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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

At last: New York Fashion Week caters to full-figured women with an all plus-size show

Getty Images

Getty Images

File this one under: It is seriously about time. Next week in Manhattan, a group of American designers will buck the tradition that associates fashion solely with the alarmingly thin and participate in the first ever New York Fashion Week show dedicated to full-figured gals. "Sixty-two percent of women in this country are overweight," says Stephanie Sobel, president of OneStopPlus, the U.S. retail company behind the event. "These are customers who want to be a part of fashion, who want to see women of diverse sizes respected, celebrated, and embraced." Plus-size clothing is generally defined as size 14 or 16 and over.

Though the event is not officially part of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, it will take place September 16th amid major shows by some of the industry's biggest names. Model Emme will host and more than a dozen plus-size labels will showcase their designs.

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The efforts of OneStopPlus are part of a growing trend in the fashion industry to cater to fuller-figured "real" women. In the past year, high-end designers like Marc Jacobs have announced plans for plus-sized lines, stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Forever 21 have expanded sections devoted to the 16-plus crowd, and magazines like Glamour, Harper's Bazaar, and Vogue have all produced stylish photo shoots featuring models who may have once been considered too shapely for their pages. "We've started to see something in the media shifting for sure," says Sobel. "This is a magical moment for plus sizes."

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Perhaps a big reason behind the shift? Financial motivation. "This is an under-served population who possesses huge spending power," explains Gwendolyn DeVoe, a former plus-size model and creator of Full-Figured Fashion, a series of events held in cities all over the country. "Designers are finally acknowledging that plus-size fashion is a billion-dollar industry, they're hearing our voices, and they're ready to move in a more positive direction that's good for all concerned—it's good to be included, because you know what? We've never been invited to the party before."
Daily Mail, BBC

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