When envisioning fashion and its underlying connotations, terms like “exclusive” or “aspirational” often come to mind. However, the plus-size community is trailblazing a new narrative–one that fosters inclusivity and empowerment. They are carving out a safe space where people can unabashedly be themselves and proudly occupy space in an industry that has, for too long, marginalized them. As society becomes a more inclusive world these are some of the qualities that the plus size community has built their community on and something that we can all embrace for a better future.
As with most marginalized groups, the plus-size industry is rooted in community. Being a part of a community provides marginalized individuals a collective voice and the opportunity to affect change. They do not thrive on exclusion, but emerge more powerful because of supportive energy. This sense of community provides a space for individuals to connect with others who share similar experiences and challenges. This community transcends the desire for merely inclusive fashion; it signifies a profound shift in how brands demonstrate their values beyond clothing.
Being authentic, means to be real. To be real, takes vulnerability. The beauty and fashion industry has thrived off of harmful beauty standards, but the plus-size community has removed that false mask of perfection. The fear of perceived flaws is being challenged. When the plus-size community sees a fat roll, it's not ugly, it's beautiful, it's genuine, it's me. The fashion and beauty industries lean into this vulnerability and foster authentic conversations.
While community is important, plus-size women are not a singular customer, rather than a spectrum of unique individuals, with varying tastes and body types. The concept of trends in today’s society has given rise to a phenomenon where individuality is often overshadowed. This is particularly evident in the age of social media, where these trends spread rapidly to an extensive and diverse audience, amplifying their impact. So the easiest thing for brands to do is to treat marginalized groups as a singular customer, but the plus-size community is not one big monolith. This community is made up of many different aesthetics, budgets and market niches that reflect this diversity. Celebrate individuality.
Through a collective commitment to these values, the industry can drive positive change and foster a sense of empowerment for every individual. By recognizing and celebrating the unique beauty and worth of each person, brands can inspire a profound shift towards a more accepting and uplifting society. This journey towards inclusivity is not only transformative for brands but also a catalyst for building a world where every person feels valued, respected and celebrated for who they are.