Recommended reading
So, there was a really thought-provoking article in today's Wall Street Journal, about why designers don't make bigger sizes. It makes a good point: Considering the average American woman is a size 14, why don't most fashion designers make anything bigger than a 12? (Or, in many instances, a 10?) The designers' going argument is that bigger clothes require more fabric and thus cost more money, but, really, I think it's because size is the one prejudice it's still okay to have. I mean, it's not okay, but it's more socially acceptable than, say, racism. Which doesn't make it right. God forbid people with less-than-perfect bodies walk around in clothes that jeopardize the artistry of an artist's, er, designer's vision.

But the article doesn't focus on value judgments; what is focuses on is the missed economic opportunity. Clothing companies are businesses after all, and while image is incredibly important in this day and age, so is making money. And with all the size-12-and-up women in this country, not making clothing to fit them is, well, pretty stupid. There are plenty of women out there who want to spend $200 on jeans and $500 on a dress (the article spotlights Paige Premium Denim and eveningwear designer Tadashi Shoji as two of the few companies with an extended range of sizes); as of now, they have very few options.

5 comments

Anonymous said...

I thought you were speaking of high end. I don't know much about Paige Premium Denim but I know high end designers also do not produce larger sizes because the higher the income the smaller the waist. Also people (especially wealthy) from other countries are also smaller. D&G, Proenza, Chloe are not going to start producing large sizes.

Anonymous said...

anon if that were completely true, salon z would not exist. i was also reading about some high end brand doing plus size couture on the low for saudi princesses.

i am a 14/16, there's an occasional mark jacobs or nanette lepore piece i can get into but if they actually made my size, they could have a lot of my money. all my stalking fantasies involve convincing nanette lepore to make larger sizes.

Anita said...

I would love a chance to own designer duds--they don't make them in my size. I'm short and stubby and feel completely unloved in the clothing department. I shell out big moola for jewelry and accessories. If I had the opportunity, much more of my money would go into fantastic clothes. Instead, I get the 'look' whenever I walk into a store and fondle the clothes. That knowing, 'you can't wear anything here, what are you doing?' look. It's depressing.

Cheryl said...

Anon @ 8:50, that kind of close-minded thinking is what the article is trying to address. I know plenty of fuller-figured women who would gladly shell out designer prices for designer clothes that fit them.

Anonymous said...

I understand the frustration and resentment towards desginers' refusal to make large sizes, but let's also not forget logic.

It actually does cost more to make larger sizes, although it is only part of the reason. Think about it, you could make a size 0 dress from maybe 1-2 yards of a certain fabric, while a size 14/larger will easily run you 3/4 yards. The article clearly states that even Tadashi charges more for his plus-size clothing.

Also, I wouldn't go as far to compare this to racism, because clothing design, for some, is an art form, and it's up to the designer to choose his canvas. Afterall, this is America, and freedom of expression is still a civil liberty.

Finally, I will say, and I'm sure I will get negative responses, but if you're let's say the average american woman, about 5'4" and are larger than a size 14, then I'm sorry, but you have to do something about it. It's just not healthy. It's perfectly fine to be happy with yourself at any size, but that doesn't take away the health concerns.

So, please encourage confidence, but not ignorance.