Adele's forthcoming plus-sized Burberry campaign is only one of the many factors that are leading to a new eye on mass-market retailers' plus-sized clothing, which blogs have dubbed "fatshion." For years, adult-skewed women's magazines had unchanged advice for larger women: steer away from horizontal stripes and fitted clothing in order to achieve the illusion of slimness, et cetera. 15 years ago, plus-size lines were mostly made for older women, according to the director of Old Navy's online-only full-figured style store.
But, as a New York-based retail consultant puts it, "This younger generation isn't interested in their rules." Torrid, Hot Topic's plus-size line, recently introduced skinny jeans to their stock and did away with Mr. Pinkerton, a canine mascot on their website that patronizingly advised customers which fashion choices were advised. The woman responsible for putting down Mr. Pinkerton is Torrid's chief executive officer Lisa Harper, who took the job last year and is dedicated to changing the attitude about plus-size fashion.
These girls that we're finding are independent and have a point of view and a voice and they're becoming more bold. We've reworked the brand to refocus on fashion, pure and simple, without the apologies, without the curvy conversation, the body type or any of that.
Being that the average American woman is a size 14, with plus-size consumers accounting for 67% of the population, companies are finally recognizing that there are more body types within "plus-size" to cater to. Eloquil, a brand owned by The Limited, features five distinct body types to choose from: diamond, teardrop, heart, infinity and emerald.
And this demand has translated into major women's magazines as well—at least for a page or two per issue, and on their own terms. Marie Claire features a "Big Girl in a Skinny World" column and InStyle is set to run a page called "Great Style Has No Size" in October. Yes, it's kind of a paltry offering and may not be ideal in tone right away, but Nicolette Mason, the 26-year-old who pens the Marie Claire column, says that only more good things can come out of the mainstreaming of plus-size retail.
Every single person with an iPhone or an Instagram account or Internet access can create a platform... It's kind of normalizing and making things more visible for the average person.
'Demand from plus-sized women spawns fatshion category' [Daily Herald]
Image via Paha L./Stockfresh