At R29, we love discovering and championing fashion-forward, plus-size brands. But, in a New Yorker article on the explosion of the plus-size market, writer Lizzie Widdicombe discovers that many big-name, straight-size designers are not necessarily happy for the attention.
At this year's Full Figured Fashion Week in New York, many attendees referenced the phenomenon of so-called “closet” plus-size designers — department-store brands with plus divisions that are never advertised.
Blogger and Marie Claire columnist Nicolette Mason describes asking to borrow samples from one big-name designer's plus size range for a photo shoot, and being told that the brand didn't want to promote it.
Designers' reluctance to "come out" behind their own plus lines affects the publishing industry, too. Madeline Jones is the editor-in-chief of the popular PLUS Model magazine, which has remained online-only despite her approaching many plus-size clothing manufacturers for ad dollars: “They never buy ads,” she says.
It could be that clothing manufacturers are simply prioritizing their ad spends toward their straight-size lines — which, of course, is not a business decision that makes tons of sense, given that so many women in the U.S. fit into what manufacturers deem "plus." As luxury-fashion consultant Morty Singer explains to The New Yorker, designers' concern may be that better-publicizing their plus-size lines would damage their "brand equity," also known as their industry rep — a crazy-making logic that defines fat bodies as somehow downmarket or "other."
Head over to New Yorker for the full story, which also charts the exciting growth and rise in visibility of plus-size style, and explores some of the movement's most outspoken and fabulous personalities. It's a brave, new world for the plus-size market — and the future may belong to the brands that are proud to embrace it. (The New Yorker )