ACE teacher Gillian Jones with pattern blocks currently used in dress-making. However fashion designer Lois Hennes has introduced a new concept in clothing design based on fitting a woman’s shape, not her size.
ACE teacher Gillian Jones with pattern blocks currently used in dress-making. However fashion designer Lois Hennes has introduced a new concept in clothing design based on fitting a woman’s shape, not her size. Cathy Adams

Fashion now fits shape, not size

THERE is a new concept in fashion design which has been created right here on the Northern Rivers – and it’s not catering to Twiggy-like models.

The idea of ‘shape not size’ was introduced by former Wollongbar TAFE fashion design teacher Lois Hennes, and it was later transformed into a book recognised by some of Australia’s most notable fashion personalities.

The book, titled The Fashion Design System – Pattern Engineering for the 21st Century, outlines a different way to design clothes and encourages designers to use methods to accommodate for shapely women.

Lismore resident Gillian Jones has an extensive history in textiles and an overall passion for the fashion industry which led her to get involved in the locally-born shape not size initiative.

“A lot of shapes don’t fit the fashion blocks used by designers,” Ms Jones said.

“The shape not size initiative was born out of larger-sized women feeling like they love the designs, but can’t wear them because they don’t fit them properly and are not flattering to the general female shape.

“It has been recognised by industry greats in Sydney and Melbourne.

“The fact that something like 70 per cent of women are not stick thin means there is a huge market out there for real women.”

Designers often all use the same sizing methods for their clothes in the form of size templates. These cardboard templates determine the measurements of each garment made, but don’t recognise not all woman have the same chest, hips and bottom.

Ms Hennes, the brains behind the sizing innovation, kick-started the concept because she was constantly hearing women complaining, “I love it, but it just doesn’t fit right.”

Her book has been supported and acknowledged by the NSW Department of Industry and Investment, along with various fashion councils across the country.

Those ‘real women’ sick of seeing small-sized designer lines and unattainable clothes will be happy to know their concerns have been heard.

The Left Bank Cafe in Lismore will host a fashion event tomorrow night where Ms Hennes will speak about her design initiative. Anyone interested in attending can call 6622 1903.



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