Story by ModCloth friends are some of the most motivated peeps we know, so we are continuing our exciting year-long campaign highlighting them. We’re calling it #inspiredbyyou, and it’s just that — useful, whimsical blog content that’s inspired by our ModCloth customers, readers, and beyond. Each month, we’re tapping fabulous storytellers and asking them to share their expertise right here on the blog. What better way to celebrate the ModCloth community than to showcase the incredible work being created by them? This month we connected with blogger, baker, and advocator Jes Baker. With ModCloth’s 1-year anniversary of plus, we thought she’d be the perfect person to chat with about the state of the industry. Here’s what she had to say:
Image via Liora K Photography
Last year, I packed my cowboy boots, way too many dresses, and a boatload of enthusiasm and headed to NYC for ModCloth’s Plus Size Summit of Awesome. I added that last part to the name, but it’s definitely true. While I sat there among other bloggers and ladies of influence, I learned something that changed the way I viewed plus fashion forever.
Before I explain, let me say this: I am notorious for complaining about the lack of sexy/cute/fashionable clothing for larger ladies. Every summer, I search for swimsuits for the bigger gals and end up banging my head against the wall at the inequality. There simply aren’t as many options as there are for straight sizes, and much of the clothing that is available is limited in style. For example, there isn’t a plethora of plus bikinis, and the cute swimsuits we do find come in similar styles. Usually with skirts. So what happens if you don’t like skirts?
This always prompts the question: Why don’t we see more plus clothes? Why isn’t the market for “larger ladies that want to look amazing” being recognized? The complex answer is stigma, and the direct consequence is that there simply are not enough vendors to make them. This is something I learned at the Plus Summit, and something I’ve heard from other designers as well.
But here’s the interesting thing — plus size women have A LOT of buying power. Manufacturers are starting to realize this, so we are seeing a little bit of an increase in fashionable clothing, though not enough (and certainly not enough in the swimwear department). BUT WE CAN CHANGE THIS. I am convinced that a contributing factor to the lack of options is the fact that we’re still not comfortable in our bodies. The demand for slimming-tucking-trimming-hiding-camouflaging clothing still outweighs the wear-whatever-we-want clothing, and this won’t change until we use our buying power to show otherwise.
We need to show that WE LOVE OUR BODIES AND WE WANT ALL THE SEXY OPTIONS. We can do this by supporting companies that stylishly dress larger women (ModCloth and many others), by purchasing exactly what we want (the way we want), and by being vocal about what we’d like to see. Never underestimate the power of consumer demands; we have the ability to shift the fashion industry in a big (heh) way.
Find what you love. Wear what you love. Show the world. Work it. Flaunt it, and watch more options appear. Let’s empower ourselves and show the world that we are confident in the fact that our bodies are perfect just the way they are. And y’know what? That’s the honest truth.