Inclusive fashion is the future of runways and retail

This is how a high-fashion look comes to
life. The pattern is handmade, panels cut out delicately, then carefully stitched together. But what makes this runway piece really special is that it’s for women size 14 and up. — I wanted to disrupt the status quo putting it clear as day on the runway. I wanted to show that every size literally can be sample size. Last year ushered in the most inclusive Fashion Week’s to date, from a wider range of body sizes, to age as well as gender to racial diversity. It’s a win for those historically ignored by the industry. But the truth is there’s still a long way to go, and those who choose to embrace inclusivity are thriving. Proving that inclusivity isn’t a passing trend, it’s inevitable. We’re in the U.S. capital of fashion, New York City, to find out why. I’m Marc Bain. This is Quartz. Kellie Brown is a fashion influencer and
blogger. She says companies haven’t been thinking about plus-sized women like her. — I put style before looking three pounds smaller. I think that they historically
thought that we are trying to hide they’re usually dressing from a negative
space, meaning they’re thinking about what you want to minimize. Kelly says women of all sizes want the same styles afforded to smaller bodies. For years the latest trends were privileged to these straight body consumers meaning sizes zero to twelve. This left plus-sized shoppers to dig through shades of shapeless beige. in a section relegated to the far corners of a shop or the internet. Women over size 14 are estimated to make up 68 percent of the U.S. population but only 0.1 percent of the luxury market and 2.5 percent of what’s sold by the largest multi brand retailers are comprised of plus sizes. This is also a global reality. Not one plus-size model walked the London or Milan Fashion Week’s for Fall 2018. and only last year did the Middle East get
its first plus-size model. Carla Buzasi forecasts global trends in the
fashion industry. — I think if you look back actually not that long ago you had these highly influential creative directors who sat in their lovely ivory
tower and then envisage an amazing product whether that was a shoe or a dress and
then on consumers came and bought it. In the past consumers outside the norm were never considered. Few brands in the plus-size space have the same name recognition as the company where we’re standing right now, and that’s Eloquii. We’re in their Long Island City warehouse where they’re busy keeping up
with all the trends and an online customer base that’s really eager to
adopt them. Mariah Chase is the CEO of Eloquii. — Really fashion-forward customers said ‘Oh my god I have actually never had access to this type of clothing before and now I feel like I can, via my clothing,
express who I want to be.’ Why do you think so many brands have dragged their feet in you know expanding their size range to serve all these customers. — It wasn’t that this customer was considered and then designers were like ‘No no we’re not going to do anything for her.’ It’s that she wasn’t considered. There was stigma attached to it. Since 2015 the company’s revenue growth has tripled a lot of their success comes from the fact that they came of age alongside the internet and social media. — The power shift has totally changed now, and now it’s about consumer envisaging what they want, and the most successful brands are answering that needs from consumer. And this isn’t just about empowered consumers enabling choice, it’s about holding a brand’s core values its ethos to a higher standard. Kellie started the hashtag #FatatFashionWeek to call out the fashion industry on failing to serve the needs of plus-sized
women. And other women started using it — It started popping up at Fashion Week in London and in Paris. So people they thought it was cool and they thought it was a really cool way to go to this hashtag see what women were doing and
that we do exist in in this industry and looking good while doing it. And research shows that brand ethos is becoming just as important for the bottom line as product quality. Look at the example of Victoria’s Secret. They’ve lost their near monopoly on the lingerie industry. It hasn’t helped that an exec recently made transphobic and fat phobic comments. Sales have plummeted and the runway show views have reached an all-time low. The next step for a lot of these size inclusive brands is to convert mainstream retailers. — The size six woman does not have better taste she just has better options. Alex Waldman and Polina Veksler created Universal Standard, a high quality minimalist brand with sizes from double zero to 40, in store. Not only is Universal Standard providing women of all sizes with a space to shop and check fit, they’ve taken a revolutionary approach to fit. Most brands only use one fit model, which is an actual human being usually a size four or six. Designers then use a formula to scale up and down for size. Universal standard uses eleven fit models to make sure there’s integrity in the fit across all 42 of their sizes. — We dubbed it ‘micrograding.’ We actually looked between each size
sets and we recognized the fact that just because somebody is getting bigger doesn’t mean they’re getting taller Major brands like Goop and J.Crew have approached universal standard to learn about inclusive sizing. J.Crew is building out a line sizes 0 to 32. — We hope that other household name brands would see the value in being inclusive. When it comes down to it size
inclusivity or any kind of inclusivity is not just the right thing to do, at the end of the day, it’s good for the bottom line. How big an opportunity and you know
in terms of dollars are we talking here? —This is hundreds of millions of dollars
worth opportunity. The plus-size market in the US was estimated to be worth 21 billion in 2016. Companies can’t afford to ignore these
shoppers. But the truth is size inclusivity is expensive. Universal Standard employs 10 more fit models than your average brand. More fabric is used and patterns need to be altered. — There’s some very real barriers to entry and doing this well is not that easy. Carla says ultimately it comes down to who and what brands value. —There are negative effects. But I think when people get over that, people thinking very much about short term costs this isn’t about a 5 year payback this isn’t about a 10 year payback this is about payback within a season. because the number of people who can buy that product is exponentially greater. Runways worldwide can’t continue displaying a fantasy that reflects a world for the select few, because clearly change is coming whether brands like it or not. — I hope that is no longer an issue or maybe in 5-10 years it’s just not a talking point and maybe then they can talk about the clothes again.

45 thoughts on “Inclusive fashion is the future of runways and retail

  1. I just subscribed an hour ago and I'm already considering unsubscribing…

    Edit: Yeah this is garbage. I'm out of here.

  2. Ok wether their “unhealthy” or not, can plus size people not have fashion that they like???? Cmon now people y’all are so damn rude

  3. Isn't it bad to encourage obese people to feel good about being obese?

    I'm all for supporting people who are laughed at and helping them achive a more healthy look while still feeling good about themselves but this doesn't help with the overweight and obesity epidemic in the world

  4. Innovation here may be quick. Why? A need exists that is not regulated or even thought about by govt. therefore the govt. will not get involved. Without govt., a free market exists by default. As in the electronics industry where innovation moves quicker than govt. can intervene, cost will continually drop while quality rises. This "free market" is capitalism in action, unacknowledged by the socialists. A little bit of freedom goes a long way.

  5. I love this comment section. Its has everything I was thinking and more. It's not a bad thing to be over the average weight, what is a bad thing is to be unhealthily overweight. We should encourage health lifestyles. We are humans, not paper, we should be able to have our feelings hurt. Not everything is going to go our way.

  6. Women over size 14 make up 68% of the US population? My bullshit alarm just went off. Women only make up 50.8% of the united states population according to US census data, (average over 2013-2017). Please check your facts Quartz, this is just embarrassing. Maybe 68% of females are size 14 and up, but even that figure is hard to believe. Maybe if you narrow it further down from that you can get to a realistic figure, like 68% of middle class women in the United States are size 14 and up. I don't know as I'm not well versed in fashion statistics; but 68% of the United States population is definitely incorrect.

  7. The fact that they’re becoming too big to fit the clothes of ordinary persons should be their wake-up call to change. It’s simply not realistic for mass-market retailers to produce clothing for small percentages of the population (I.e the morbidly and supermorbidly obese)

  8. The comments are so rude. There is a sizable gap in the market for plus size people and of course there will be a business there to create clothes that actually look nice for them. This has nothing to do with their lifestyles. Get over yourselves. Someone's weight is none of your business.

  9. First there were same sex marriages, then cigarettes, now obesity? What's next? Washing your hands with poop and urine derived cosmetics maybe. Maybe eating poop and urine. We're becoming more like animals or even worse.

  10. I'm so conflicted with this. I think everyone should be happy and everyone should love their body, however obesity and unhealthy bodies should not be celebrated (and this includes unhealthily small people too). There's a reason clothing for overweight people has never been a hot topic, because it's not something to be celebrated. I find things like this to promote negative lifestyles and will inevitably lead us to a world where overweight people are the norm. Love yourself, be healthy, respect your body.

  11. It's hard to make fashion for fat people. There are so many different types of fatness. Some people have perky fat bodies, some have droppy fat. Some have fat bellies and some have fat arms. The list goes on and on.

  12. Supporting morbid obesity is not “inclusive” it is unhealthy and disgusting. May as well be “inclusive” with people that cut themselves, cause this is nothing short of self-harm.

  13. the toxic comment sections makes me believe some of these people just want to see fat people wearing potato sacks and not, like, functional and decent looking clothes.

  14. This goddamn comment section requires me to say this: being thin ≠ being healthy. I am 185 cm and 60 kg. This is unhealthy asf, and I need to gain weight to not be on the verge of collapsing from . So for all y'all who wanna say that being fat is "disgusting" and "a problem", you clearly haven't read anything. In ancient times, being overweight was seen as a good thing. Now, people just can't see past their delusional minds. Thank you Quartz for making this video to show how far we still need to go in this regards. The people who run this account, bless your souls, and you deserve more love than whatever you want to call these people who would rather ruin others self esteem than help some of the roots of these issues.

  15. Brands and fashion are designed to be aspirational and show people deemed conventionally attractive. There are more and more overweight people that need clothes so retailers want to make money. I don't think in a lot of cases it comes down to morals or inclusivity it just comes down to brands wanting to make more money.

    The other issue I see is inclusivity means including ages/ethnicities to allow all people to be included as Quartz has said. I really don't think to be overweight should be put into the same categories as pre-fixed unchangeable characteristics as age and ethnicity. Age and ethnicity cannot be changed in an individual whereas weight can. Age and ethnicity also don't damage health as independent factors unlike being overweight.

  16. To be fat does not mean that a person’s sense of style vanishes. Just the same way people of “socially accepted” size(s)/body shapes have options, people outside of that (in all spectrums) need to have those options too. For those who think that answering a demand equals celebration, please take a few seats. We all work with what we have while trying to improve ourselves (in whatever way we can). And if they are, what’s wrong with that? You forget that there are people who are just the size they are (struggle with their weight all their lives), are their size due to health reasons as well as other reasons. So you are saying that they do not deserve to look good. Like looking good discriminates…..SMH….?‍♀️.

  17. All the toxic commenters saying this somehow 'encourages unhealthy lifestyles', have it ass-backwards. If making more clothing for fat people encouraged more people to be fat, then these designers wouldn't be in an underserviced market in the first place.

    Our world is designed to make us heavy – public transit outside of large cities is often terrible, fast food is cheap and everywhere, robots clean our houses and most jobs involve sitting at a computer all day. I'm sure if we designed better transit, taught healthy cooking and nutrition in schools and did physically demanding jobs, things would change. Typical models aren't healthy either, they're often anexoric, too thin is just as bad as too fat.

    People aren't going to change by shaming them. If someone without a perfect body is in clothes that they feel comfortable in and look nice, they're going to be more likely to go outside, move around, meet new people and learn new things.

  18. I don't mind inclusivity…but it annoys me to see size 8 and 18 costs the same…even though the amount of fabric and labour was significantly less in size 8… it makes me selfish but I believe it's unfair

  19. You chose to be extremely overweight. Deal with the consequences. Otherwise make your own fashionable clothing or lose a little weight.

  20. Think this is great, but, we need to deconstruct why brands and designers and even us as woman are condemned to deal with this problem as well as dose the image come from what we want and need or is it an ideal set by the other sex to hold us to a standard of unfair body standards. Also, while glad we are looking at the beautiful plus woman whom rock and should have more choices, but, for me i'm a tall nordic woman, 6" 2" and i'd love a cute shirt or some other items i get to see friends were or even just go to a store like target and buy something simple and less costly but i cannot. So glad i know of some wonderful brands that do carry tall woman's stuff, but would be wonderful to not either have to spend so much or just go to any store and buy something. we really just need to look at the margins as well as the average center we focus way to much on cause those of us whom aren't average, and whom wants to be just average, cause thats not what my tall mother taught me. thanks mom.

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