Melissa McCarthy & Chelsea Handler Discuss One Of Fashion's Biggest Problems

Photo: Jeffrey Mayer/Getty Images.
Nearly a year ago, Melissa McCarthy launched her own clothing line, Melissa McCarthy Seven7. And while stopping by Chelsea Handler's Netflix talk show, Chelsea, the comedian got refreshingly candid about the origins of her brand — and why it's important to her that it be size-inclusive.

Before McCarthy launched her namesake line, she had to DIY many of her fashion choices, because of the embarrassing lack of options for non-straight-sized women. "I was making most of my own clothes anyway [for red carpets and for shows]," McCarthy said in the segment, which started streaming today. She does indeed have a background in fashion design, but she was really designing her own gear out of necessity: "I've been every size in the world, but after I was a size 12, it was, like, apparently I'm 'done' dressing." So, when she couldn't find clothes in her size, McCarthy started worked with stylist Daniela Kurrle to build her own wardrobe. Then, inquiring minds wanted to know where she got her clothes.

From the get-go, McCarthy hesitated to label her collection as "plus-size," though the line's wide range of sizing from 4 to 28 made it much more inclusive than the average new brand on the block. "70% of women in the United States are a size 14 or above, and that's technically 'plus-size,'" McCarthy told Refinery29 last year. "So you're taking your biggest category of people and telling them, 'You're not really worthy,'" she continued. "I find that very strange."

As Handler pointed out during their conversation, McCarthy understands what a consumer wants and needs — something that's inexplicably missing for many retailers. "My line is all sizes," she starts off by saying, "because I was like, 'Women don't stop — I don't know why I would stop at a certain size; that seems odd to me."
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The fact that "women don't stop at size 12" is something McCarthy has talked about before, and not just in the context of her own line. "I feel like there's a big thing missing where you can't dress to your mood above a certain number," she explained to More last year. The fact that plus-size women usually have to shop in very tucked-away corners of stores, like, say, near the tire section of a department store to even find clothes in their sizes — an anecdote she's brought up often — doesn't help, either.

However, the problem goes beyond customers not having options. There's also the factor of what the industry says or thinks certain groups of women want to be wearing, be it certain color ways, prints, or silhouettes — "the nobody's, the shouldn't's, what you can't do, what you can't do," McCarthy said on Chelsea. "Everyone always wants to compartmentalize and put women in these little boxes, and I'm just like, 'That's just all stupid,'" McCarthy said to applause and a high-five from Handler (who was outfitted in Melissa McCarthy Seven7 trousers for the occasion).

The actress' Chelsea interview feels especially timely given the recent ordeal McCarthy's Ghostbusters co-star Leslie Jones went through to secure a gown for the movie's premiere, and what this says about inclusivity in fashion, or the lack thereof. Christian Siriano, who ended up designing Jones' dress, summed up the takeaway pretty nicely: "We should just try to make every woman feel great about [herself], because there’s enough crazy hate going on in the world," he told us.

McCarthy's firsthand frustrations with finding clothes that fit certainly feed into her brand's success — and, as she explained to Handler, she isn't simply putting her name on a clothing tag and calling it a day. She's very much involved in the minutia of her company. "I wish I was smart enough to do a normal celebrity line," McCarthy half-joked. "I think I'm just supposed to give my name to someone, which is what I'm told and not what happens — I do the fittings, I do the prints, I do everything." This is coming from a former Fashion Institute of Technology student, after all. You can watch McCarthy's full segment on Netflix.
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