Katie Sturino (@the12ishstyle) - Instagrammer and inclusive fashion activist - is determined to start a fashion revolution. A couple of years ago, Sturino launched the series #SuperSizeTheLook, where she recreates celebrity outfits, like that of the Kim Kardashian or Meghan Markle’s on her size 12 (UK 14) frame to show fashion and trends are for everyone. And now she's using the hashtag #MakeMySize to call on brands to make clothes that are designed for everyone.
It all began with an Instagram story where the influencer bemoaned designers for a lack of products in her dress size. She said she was tired of overly revealing wrap dresses and blouses that gape. Next, she asked her community if they too would like more choices. The answer? A resounding yes, with 97 per cent asking for more options. With a guerrilla mentality she posted, ‘I can’t tell you the frustration when I’m shopping (and I’m a blogger! In NYC!) So while I applaud brands who are making changes to include more sizes, I’m going see if we can work together to let other designers know that they have a whole demographic that wants to shop. Please tag a brand you wish made your size below! I’m starting the #MakeMySizeMovement!’ And, thus, the revolution began.
'The #MakeMySize movement is about letting brands know that there is an opportunity to serve an entire size range of women who are just trying to wear their clothes and spend their money on the designs.' Katie tells_Grazia_, 'I started this not from the place of being a fashion blogger, but more from the place of a frustrated consumer. I am thrilled that the options are getting better season by season and that many brands are opening their eyes to this issue. I have been frustrated in my shopping experience for years as a size 12,14,16 woman...I still cannot just pop to the shop in New York City to browse. I have to cherry pick certain pieces from certain designers. Hope they have my size in store...or that they even make my size at all!! That’s the point. I’ve been delighted with a clothing find only to have it barely squeeze over my head for years. I’m tired of it.'
After posting an image (above) of herself in an Alice and Olivia dress, which didn't fit the brand replied to Sturino in her Instagram comments. The label said, 'I am getting a lot of comments about this - as a brand we take a lot of pride in designing for and making clothes for a variety of body types - but not every dress can be made to fit every body - that is what when there is a really popular print like this one we make an extreme effort to offer in in other styles too - it comes in a blouse and as a skirt which can better options for women who are more voluptuous on top'.
Sturino's replied saying, 'Your response is getting a poor response because instead of being open to my/our request for moe inclusive sizing, you are suggesting I try and squeeze my shape into a size that does not and has never fit me from your brand. Many brands are working to expand their range in some capacity. I'm a just asking you to consider doing the same.' Later, Alice and Olivia added, 'Your breasts are epic! Your waist is tiny! What about tryin g the skirt and top version of this look? It will fit and give you the same look!'
Sturino's original message was simple, the concept straightforward and yet the road to persuading brands to see that a curvy pound that is waiting to be had is harder than it seems. ASOS, Boohoo and sports brands like Puma and Nike have been increasingly progressive in their sizing, adding not just more options but more to their bottom line by catering for an underprovided market. However, the same can’t be said for luxury brands that rarely go past a UK 14.
A review by PricewaterhouseCoopers at the end of 2017 reported the plus-size market is still considered ‘specialist’, which is ironic when the average dress size of a UK woman in the same year was a size 16 (just on the precipice of the ‘plus’ bracket). For brands the incentive is there, the market is valued at £6.6bn with the size 20+ market alone at £335m. Some retailers have caught on like the e-commerce 11 Honoré, which offers high-end brands like Parable Gurung and Michael Kors up to a UK 24.
This busts the myth that fashion is just for the thin, which is something that the website Premme also noticed. ‘I think too many brands and designers have made their decisions around plus sizes based on their assumptions or their personal prejudices around plus-size bodies, rather than actually listening to the customer base’, Premme’s founder, the influencer Nicolette Mason told Grazia’s fashion and news editor Laura Jordan.
So if the market’s there then what’s stopping the designers? ‘Achieving the perfect fit requires more technical knowledge in grading, ensuring shape and style details are not lost or compromised as the garments get bigger,’ concedes Ralph Tucker, product director at Simply Be, the curve specialist that sells clothes in sizes 12 to 32. However, one would hope that the designer labels charging several hundred and more for a single item would have the same (if not better) resources available that the high street has. As let's not forget it is the high street that’s pulling ahead in this arena.
Making clothes that only serve a small portion of the population cuts out a significant market for brands and designers. Here's hoping Sturino's revolution reminds the whole industry of the power of the curve pound.