The Message: To Champion Inclusivity This NYFW, the Best Said It With Their Chests

A model walks the runway for the #TeeUpChange Campaign Launch Hosted By Dia&Co and CFDA at theCURVYcon on September 7, 2018 in New York City.
A model walks the runway for the #TeeUpChange Campaign Launch Hosted By Dia&Co and CFDA at theCURVYcon on September 7, 2018 in New York City.
Photo: Daniel Zuchnik (Getty Images for Dia & Co)

Major fashion statements are expected at New York Fashion Week, but this season, they were literal. Though statement tees have been appearing on runways for several years now, designers took the trend to the next level this season, as film characters, political messages, and slogans of self-love all strutted down the catwalk this September.


Designer Prabal Gurung silently implored his audience to “Vote,” while Christian Siriano took advantage of presenting just ahead of the New York primaries to campaign for gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon. But our favorite tees of the week were undoubtedly the ones with a longer shelf-life—and a message centered on body politics—courtesy of uber-inclusive labels Chromat and Dia & Co.

For Spring-Summer 2019, Chromat continued its message of unconditional body acceptance by not only sending models of all sizes, shapes and abilities down the runway, but by creating the instantly collectible “Sample Size” tee ($60). Featuring Chromat’s logo on the back and already available alongside several other tees from their SS ‘19 collection on their website, the tee is available in an Extra-Small through 3XL. Explaining the inspiration behind the message, the site says:

Sample sizing” tends to be an excuse that other designers cite as a reason why they don’t feature a range of sizes in their runway shows. At Chromat, we know that the designer has the power to choose what size they prototype their collection in.

Our goal is to encourage more designers to sample their collections in a range of sizes, in order to celebrate all different size bodies on the runway.

I’m not sure it could be said any plainer than that, but equally size-friendly brand Dia & Co. partnered with the Council of Fashion Designers of America to stage a “statement tease” of their own this Fashion Week with their #TeeUpChange runway show at The Curvy Con. Recruiting body-positive pioneers Lizzo, Venus Williams, designers Tracy Reese, Christian Siriano and emerging designer Marissa Petteruti to contribute slogans and designs, the goal is to support new designers in creating fashion for all.

As announced on the Dia & Co. site:

We just announced at theCURVYcon that we’re partnering with the Council of Fashion Designers of America to make the future of fashion more size inclusive through our #TeeUpChange campaign. ... support the mission in style with limited-edition T-shirts created by five leading champions of inclusivity.

The 100% cotton T-shirts are available exclusively in sizes 0X-5X, made ethically in the United States, and priced at $35. All profits from the T-shirt sales will go toward providing student designers with the tools necessary to create clothing for all sizes!


Dia & Co.’s shirts are selling out fast, so now is the best time to purchase. But if inclusive fashion matters to you, be sure to make your voice heard, since in addition to donating profits from sales of the tees, Dia & Co is donating $1 up to $10,000 every time #TeeUpChange is used on Instagram or Twitter, and @diaandco and @cfda are tagged.


Change only happens when we empower ourselves to speak up—however many times it takes. So don’t hold back; say it your chest (and your wallet)!

Maiysha Kai is managing editor of The Glow Up, host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast and Big Beauty Tuesdays, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. May I borrow some sugar?