Their lobbying is already having an impact on some merchants. Modcloth eliminated its distinction between plus and not-plus sizes in its site navigation (yet still only selects of its variety in large sizes), a sportswear company that stocks plus sizes now utilizes flower names rather than number sizing (yes, actually - a Willow is a UK size 8-10, presumably because thin people are willowy), and new large size brand Coverstory intentionally doesn't refer to itself as a plus size brand name anywhere on its website - despite the reality it only offers clothes for women sized between UK 16-32.
"Straight size, plus size, I don't believe it's an issue, the creator of Coverstory Heidi Kan told Fashionista. If you like stunning clothing, you like lovely clothes."
I’m extremely delighted there are new large size lines meeting the marketplace all the time. I want variety, range and a variety of rate points, so I’m glad that a brand like Coverstory is now producing trendy, contemporary, sexy clothes (and ideally a gingham t-shirt dress soon?) in large sizes. I simply want they were more proud of the truth they’re making plus size clothing.
It’s important to note that the large size market is not a specific niche, negligible area of business. The average dress size in the UK is 16 and, as a result, the plus size market constitutes 12.4% of all clothing sales and deserves in excess of 5 billion while a quarter of UK women have bought plus-size clothes in the past year. For sellers to be squeamish about expanding into this possibly highly profitable location of business and yelling about the reality they’re doing it recommends they are afraid of the image it perpetuates; the marketing message if you like.
The uneasiness around the plus size market is exactly what encouraged singer and size 18 Beth Ditto to introduce her own eponymous line of clothes last year. "It’s aggravating because the market is extremely regretful; there’s still so much shame included. This idea that you’re bigger, but you’re not supposed to be: I want this to be positive," she stated at the time of her collection, which is developed to make the fashion experience regular for women who, like her, desire more than an inexpensive pair of leggings.
The problem is of course, that when you make a statement in the plus-size world, it can bring in all the wrong sort of interest. It appears as if every week there’s a brand-new debate around female fatness - a subject which draws in all way of undesirable judgment. It’s not the first time the model has actually faced criticism.
That’s precisely why the presence of plus-size brands has actually never been so vital. If retailers believe the label marginalizes women, perhaps that’s because plus size women are already, necessarily, marginalized because of their bodies. That’s why it’s essential for us to understand when a new line launches (like Coverstory), when a brand takes its plus-size range out of stores, when a merchant extends its typical size offering (as River Island have actually recently done with their, albeit minimal, plus range) - because as large size women, we just cannot assume that clothing are being made for us. Acknowledging this is better to us in practical terms than pushing the lie that we’re all the exact same.
This rejection to provide large size fashion the respect it is worthy of, and plus size women the respect they deserve by acknowledging we exist, only makes life more difficult for buyers. How does it assist me if I have to equate my clothes size into the name of a flower to buy some running bottoms? Things are currently tough enough for plus size buyers, who deal with a restricted option that usually needs to be ordered online.
Exactly what we need, then, is not higher distance, squeamishness and sanitization around clothing above a size 18, but an honest conflict of the stigma and intentional exemption of women above a size 18. Why do even plus size brand names decline to use designs of a size that really represents their customers? Will Tess Holliday stay the only noticeable plus size design above a size 18?