Have you ever played with Barbie dolls? She was pretty, with adult features. Little girls drooled about the doll because she had the perfect features that society defined. A toy that allowed little girls to run their imagination to imagine their future. With her tiny waist and enormous breasts, it was flaunted as having the perfect body. Girls who played with Barbie dolls drooled on how to get a physique like Barbie.
So with the toys as with the fashion. Fashion as you know has been judged by the wearer. Or do we say fashion has always been about skinny women? It is no secret that the fashion business prefers skinny models. For a long time, it has been seen that Fashion Industry has been an iconic image of standardization. It is about skinny women, for the skinny women. Fashion has always included and catered to a standard size of wearers. Though for some brands, in the business sense, not to cater to women of all sizes meant producing clothes of various sizes meant incurring a huge amount of money. Hence, to minimise the cost, custom size sizes and designs were produced to increase retail space and inventory expenditure.
Even with this indifferent attitude, some tried to usher a new domain in the fashion industry. Harper’s Bazaar, in 1965 was the first fashion magazine that tried to revolutionise the fashion industry by bringing in diversity in their models. Even after that, for decades fashion industry conveniently showed little interest in completely ignoring inclusive fashion.
From then to the present times, we can see many brands embracing the concept of inclusive fashion. It has cut across size variations to bring in to its cover gender, disability, race, as well as age as other dimensions to be included in its world. Sizes, palettes, functionality, silhouettes are daring and interesting. Social media has been the one that has changed the scenario of the world. From projecting everyday issues, to fashion, to news, and to articulating thoughts and viewpoints, Social media remains one of the most sought-after medium of looking around the world. From casual wear to formal wear to athleisure, shoppers are willing to buy anything and everything that they might come across on social media. So when you speak on the platform, the industry has to listen. There has been strong advocacy to include fashion for all, and not for a section of people. There has been a sea change in the fashion industry that is fast turning into consumer-centric.
Says social media influencer and model, Hari Nef that “Diversity is everything. Inclusion leads to understanding, destigmatisation, and demystification. Fashion has the power to glorify bodies and identities- to include them in a narrative of luxury and beauty”. Look out at the people walking down the street, to understand how diverse the common people are. There has been an advocacy for body positivity. Inclusive fashion can be seen amongst big retailers like Walmart, Target, and ASOS, being reflected in their catalogues and portfolio. Also, brands like Zara, Old Navy, J.Crew, Michael Kors, Marcus, H&M, and many more have started incorporating inclusive fashion in their fashion brands.
Couture labels like Valentino and Givenchy had dwindling sales in luxury fashion, way back in the 80s. Hence, to make up for the loss in their business they began making plus-size clothing. But it was only in 2008 when Gabi Fresh and Marie Denee started poking the “the slim crazy” fashion world with their Fashion Plus content. Many others voiced their opinions, literally making the Fashion world take up the challenge.
With the body positivity movement, plus-size women have gained the confidence in seeking out alternatives to fashion. Women can shop from well-known brands, indulging in the fashion of their choice. Visit any shopping malls or an online store you can see plus size clothing and that too of any fashion you want. Then some sites help you to customize your dress. It has been seen that plus sizes help in the growth in fashion retail and is hailed as a serious contender.
Plus size has a million barriers while indulging in any fashion. The industry is such that everything is put up for comparison. For a long time, we had been made to believe that the perfect figure is the one who does not have an ounce of fat and is skinny and curvaceous. So even if you are lucky to get your size, you are bound to be ridiculed. Hence, the strong advocacy for plus-size dresses. Even the fashion industry is taking note of it, and getting clothes of all sizes. However, in this process, many brands are not able to keep up to the size. For many, extended sizes mean straight-sized garments in huge size, which again makes many plus-size women unhappy with the product.
But there again some brands have been successful in creating the perfect fit for plus-size women. From tummy control knickers corset to Astrid Fashion Women’s Jacket your fashion trousseau is what you have always desired.
Nothing makes it happier and valued when you find what your heart desires and that too is the perfect fitting. You can indulge in Party Prom Long Suelto Dresses or Black Party Maxi Dress to rock any party or event. You have been dreaming for quite a long for these dresses and they are just within your reach. Most brands have also started to feature other diverse segments in their products, models, and designers. With plus size clothing range, another segment that has emerged as next popular is maternity wear. Brands have become bold in experimenting with silhouettes and shapes, bringing a wide range in wear of daily wear, athleisure, formal clothing, and swimwear.
Though there has been a shift in the trend. But the plus-size market has been unglamorous and not quite fashionable. Getting a plus-size dress was always difficult. The popular belief was that plus size is not sexy, beautiful, or glamorous. Hence, the difficulty in accentuating their beauty. The inclusive sizing concept is breaking all the stereotypical barriers. This type of evolution is bringing a change in society and culture and has set a new horizon for high fashion.
Long-time back wearing the plus size women had to wear black, dull, and loose garments that looked more like a tent than a dress. But not you can get dresses and styles and colours of all sizes. For most brands, this is a challenge, a transition period, but it is also something that will create a wide range of opportunities if they are thinking to keep up with the competition. Because more than the slim, curvaceous one, the plus-size women make up more of the population.
Today’s consumers have changed tastes. They are on the lookout for brands that define their beauty and not their individualism that showcase their confidence and not their weight or size. They want to feel a connection with the brand, and this is not possible if only a particular segment of models are representing a particular group of women. There was a demand to include all sizes, and not to differentiate the styles. The brand had to ensure that cutting is perfect for all sizes, and in varied designs and styles as well as colour. The brand can build a large base of customers only when it realizes that all its customers irrespective of different physical attributes are looking for high-quality fashion, and it depends upon the Company to make it available for them.
Going by the trend, it is clear that inclusive sizing has become a necessity for fashionable brands. Regardless, of their size women are voicing their need for fashionable products. For fashion houses, they defined the need as a trend, however with time if they could no longer term it as a trend. It is more of a necessity across all product types. Fashion is dependent on stereotyping things, but with the advent of social media, where people from all walks of life are voicing their opinions and throwing challenges to Fashion to extend their clothing range to plus size.
The push to plus size was picking up with more and more brands up for a challenge. But then came the pandemic and many popular brands were pushed to bankruptcy. Since getting into larger sizes meant incurring huge expenses, and it was difficult to do so during the lockdown period. Still, with things returning to normal, things are looking up. Popular attires such as sleepwear, loungewear, active wear, and street wear are defined as functionality and comfort and hence they remain in the market.
Luxury brands are up and offering a wide range of plus sizes because they want to be defined as trend setters. Whatever happens in one segment of fashion, sets out a trend, which revolves around a movement. These trend setters on plus size are spreading out to offer more contemporary designs and expanding to mass markets. Whatever may be the case, women of the plus-size category are getting their heart desires. Maybe some brands are on the pricy side, but when it comes to fashion women love to deck up.