According to a study of the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education, the average American woman wears a size 14-16 (European 44-46). Numbers of the German federal statistical office show that the average German women is 1,65 meter in height, weighs 68,4 kg and wears a size 42/44.
In 2016, London-based researcher Majid Ezzati published a study in the medical journal Lancet that found 14.9% of all women worldwide to be obese in 2014. In 1975, only 6.4% of the women worldwide were obese.
Looking at the numbers there is no doubt that plus size is becoming normality but the fashion- marketing- and advertising industry is still treating this topic shabbily. It is for that reason that American based fashion and lifestyle platform Refinery29 launched the 67 Percent Project – based on the data that 67% of women in the USA wear a size 14 or higher.
The statement on the website quotes: “Beginning today, we are breaking the plus-size woman out of the niche and into the mainstream. During the launch week, 67% of the bodies you see on our site, in our newsletter, and on our Instagram and Snapchat channels will be plus-size. To do this, we’ve made significant changes within Refinery29 to fully represent the 67% this week, and beyond. For the last six months, we've been shooting stock photography and redesigning illustrations to more accurately reflect the women who make up the majority of our country.”
In partnership with Getty Images, Refinery29 is making stock imagery of plus-size women available for free for the use across blogs and major outlets.
Kim Seghers, the founder of plus-size brand Fox Factor, was frustrated that it was quite impossible for her to dress according to the latest fashion trends when she was wearing a size 44/46: “I couldn’t understand at this point why it was so difficult to find trendy clothing for women with curves. Most fashion brands stop at a size 42/44 while worldwide it is statistically proven that 60% of all women wear a size 42 or up. Before starting Fox Factor I did a lot of research into clothing brands for curvy women and turns out that there are very few brands who make trendy clothing in sizes 42 and up.”
Seghers turned her frustration into something good and decided to concentrate on making the perfect jeans for curvy women. In the beginning of this year she launched the brand. “Not only did I want to make good fitting jeans, it was equally important that Fox Factor jeans were trendy. Fox Factor stands for premium quality jeans. We only use premium Italian fabrics to make our jeans and work together with the best Italian craftsmen to make sure that our jeans are made to fit perfectly and have the latest washings.”
For Seghers, it is important to invest and put a lot of research into the perfect fit for curves. “We do not just make one pattern for a jeans style and grade it to different sizes. We make a perfect fit for each size thus making sure that our jeans fit just as well on a lady with size 42 as it does on a lady with size 48 for example. Before launching a collection we test our samples on 25 different women with different body shapes to make sure that the jeans fit each woman in every size perfectly.”
Even if the launch is not that long ago, Kim Seghers has received a lot of positive feedback. “Many of those women feel left out by the fashion industry. Women want to be able to dress fashionably no matter what their size is. We also receive a lot of feedback from women saying that they had already given up on finding a pair of good fitting jeans because the struggle of finding trendy jeans that fit their bodies perfectly has been real for so long. Since launching in January we have almost entirely sold out the first collection.”
Another curvy denim brand launch happened last October. Reality star Khloe Kardashian and designer Emma Grede launched Good American – debuting with three key styles (skinny, boyfriend and high waist skinny) from size 00 to 24.
According to a press release the company published last December, the young brand reached one million dollars in sales on its first day of release.
"I'm so happy with the success we have had in the last month, but we have so far to go. This is only the beginning," says Kardashian. "What's really encouraging is the customer response. When people try the jeans they fall in love. The reviews speak for themselves and that's something I am really proud of. We've created a product that works on a girl who's size 00 and looks equally great in a size 24."
Good American recently announced that from the end of January 2017, the premium company based in LA will drop new product on a bi-weekly basis, while maintaining the bestselling styles for as long as they can keep them in stock. The collection will expand into other key denim items including skirts, shorts and jackets.
These examples clearly show that the market for trendy fashion in bigger sizes is huge and the demand will grow. Models like Ashley Graham, Barbie Ferreira (who was the cover girl for our January issue), Tara Lynn or Nadia Aboulhosn show that curvy women can be just as beautiful on high fashion magazine covers and advertising campaigns as their thinner counterparts.
Kim Seghers sums it up well: “It’s important for fashion brands to listen to women’s needs. We listen to what women (in all sizes) want to wear these days and it’s the same fashion as other women in smaller sizes wear."