In a historical point in time in which so many concealed structural biases have timidly arisen to the surface – and to discussion –, it’s almost axiomatic that young, effervescent designers advocate for equality to identitary minorities, representing diversity and freethinkers.
Chinese designer Wei Yu is a brilliantly creative and sensitive objector of one of the most unacknowledged, unaccounted for and deeply rooted forms of systematic oppression: FATPHOBIA.
In one of the most veiled and widespread configurations of biopolitics, the bodies of fat people have relentlessly been scrutinized in the social, aesthetic and medical spheres since the early XIXth century. Perpetrating stigmatized, unfounded, systemic beliefs, fatphobia is designed to marginalize, shame and oppress fat bodies under the immediate assumption that they’re unhealthy and in need of intervention, and therefore a burden to taxpayers and the health care system, which corroborates a perpetual sense of both collective and individual responsibility to take on a combative role in the “War on obesity”; sometimes through condescendingly imposing exercise and dieting, sometimes through violently coercing fat people to undergo medical surgery and scarification. The social – and medical – obstination with weight loss as the solution to health concerns that may be utterly unrelated to a person’s weight or size inimically violates fat people’s right to existence.
It’s nearly dispensable to even mention the many ways fashion has deliberately ideologized, fabricated and solemnized the sordid obsession with an unearthly slenderness, which not only rewarded the devaluing of fat people, but also heartened a delusional and dysmorphic pursuit for a body figure as good as unattainable (so much for health concerns, huh?).
All things considered, there couldn’t be a more relevant outcry for Wei Yu to have based her mesmerizing, theatrical collection “Potential possibilities of our figure” on.
Exploring the moulding of complex inflatable wearables in bubbly, lighthearted tones, she kindly suggests that our body figures are to be articulated freely, catering only to our individual desires, and that we emancipate ourselves from biased mindsets into a clear appreciation of the beauty in diversity.
Tight bodysuits with skeleton prints, matched under her sculptural volumes, semantically provoke the faulty conception that weight loss proportionally promotes health increase and vice-versa.
Light installations inside the inflatables educe a feeling of vitality and cheerfulness, ebbing away the sense of mutuality between being fat and being morose, lazy, unmotivated and having poor willpower. All in all, Wei Yu thrives in sketching a beautiful – and urgent – reflection: we NEED to unlearn our biases.
WEIGHT AND BODY POSITIVITY NOW!
Royal College of Art