Here's Why Tess Holliday Is Our Breakout Star of Fashion Week Spring 2020

Plus-size supermodel is revolutionizing the industry one runway walk at a time

By McKenna Aiello Sep 28, 2019 10:00 AMTags
Tess Holliday, Fashion WeekAstrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for TRESemme

Tess Holliday is revolutionizing the fashion world one runway walk at a time. 

In the years since she coined the social media movement #EffYourBeautyStandards, Tess has become an unstoppable force for good. She made history by becoming the first plus-size model of her size and stature to land a major modeling contract in 2015, and continues to use her platform to advocate for inclusivity and body positivity. 

Case in point? Tess' presence at Fashion Week Spring 2020, where she sparked conversation surrounding the fashion industry's ongoing push for diversity.

Tess herself commented on the progress, or lack thereof, during a London Fashion Week event hosted by ELLE U.K. "People are still afraid and I hope eventually that will shift," the 34-year-old shared. "I don't know why it's controversial to talk about the fact that plus-size women should be able to take up space—literally—wear clothes, be fashionable and feel good in their bodies."

Serena Williams' Collection Calls Plus Size "Great" at NYFW

However, Tess does acknowledge that when any plus-size model "has a breakthrough" in the industry, she considers it a "breakthrough for all of us." 

That said, it's time to celebrate Holliday's many breakthrough moments throughout Fashion Week. Scroll through our gallery below and prepare to feel empowered to love the skin you're in.

Queen of Chromat

Chromat's 10th anniversary collection, which showed during New York Fashion Week, featured its most diverse cast of models yet. Holliday, who wore an up-cycled dress made from last season's "sample size" t-shirts, called the opportunity "one of the most memorable and emotional moments of my entire career."

She wrote on Instagram, "To know that I've spent my entire career advocating for more diversity in the fashion industry, and to be able to share the runway with so many others with the same mission was a feeling I will never forget."

All Glammed Up

Tess turned heads at Harper's BAZAAR ICONS bash at New York Fashion Week, where she looked every inch a movie star in a custom gown by Melissa Mercedes.

Model With a Mission

Speaking at ELLE UK and the British Fashion Council's event titled "Body Positivity and the Changing Landscape in Modeling" during London Fashion Week, Holliday discussed the rejection she continues to face as a not-so prototypical model. 

"I get passed for opportunities quite a lot because of my height, size and tattoos," she said. '"I have the value of name recognition, but then they worry about their brand. Now, when my agent tells me I'm on hold for a job, I don't get my hopes up. I meet people and they promise me stuff, it's part of the industry."

Out on the Town

London Fashion Week party circuit? Check! Tess looked all kinds of stunning in a dress by ELOQUII at a grand opening celebration for The Standard. 

(Cat)Walking on the Wild Side

The London Queer Fashion Show got an extra dose of ferocity thanks to Tess, who (alongside celebrity pup Dolly Pawton) closed the show in a fabulous faux fur coat by Plus Equals. 

"As someone who is getting to know my queer identity, the feeling of being surrounded by so much love, wearing a size inclusive designer & literally being hyped up was an unforgettable moment!!" Holliday wrote on Instagram.

Flower Power

Meaghan O'Connor styled Tess for British Vogue's London Fashion Week party in a bold floral midi. Très chic! 

Bravo, Tess! Now can we get an amen?