The Problem With Plus Size

If extraterrestrial beings touched down in an average American city, walked down an average American street, then popped into an average American store, they'd probably think the only people who actually shop are diminutive. Because, when it comes to numbers, there's a huge discrepancy: The average American woman wears a size 14 — and the majority of women are considered overweight — but you'd be hard-pressed to find any brand that caters to anyone who wears above a 12. In plain business terms (which the fashion industry ultimately operates on), the numbers don't add up. But, the answer to why this happens is a bit more complicated than mere prejudice.
It's undeniable that the fashion industry is plus-size-averse. There's the passive discrimination of framing most dialogue around straight sizes only, and then there's the very active, very hurtful discrimination and animosity against women who don't fit into a sample size. Beyond that, there's also a frustrating production barrier that prevents plus-size clothing from being made in the first place. For any trade, it's totally counterintuitive that an industry could so obviously not cater to the largest demographic out there — but that's exactly how the plus-size world is.
And, the first step toward change is acknowledging the problem. So, we took a deep dive into the specific problems with plus. We invited key players within the industry to speak candidly about why the system is broken, the challenges the plus-size community faces, and why the whole fashion industry needs a change of perspective.