Wednesday, 23 January 2013
The UK high street is really coming into its own at the moment. After the recession, everyone got excited about vintage and independent designers, as we still do. But our favourite high street chains have jumped on that bandwagon, offering us even more choice than before.
But that choice and diversity doesn't necessarily extend to plus size clothes. Some of our favourite brands and shops still only go up to a size 16. In the worst cases, sometimes they only go up to a size 12 or 14. Or a 'medium' is in fact a dress size 10. Despite the extra choice, when it comes to sizing, something doesn't add up.
Sometimes, we totally understand the lack of available sizes, frustrating as it might be. A lot of the independent lingerie brands we feature only do smaller sizes. Annoying as it is, it's an expensive business, especially when it comes to something a specific as bra sizes. If a small business doesn't sell their stock then they're saying goodbye to their profit margins. They're saying goodbye to their next line, next season's designs and (hopefully) in the future, a larger size range.
But it still feels like those who wear a larger size miss out. We hear you - when we write about a lovely dress range, it can be maddening to see that it's only available from an 8 to a 14. If the average dress size in the UK is a 16, as many surveys and reports suggest, why aren't our shops reflecting this? We're offered plus size ranges, but these seem to be a token gesture (not unlike the tall and petite ranges that Kat and Sara have to contend with on a daily basis). Are they offering a beautiful capsule range, or is it more of a token afterthought?
Of course, there are some companies ticking the plus size box brilliantly. We're not naive enough to think that the fashion industry is going to change overnight, but there are certainly areas where it could be better. There are some areas where we could do better. Some of our favourite plus size brands stand out because the rest of the industry isn't even in the same league.
We don't want to kick off a debate about size (the Daily Mail are making a hash of that this week, let's not join them), accessible fashion isn't about size and shape. For some reason UK shops don't cater for women of different sizes and we want to explore this and kick off a discussion about what needs to change in the UK plus size fashion industry. Which companies are getting it right? Which shops need massive improvement? What's the biggest issue for plus size women going shopping? And what is it that plus sized women really want to see when they go shopping?
Gorgeous plus size clothing images from Lady Vintage, What Katie Did and ASOS Curve.