Plus size fashion turned a corner in the 90s when the fashion industry recognized the dire need and huge revenue potential of full figure clothing. And with the rise of full figure fashion came the first ever plus size supermodel. Her name was Emme. She quickly became the face of plus size modeling and was then donned the ultimate industry title, supermodel.
Emme’s fame took her to many new heights that plus size women had not yet reached. She broke barriers in the fashion industry, but more importantly in the general consciousness of the country and the world. She was named one of People Magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People,” and was Glamour Magazine’s “Woman of the Year in 1997. That same year Ladies’ Home Journal called Emme one of their “Most Fascinating Women of the Year,” and two years later named her as one of the “Most Important Women in America.” She was also the first ever plus size woman to earn a contract from a major cosmetics company when she became a spokesmodel for Revlon in 1998.
At the time, Emme represented “every woman” in a way that had never been publicly recognized as beautiful before. She showed women everywhere that size doesn’t dictate beauty; fashion is not restricted by numbers on a tag; and the importance of self-esteem and a positive body image.
And now, Emme is back! After writing several books, designing a sportswear clothing line and overcoming cancer, Emme is returning to the modeling and plus size fashion industry. She recently signed with Muse Models, but her bigger venture may be as a catalyst in the full figure fashion industry.
Like most full figure women, Emme struggles to find stylish clothes in her size. But unlike others in her position, Emme has a bit of clout to do something about it. Emme is teaming up with her alma mater Syracuse University for a challenge called “Fashion Without Limits.” The initiative tasks design students to create “an evening dress for a supermodel.” The winner will receive a cash prize, award and will hopefully go on to design more full figure clothes.
Emme recently spoke to Women’s Wear Daily about the contest. She expressed her frustration over the lack of options for full figure women who are willing to pay high fashion prices for spectacular clothes. With the “Fashion Without Limits” challenge she wants to inspire a new generation of designers to learn how to design, fit and create clothes for women size 12 and over, especially since the average woman in the U.S. wears a size 14.
We are looking forward to the creations that come out of Emme’s new project. And we can’t wait to see her on the runways again!