Growing up in Winnipeg, Canada, Mark Fast probably never realized that he would spark controversy across the fashion world before his 30th birthday. That’s just what this Canadian born fashion designer did at London Fashion Week, when he put plus-sized models in his sexy, revealing runway show. This fashion show which made headlines all over the world, helped to not only put Mark Fast on the international up and coming fashion designer fast track, it is also helping to usher in a sea of change surrounding the ongoing controversy about the perception of beauty and size in the fashion industry.
Mark Fast grew up in the peaceful prairies, but moved to London to study at Central Saint Matrins completing his MA in 2008. To create his startling knitwear Fast uses a knitting machine and works onto the body giving it that shape hugging form. His yarn and the curves of the body inspire him as he forms each piece.
For his most recent collection Mark Fast collaborated with Swarovski for materials and Christian Louboutin for shoes. He found inspiration in silent films and strong female characters such as Erin Brockovich. Mark Fast said that: The S/S 10 catwalk show will focus on women’s courage in modern society as a medium.
The fashion designer also gave courage to the plus-sized models he invited to join him on the runway scoring him points with regular buyers, but none was shown in the fashion world when his freelance stylist and casting director quit, allegedly because the models weren’t ready for the runway as opposed to their size. Just recently in an indepth article on the changing perception of beauty and size, The Guardian in London gave Mark Fast a great deal of credit in helping to usher in the changes to the zero size models:
“The pictures of Morley in Mark Fast’s sexy cobweb dresses – with Gwyneth Harrison and Laura Catterall – made front-page news around the world. “I was shocked by the coverage. I had no idea it would be such a big deal. I was just doing my job.”
But Morley’s job description is changing. She has become part of a sea change that has swept across the fashion industry in the past month. Suddenly women who don’t look emaciated – or even svelte – are part of fashion’s story. For anyone sick of seeing dangerously underweight adolescents dominate the style landscape (and who isn’t?), this was what they call in the trade “a moment”. For some of us, it feels like a cultural turning point, long overdue.”………….
Mark Fast was able to include girls with different figures because he shows knitwear: it’s stretchy. He is keen to play down the politics of his move, not wanting to irritate other designers. “I wasn’t trying to make a huge statement,” he says, “Like, ‘Look, you’re not doing it right.’ I just thought it was time: I see so many beautiful women out there and I just want to put them on the catwalk. I think attitudes are changing. There is something in the air. Some people are picking up on it. Others… not so quickly.”
Fast has shown that any woman can own a Mark Fast knit and incorporate it into her wardrobe widening his appeal.
“My knits respond differently to different bodies,” he said. “Some looks just work better on curves in the same way that certain tailoring works better on different body types.” (Toronto Star)
Mark Fast says that in his fashion he wants to celebrate all women. His intricate, sexy clothing proves that he is honouring a women’s body and her curves regardless of her size. His S/S 2010 collection features skirts and dresses with carefully placed fabric to cover the more private areas in mostly muted tones of tan, black and grey. The fringed tops and skirts sway over the models form. Very few pieces leave much to the imagination.
His Body Con collection of skintight, hole-filled knit dresses showed a daring designer style — especially when worn by models that can fill out an outfit. There is no doubt that Mr. Fast’s knits left little to the imagination, other than to marvel at the way the designer created a lush feminine feel with so little fabric. (New York Times)