Plus-Size Fashion Industry Begins to Take Charge

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Gabi Gregg, Chastity Garner Valentine, and Nicolette Mason. Image courtesy of MCT Campus.

Angelica Dameus, Staff Writer

Within the past few decades, our beautiful America has grown. Literally.

Today, the average American woman is a size 14 in clothing. Unfortunately, representation of that statistic in the fashion industry is lacking, to say the least. On the plus side (pun intended), a recent surge of body appreciation and positivity has swept through our society, and the plus-size industry is riding the wave for good.

Representation in mainstream and “outlet” brands like Hollister and American Eagle was scarce before now, and when there was an abundance of options for bigger women, they were usually way overpriced. Even the “plus-size” modeling industry had incredible beauty standards, such as the fact that any model bigger than a size 6 was considered plus, despite the national average being more than twice that. Fast forward to today, when we have brands like H&M and Forever 21 extending their size options to 22.

Lane Bryant, one of the most established and influential clothing retailers in the plus-size industry, is killing the game.

Lane Bryant launched a new campaign called ThisBody. It features model fan favorites like Ashley Graham, who was recently featured on one of three covers of Sports Illustrated’s latest issue, and newcomer favorite Precious Lee, the main face of the campaign. In the magazine, Precious poses in a white bikini next to the words: “This body is made to be uncovered.”

“I feel like it will help inspire people to do things that they didn’t think they were able to do, and to see that there are different forms of beauty and actually celebrate it. To be a size-14 girl with short hair and a bikini in Sports Illustrated? It’s important for me to remember that this is something really special. I’m so proud to be part of it,” said Lee in an interview with PopSugar.com.

Needless to say, barriers are being broken in America. In 2015, the industry clocked in at a whopping $17 billion-dollar worth. Businesses are finally starting to see how beneficial body representation and positivity can be for everyone involved. We live in a world where you can marry who you want, and a black president is about to finish his second term, so it’s about time.

 

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