Tim Gunn, the longtime Project Runway alum and mentor, has recently written an opinion piece about how fashion has failed to produce beautiful and figure flattering clothing lines for plus sized woman.
Gunn, a fashion educator and author, claims that the industry has completely turned its back on designing clothes for plus sized woman. He comments that while he was a chief creative officer for Liz Claiborne, he had women who wore a size 12 or larger ask him how they can wear stylish clothes when designers ignore making clothes for their shape.
Gunn also commented that this year’s Fashion Week will result in the same type of exclusion for plus size woman. He also stated that in the 2015’s NY Fashion Week, Marc Jacobs and Sophie Theallet featured a plus size model for their fashion shows, and Ashley Gram premiered her plus size lingerie line. Although, these designers, Gunn claims, are the only exceptions in the industry and others are not willing to follow their example.
Washington State University has recently reported that that the average American woman wears a size 16 or 18 today, yet Gunn claims that these facts aren’t helping companies and designers evolve their clothing lines to include these women.
Gunn also states that it is a shame designers don’t see the million’s plus sized women as an opportunity to make more money and create a new fashion forward collection. He also claims that in the last three years, plus sized women are spending more money for clothes much faster than their skinny counterparts. Gunn has estimated that there could be a 20.4 billion dollar profit the industry could earn if there were more plus size clothing options for women.
According to a Bloomberg analysis team, only 8.5 percent of Nordstrom dresses this May where available to purchase in a plus size. On J.C. Penny’s website, only 16 percent of dresses were plus size and Nike.com had only five items in total that could be ordered plus size.
Gunn reportedly discussed the plus sized issue with many designers and merchandisers and he claims most of them have all commented about their disinterest to design plus sized clothes. Karl Lagerfeld, one of the head designers of Chanel, commented to Gunn in 2009 that no one wants to see curvy woman. Gunn also claims that Mike Jeffries, the chief executive of Abercrombie & Fitch claimed in the past that they are going after the all attractive, American kid who is no larger than a size 10.
This is why designers have failed their customers, Gunn commented, because women of all sizes can look fabulous just like any other small sized woman, if only the industry would give them a chance. They key, Gunn claims, is giving a plus size woman a flattering silhouette instead of expecting them to go a size up in their fashion retail stores.