Independent fashion retail, like many industries, has been hit hard by the pandemic, with many businesses like Sies Marjan, Need Supply, Totokaelo, Cushnie, and Bird in Brooklyn forced to close doors in the last year. That’s why supporting small businesses is essential right now. This is especially true for shops that cater toward plus-size shoppers, a major segment of the U.S. population — 67% of women in the U.S. wear a size 14 or up — that is rarely the fashion industry’s focus of attention. That said, finding small, plus-size clothing retailers to shop from can be a daunting task, leading many to default to fast fashion instead.
One look at Twitter confirms this, with many people asking their followers this question: Where are all the plus-size clothing brands that aren’t fast fashion? One of them is Guadalupe “Lupe” Soto, a 22-year-old woman from Anaheim, California, who in December tweeted asking for small brand recommendations: “I wanna support more plus-sized businesses cause I don’t really see many and I wish I did as a plus-size gal myself.”
“I prefer to shop small businesses for environmental purposes, [because] fast fashion brands contribute to climate change, as well as worker exploitation,” Lupe tells Refinery29. “This year I tried my best to refrain from fast fashion and have been shopping for clothes from thrift shops and secondhand stores.”
Since the pandemic began, many people similarly have chosen to re-evaluate their consumption habits and educate themselves on the environmental waste and unethical practices that are tied to fast fashion corporations. But given how few brands cater to plus-size women, giving up fast fashion, which is also affordable, is not easy for anyone above a size 14. Still, many are not deterred. “Moving forward, I know I want to put my money in the pockets of people who really need it and small brands that exemplify everything I stand for,” says Lupe.
With that in mind, we compiled a list of our go-to indie shops — some that sell new items, others vintage, including Lupe's Depop store. Ahead, 25 plus-size brands and retailers to support now.
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