I never mentioned why I was back in NYC last week! The honest truth? There was a superhero gathering and I was invited.
ModCloth is pushing boundaries and changing the rules of the fashion world through their new and improved plus line, and I was honored to attend their “summit” on the subject. I know you all feel sorry for my long days of travel to and from Manhattan... It's such a sacrifice to spend my precious time meeting incredible women, sipping wine, and discussing the future of fat girl clothes... but someone has to do it. I bit the bullet for you last week (you’re welcome) and I’d love to share a few things I learned while there.
(I wore a hemmed version of this dress and all photos are thanks to ModCloth's adorable photographer.)
I’ve always loved ModCloth, because, y’know… who doesn’t? This perfect fit n’ flare dress covered in cats is proof that if you don’t enjoy ModCloth, you don’t enjoy life. To be real though, I didn't expect to leave the event inspired, much less in love. The behind the scenes story of plus clothing is eyeopening and this particular company's dedication to style equality caught my attention within the first 15 minutes.
I've always asked: why don’t we see more plus clothes? Why the hell isn’t the market for "larger ladies that want to look fly" 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've heard from other designers as well; it's a significant issue. Production companies that make plus clothing are few and far in between and usually do not have the know-how to make properly fitting garments. Period. ModCloth didn't throw up their hands, though. They have an in-house specialist (who is such a bad ass babe) and her job is dedicated to making sure that fat girl frocks are made sans armpit gap, square boobs, or sleeves that cut off circulation. They essentially send their own design "kits" to the outlying companies to ensure we receive quality clothing . THAT is how committed they are to Awesome. Admirable, amiright?
"Since 2002, ModCloth has been the premier online shopping destination for all things vintage-inspired — from women’s apparel to retro home décor, the site offers unique items sourced from designers around the world. Studies show that the average American woman wears a size 14, which is the size cap for many U.S. retailers. Now, ModCloth is offering a wider range of clothing sizes (including 16/18-28/30) to ensure a seamless social shopping experience for the entirety of their community. “Our community is asking for more sizes, and we’re thrilled to provide them,” says ModCloth Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer Susan Gregg Koger. “No matter her size, shape, or style, we want to help every woman find designs that delight her and make her feel like the best version of herself.” ModCloth conducted an online consumer survey featuring a representative sample of more than 5,000 U.S. women of mixed sizes ages 15-65. The study concluded that a large portion of the market wears sizes that fall into what the industry defines as both standard and plus sizes, showcasing how a large portion of the market falls somewhere between the two. Additionally, many of those women are avid online shoppers.
- More U.S. women report wearing a size 16 dress than a size 2 and 0 combined.
- ⅓ of U.S. women wear a mix of what is considered standard and plus sizes.
- 57% of U.S. women wear at least some clothing in sizes 16 and above.
- U.S. women who primarily wear plus sizes are twice as likely than those who don’t to shop online daily.
- U.S. women who primarily wear sizes 16 and above indicate that they buy over 50% more of their clothing online compared to women who only wear standard sizes.
- Almost ½ of U.S. women who predominantly wear size 16 and above report having bought clothing online in the past 6 months, compared to approximately ⅓ of those who never wear sizes 16 and above.
There was also a lot of discussion about the online presentation of this new project which fascinated me just as much as the production. I’ll share their entire "summer look-book" at a later time when I can talk about the political statement it makes but I’ll share this bit with you now: ModCloth's all-inclusive attitude that plus ladies deserve the same options as “regular” sized ladies may SEEM simplistic…but it’s fucking revolutionary.
I also had a personal moment of clarity while there, but that is going to need it's own post as well. I think I'll call it "Schrödinger's Con" or something equally weird to make you curious about a topic that most certainly won't change your life, though it changed mine. Pins and needles, I know. After the small blogger get together, ModCloth opened up the space to the public for a cute-as-hell "Pop-Up Shop" where you could come rifle through racks of dresses, drool over shark printed leggings, hang with cute NY girls, and take pictures in a designated "Selfie Square". There was a line several blocks long for a reason.
While I appreciated the invite to participate in this discussion, I am even more grateful for a company that dedicates it's time to fighting for our right to party. If you have my back, I have yours, and that is why I'll be a ModClother for life.
What are your thoughts on the lack of plus vendors? What can be done about it? What is a potential solution and where do we start?