I remember when I would walk around the high street looking for fashionable clothes and feel at an absolute loss. Why couldn’t I find clothes to fit me? Why was I left having to wear bad, dull pieces when I had money to spend like everyone else? Fast-forward ten years to the rise of the Internet, the influence of social media, and the acknowledgement that the average dress size for a women in the UK is now a 16. Well, it feels like a different world. A world where a plus size shopper can indeed feel represented, catered for, and have choices.
The recent incline of high street brands stepping into plus size territory has been pretty steep, and the number of plus size retailers seem to be on the rise. The old school players haven’t had a choice but to up their ranges, creating more fashionable, on-trend pieces for the plus size customer. Using River Island as an example, they will be at The Curve Fashion Festival this year, and have jumped well and truly into the plus size pool. They recently launched their River Island plus range and it went down a storm. Why? In my opinion, great fitting pieces that are extended from the main ranges, in quality material and they are on trend! Yes! I’m big and I love nice clothes! Surprised? Well you shouldn’t be. Plus size women, including myself, have cried out for fashionable pieces for so long. I feel like we’re finally being heard and, of course, it’s not bad for business either; it’s extra revenue!
So why now? Why have brands suddenly seen the light and decided it’s time they increased their sizes? I truly believe social media has a huge part to play. The plus size community across the globe has been making a real impact on the likes of Instagram and Twitter. There are plus size models and bloggers with more of a following than your average celebrity and that’s showing brands and the media something they’ve never seen before.
Stylish, confident, plus size women are becoming more inspiring and influential than your standard TV advertisement. These are relatable men and women who are telling the world that they look great. Looking back on when I was younger, the gap for a plus size role model was gigantic. Now, there are role models popping up all over the place. Even magazines have accepted plus size style really is a thing! (It took them a while!) But with the likes of Look Magazine championing plus size fashion over the past couple of years it shows that the supply-and-demand really does exist. Yes, there is still improvement to be made. Brands need to realize plus size doesn’t stop at a size 24 and if they have their fingers on the pulse (which I’m confident they have) they’ll increase the sizes in their plus ranges.
I think it’s important all men and women feel confident and the rise of good, comfortable, and accessible plus size fashion is a great step in doing this. Of course, events like The Curve Fashion Festival make this even easier, promoting body confidence, fun fashion and a place to share, connect and appreciate just what the rise of plus size is all about.