High street brands, leading bloggers, runway models and even Vogue Magazine are all championing the womanly figure this season and proving that plus-size fashion isn’t about measurements. This is a personal style movement that’s slowly changing the shape of the industry.
While fashion week-watchers are used to waif-thin models – some a US size zero – striding down the catwalk in couture designs, the other side of the fashion industry is experiencing a huge reality check. Women are graced with bodies of all shapes and sizes, so why should it only be slim figures that are lauded as those to aspire to?
High street hails curvy as cool
A growing number of fashion brands and personalities have shown their support of all things plus-size over the last six months, and it’s not just a seasonal trend. High street brands understand that their customers want to experiment with the latest trends, whether they are petite and athletic or tall and shapely, and create complementary collections to flatter every individual. Leading retailers such as Topshop and H&M have been creating figure-flaunting styles in plus-size for years and they are now joined by a host of others including e-retailer Missguided, Old Navy, and Australian brand Crossroads – all offering fashion-forward collections for bigger ladies.
Leading ladies in the plus-size pack
And there’s no shortage of curvaceous models to star in plus-size fashion campaigns – sizes 12 to 16 are in high demand and the industry boasts a crop of new talent in the larger category. Leading the wave is US model Kate Upton; with an hourglass figure to die for the aspiring actress has just been signed as the face of Bobbi Brown makeup. The iconic Pirelli calendar features Candice Huffine in its next issue – a size 18 model who has featured in shoots for V, i-D and Italian Vogue. And a whole troupe of plus-size models including Tara Lynn, Marquita Pring and Ashley Graham were cast by US Vogue for an elegant black-and-white lingerie shoot in its October ’14 issue.
Celebrities celebrating the hourglass figure
In fact, when just a few years ago Christina Hendricks was applauded for embracing her fuller figure in the spotlight, there’s now no shortage of shapely ladies in entertainment and on the red carpet. Brit model Daisy Lowe has been rocking her curves on the London social circuit for many seasons, singer Adele has never had to compromise her love of designer frocks despite being bigger than sample size, and Girls writer and star Lena Dunham has become the modern poster girl for plus-size body confidence.
The blogging world loves big girls
The plus-size movement has filtered through to the digital scene too. In the world of fashion blogging, where everyday style-lovers can now become industry influencers, a stream of bigger ladies are attracting thousands of followers worldwide. A Girl with Curves, Nadia Aboulhosn, Curvy Girl Chic and GabiFresh are all showing how to complement those curves with trend-led fashions, and some have even scored fashion writer roles and modeling campaigns as a result of their online style journals.
Resistance from luxury designers – for now
But are the designer fashion houses following suit? Not quite – designers such as Giambattista Valli, Stella McCartney and Marchesa are happy to create custom-made gowns for plus-size celebrities on the red carpet, but it’s rare to find a piece in their collections that fits above a 12. Calvin Klein tried to jump on the plus-size bandwagon by casting a UK size 10 model in their ‘Perfect Body’ campaign but faced media backlash for categorizing the clearly slim figure as a larger lady. While magazines such as Vogue may be happy to shoot the occasional story with plus-size models, if the luxury designers stick to their sizing guns, high-end fashion will remain strictly for the slimmer of figure.
Just as well the high street has plus-size fashion covered, ensuring that the youngest of style lovers can find something to suit their style and shape. With women of all sizes now appearing in mainstream media, the baggage and negativity of the term ‘plus-size’ is slowly declining, instead being replaced by a group of gorgeous role models demonstrating how to love the natural female figure.