#plussizeplease Five Years Later

I cannot believe it has been half a decade since I launched my #plussizeplease hashtag movement. It simultaneously feels like not that long ago and ages ago.  One thing is certain: Plus fashion was in a very different place half a decade ago.  I could count on two hands the brands I wanted to wear at all, and even fewer that were consistently putting out fashion forward options.  The data was already pointing to the vast untapped potential of the plus fashion market, but very few brands were willing to take the plunge.  The designer fashion options in plus were pretty much non-existent, and even the fast fashion design, collabs never went beyond straight size.   

Five years later, as I look back on the hashtag and subsequent press coverage in the New York Times, Buzzfeed, Cosmopolitan, Nightline and more, I am realizing that so many of the brands that were directly requested by readers using the #plussizeplease tag are now offering plus!  Importantly, not just one type of aesthetic has expanded: Brands from Loft to Dolls Kill to Anthropologie have added plus.  Part of the reason I created the hashtag was to give a voice to all sorts of plus size customers – because, as I so often have to remind brands, plus size women are not a monolith.  Just as Talbots and Helmut Lang customers both exist in the straight size market, and they are not the same “girl”, there are all types of styles, budgets, and aesthetics represented amongst plus size people.  I saw my goal of providing a voice with the hashtag materialize in a really cool way as plus size people across the board stated their #plussizeplease requests, including ones I never would have thought of myself (like women asking Hot Topic to extend their Maleficient merchandise to plus sizes).  Even better, some of the brands responded quickly to the requests (not an easy feat in the clothing production world, where decisions are often made many months in advance).   It was heartening to see forward motion towards more inclusive sizing and at many different levels, from small independent brands to multi-national corporations, but I knew the very nature of fashion meant it would take some time.  Since then I’ve been working at pushing the industry forward, both here with Curvily and behind the scenes in fashion, most recently as a consultant.  I’ve witnessed the changes as they happened, but I tend to be focused on looking forward, so it is striking to look back and see all the #plussizeplease wins.  
From fast fashion to designer labels straight off the Fashion Week runways, a growing list of brands have answered the call for #plussizeplease.  90% of the time when I see the announcement of a brand expanding into plus, I do a little mental fist pump because it is yet another #plussizeplease being fulfilled, including the recent announcements of J.Crew, Reformation and Tanya Taylor adding plus. 
There has been forward movement across the board: Although the hashtag was initially conceived of as a way to get straight size labels to offer plus, as the industry has picked up steam, many of those longstanding plus size brands have vastly improved their style offerings (Lane Bryant is one that I regularly wear now because I genuinely like the pieces, not just because it is what is available).  Some have also extended their size ranges, no longer stopping at size 24.  Brands that initially offered very limited plus size options have expanded their selections to be more comparable with the straight size offerings (ModCloth is another example).  Designers like Cynthia Vincent have switched their focus to plus (her new label Baacal, worn above, is one of my favorite things to happen in a while!)
We are still far from parity with the thousands and thousands of brands available in straight sizes, but I feel like we are on the precipice of a real sea change.  I’m going to keep working to move things forward, and I always want to make sure I am representing what my readers are looking for, so comment here or on Instagram to tell me what you want to see next!