Most of us can not relate to the exceptionally tall and thin young model, yet this remains the archetype for high fashion. When we look at the fashion industry, we do not see a reflection of ourselves, but an unrealistic standard of what we are told to be. Not only has the consumer been left behind, but so have legions of talented fashion artists, unable or unwilling to meet these narrow standards. The fashion industry is not going to abandon their role in controlling these exclusive concepts of beauty any time soon. We must disrupt the norms by creating new platforms and communities, by nurturing new norms of inclusivity while displacing dated norms of exclusivity to give beauty in all forms a chance.
Fashion is a dynamic participatory art form, ever changing with the seasons and throughout the regions. Fashion is a reflection of our past and present, as well as a projection of our potential future. Fashion is for everyone, because everyone defines fashion. Fashion is created individually and collectively as we embrace our role as active participants in creating, supporting, discussing, and promoting the art of fashion.
Chance Fashion’s mission is to provide a platform for emerging, established, and unconventional fashion artists alike to thrive without being limited by their background, outward appearance or prior experience. Designers, models, hair stylists, makeup artists, and photographers are encouraged to refine their skills through participation in our monthly events, facilitating the transition of artists from amateurs to professionals. Throughout the seven years of our existence, Chance has continuously given opportunities to fashion artists who may not have received them otherwise.
Seattle may not be known for its fashion scene, but Chance’s model of collaborative participation is innovative and forward thinking, offering a concept any major city with an artistic hub can follow. Over the past year, Chance as an organization has undergone enormous growth. The Seattle volunteers are becoming more solidified and we have extended our first branch into the neighboring city of Olympia, where we are on track to produce seasonal fashion shows. Our intent is to establish Chance Fashion communities in several US west coast cities, transforming local fashion scenes from the bottom up.
Chance diverges from the disgraceful standard of ethics plaguing the mainstream fashion industry in a number of ways, the most noticeable of which pertains to diversity. Elite fashion is known for its lack of cultural diversity, in ethnicity, gender and body type. Magazines are still bombarding their readers with images of the slender white female stereotype, despite consumers longing for the representation of “real people” in fashion. Part of Chance Fashion’s mission is to leave behind the discriminatory selection of fashion participants, opening the doors to all fashion talent in their many forms.
Chance has grown into a vibrant scene because we respect people and are receptive to their unique contributions. Being an inclusive community, Chance eliminates the need to exclude potential models based on physical appearance. Instead, Chance offers an opportunity to raise self-esteem through gained experience, encouragement, and body-positive coaching. Chance features petite, transgender, and full-figured models, as well as annually hosting shows dedicated to these under-served fashion communities. We also make an effort to enforce an anti-harassment policy to protect participants from body-shaming, unwanted advancements, and other forms of harmful behavior.
Aside from models, Chance is also working to help under-served designers, hair and makeup artists, and photographers. Hair and makeup artists are able to practice their skills in a time sensitive environment, as well as network and develop a portfolio of their work. Photographers are able to gain experience shooting runway and editorial fashion by working with a variety of designers and models. Independent designers are able to showcase their work on the runway without having to meet the extensive requirements of industry runway shows, as well as receiving copious photos of their work which can be used for promotion.
Chance is playing a pivotal role in bridging the gap between designers and consumers. We market our fashion shows as an opportunity for guests to shop local and get to know participating designers on a more intimate level. In the long term, we are trying to condition consumers to attend our monthly events to see the latest local fashion trends and purchase directly from designers, with an overall goal of making independently produced clothing a viable art form.