Luxury Fashion is Being Challenged to Change Its Fatphobic Ways
Luxury fashion is facing a revolution as the new wave of designers challenges the old industry standards. Becoming more inclusive in terms of sizes opens endless opportunities, but many established designer brands don’t seem to grasp on that.
An average woman faces up to 31 changes of size in her adult life. Such fluctuations are caused by multiple factors: pregnancy, age, nature, illnesses. However, as our bodies adapt, our clothes do not.
Many women have faced the same dilemma over the years, even with luxury fashion: strict sizes make no sense. With everyone sporting different body types, strict sizes are only suitable to models of the parameters they are made for. But the new luxury designers bring their solutions to the table.
Buttons at the sleeve or waist of shirts, internal drawstrings in a dress, curved herms and thick fabrics that don’t cling. The traditional luxury fashion would call these hacks, whereas rising designers refer to them as ‘engineering’.
Adaptable designs are made with the consumer and environment in mind. Basically, the longer the customer loves their piece of clothing, the longer it doesn’t contribute towards the ever-growing landfill. Hidden bra loops in the shoulders for larger bra straps, elastic sleeve openings to maximize comfort and detachable belts for emphasizing waistlines – these little adjustments send a clear message to plus-size people from the designers. Their body is welcome to wear the clothes they create.
Many luxury fashion designers don’t specifically state they’re creating their lines for plus sizes, however, their lines cater to all body types. For example, Stine Goya designer clothes for both, thin and thick ladies. The women of a smaller statue will have billowing and dream-lie pieces, whereas those on the bigger size will find something that looks great on them. One of the adjustments we can see in Stine Goya clothing is that instead of a stitch on a chest there is ruching along, making it elastic and thus adaptable to bigger busts.
Straight-sizes are quickly losing their influence in the luxury market, and becoming adaptable and size- flexible is an open door to the raising designer brands. For example, Birdsong London, a small startup brand, learned that adding adjustable elements has increased their business value by many times, and all they had to do is to address plus-sized customers. Small adjustments can change the life of the brand as much as they can change the perception of its customer. After all, the plus-sized clientele has been trying to get through to us for years – they want the same options as everybody else.
Capsule wardrobes can become one of the size changes traps. Imagine the situation of yourself building your capsule for, let's say, upcoming 6 months. In just a month you gain weight and suddenly your capsule no longer suits you. It is rather easily avoided if clothes you include as not size strict but adaptable. After all, life happens.
Creating luxury fashion clothes that are adjustable would benefit the sustainability efforts of the industry greatly. It’s widely known that designer clothing is made from the highest quality materials that are meant to last for years. But it usually does not because people can no longer fit into their designer pieces, or they become too loose. Now imagine for how long would you wear that pair of designer denim you loved if they would adjust to a couple of inches that appeared around your waist. Each and every one of us went through the heartbreak of parting with a piece that simply no longer fits us despite its superb condition.
It's not just plus-sized audience complaining about how little options they have in the world of skinny- orientated luxury fashion. Another big group that suffers from the mindset is expecting mothers. In 9 months of pregnancy the woman’s body changes multiple times, and thus shopping for clothes can become stressful psychologically, emotionally and financially. This is why luxury fashion really, really needs to take a step towards more adjustable solutions.
However, most of the designers take a stance that adding too much elastic in expanding their ranges will make their clothes look high-street apparel. This is where Coco Chanel’s early approach should be used: adding extra seam allowance. Having spent several thousands of pounds on a piece, the buyer should reserve a right to go back to the designer and ask for alterations. It’s another form of adaptability, this time on the designer’s terms.