Tim Gunn Just Dropped a Huge Truth Bomb About Plus-Size Women and the Fashion Industry

“At New York Fashion Week, which began Thursday, the majority of American women are unlikely to receive much attention, either,” he writes. “If past years are any indication of what’s to come, plus-size looks will be in short supply. Sure, at New York Fashion Week in 2015, Marc Jacobs and Sophie Theallet each featured a plus-size model, and Ashley Graham debuted her plus-size lingerie line. But these moves were very much the exception, not the rule.”

Tim is quick to note that he “loves” the American fashion industry, but it also has a lot of problems. “One of them is the baffling way it has turned its back on plus-size women,” he says.

He cites research from Washington State University that found the average American woman wears between a size 16 and a size 18. “There are 100 million plus-size women in America, and, for the past three years, they have increased their spending on clothes faster than their straight-size counterparts,” he says. “There is money to be made here ($ 20.4 billion, up 17 percent from 2013). But many designers—dripping with disdain, lacking imagination, or simply too cowardly to take a risk—still refuse to make clothes for them.”

Tim also says the options for plus-size women at major department stores are “paltry” compared to what is available for smaller women. “I’ve spoken to many designers and merchandisers about this,” he writes. “The overwhelming response is, ‘I’m not interested in her.’ Why? ‘I don’t want her wearing my clothes’…‘She won’t look the way that I want her to look.’”

Tim continues: “There is no reason larger women can’t look just as fabulous as all other women.” He points out that designers just need to figure out the right silhouette, proportion, and fit, regardless of a woman’s size or shape. “Done right, our clothing can create an optical illusion that helps us look taller and slimmer,” he says. “Done wrong, and we look worse than if we were naked.”

But, Tim says, it’s possible for designers to change. “This is now the shape of women in this nation, and designers need to wrap their minds around it,” he writes. “I profoundly believe that women of every size can look good. …There’s an art to doing this. Designers, make it work.” #Preach.


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