Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

What Big Girls Want

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

What Big Girls Want

Article excerpt

Byline: Rebecca Gonsalves

TALKING about fashion in terms of size - be it plus size or size zero - is difficult. It's far too easy to forget that, rather than just clothes, we are talking about the women who wear them - women who come in all shapes and sizes.

In his 1988 movie Hairspray, John Waters brilliantly skewered the plus-size fashion of the 60s with the creation of the Hefty Hideaway, a store catering to

women size 12-26 (equivalent to Australian 14-28) who "still want the glamour".

And while there have been great developments in the plus-size market (size 18-30; the average Australian dress size is 14-16), especially in recent years, some people still think there is a stigma to the very word "plus".

Model Stefania Ferrario and actress and author Ajay Rochester have been campaigning for the industry to "drop the plus" when talking about models and clothing.

Actually, there has been something of a rebrand already, as many modern labels adopt the word "curve" - a less loaded way of identifying their largest


It's something Ferrario's agency Models1 does, too. It's had a "curve" department for four years and sees demand for models who are size 12-18 growing at a "phenomenal rate".

But it's not simply a case of changing the name to erase a problem.

One of the difficulties women on the larger end of the spectrum have long faced is a feeling that they are overlooked by brands - and according to data from Kantar Retail market researchers, one in five is a size 18 or above.

Plus-sized clothing has often been a frumpy, shapeless affair, with cheaper fabrics and ugly prints; not encouraging to someone who loves fashion but is resigned to feeling it's not for them.

Today, though, those customers will find their options are increasingly open.

Many brands have embraced their larger customers and concentrated on improving the offering in their largest sizes.

But, while some popular brands do so in their main collections, the majority of plus-size clothing is created and marketed as a

separate entity.

This can be seen as troubling - business analysts Verdict found that 60. …

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