Can Jennifer Hawkins Help You Find The Perfect Bikini? Not If You Aren’t A Size 8 To 16
Posted by Clem Bastow on July 29, 2008
Former Miss Universe and TV presenter Jennifer Hawkins has surprised few by taking the tried and true career route of celebrity fashion designer, launching a swimwear range in collaboration with Myer, called Cozi. At first, Hawko’s reasons for starting the line seemed promising:
Hawkins said she had kept her girlfriends in mind when designing the range and believed that the sizes and styles in the range catered for all Australian women.
Sounds good, but then, not so much:
“I’ve got a girlfriend and she’s tiny and she wanted a bit of padding in there and I’ve got another girlfriend with a really big bust and no butt and she wanted something that would make her boobs understated and her booty a bit bigger. There’s something in there for everyone.”
The swimwear range, which includes bikinis and one-pieces in a variety of colours and patterns in sizes 8 to 16, features kaftans and cover-ups and will sold exclusively in Myer stores.
I appreciate that swimwear isn’t the world’s most confidence-inspiring clothing item, but there’s something about the way Hawkins describes her line that worries me – I can see she’s going for a ‘make yourself feel beautiful’ angle, but by creating a line of bathers that shrinks and swells and pads and prods, it says, very subtly, “You aren’t beautiful until you’ve corrected all those annoying body faults with the help of my swimwear!”
And similarly, I realise that 8-16 (for our American Choristers, that’s sizes 6 to 14) is pretty much the standard Australian size range, but it would’ve been great to see a designer – and especially a celebrity one, given the increased media coverage – take a punt and make some clothes that cater to a wider range of body shapes and sizes. There are already plenty of labels making plus-size swimwear (Viva make some lovely pieces) but they remain more or less marginalised from the fashion world proper.
Inevitably discussions about plus-size fashions end up in a mud-slinging debate about whether or not it is “promoting obesity” (hello, Vogue Forums!), and I am not interested in that happening here, btw. Saying that bigger women just can’t stop eating Big Macs is as pointless, reductive and just plain wrong as suggesting that all thinner girls are “anorexic”. The simple fact is, people come in all shapes and sizes, so why don’t more fashion brands cater to this? You would think they’d want to make even more money than they already do, but it seems they’re still more concerned with excluding many possible customers.
To my knowledge Leona Edmiston is the only major Australian fashion designer who goes to sizes larger than 16 (her Summer range went to 24 on selected pieces, to much industry debate), and even then only in her online boutique.
Of course it is completely possible to be a wildly fashionable and stylish plus-size woman (which for the sake of argument and according to Australian clothing stores, seems to be anything above 14) without relying on the designers and chain-stores to provide your clothing choices.
But just once, it would’ve been nice to have a high profile designer (whether “real” or “celebrity”) come out on the side of all Australian women, rather than “all” of them.