — as opposed to counting calories, plugging in numbers to weight-loss apps and the like — is quite freeing.

Feeling inspired? Keep updated with Fashion Week MN, and join Emily in spreading positivity vibes and universal love. Thanks for being you, Em!