Closing The Gap
“Inclusive sizing is not synonymous with plus size,” says Gita Omri, a size inclusive fashion designer, “it is synonymous with womenswear”. There seems to be a lot of confusion and misuse of the term “size inclusive”. While some may think it is interchangeable with “plus size” they in fact are missing the point.
It is unclear when or who decided to separate women into two size categories, but it seems to have been the standard for at least the last 40 years. On one side you have “standard” or “straight” sizing running 0-14, though how a person can be a size 0 is a question for another time, and “plus” or delicately put “curve” running 18 and over. Size 16 seems to not really belong to one group or the other as it straddles the line between the two. Ironically this underserved and almost neglected size represents the average woman in the United States. With the average size being right in the middle and in fact creeping up towards an 18, shouldn’t that be the “standard?”
Over the last decade we have seen an increase in representation for the more voluptuous women in both plus sized and size inclusive brands, but what is the difference? Plus sized brands have emerged to provide fashionable trendy clothing to the severely underserved women requiring extended sizes, while inclusively sized brands hoped to bridge the gap between the two and remove the segregation between the size groups.
Gita Omri, a womenswear designer who launched a luxury collection at NYFW for SS23 offers sizes 0-30. She says,” I don’t want to be called plus size because that is not accurate. Sizes 0-14 are just as important to me as the larger sizes and get just as much attention to detail and fit. I just want to create womenswear for women regardless of size at a luxury price point.”
Unfortunately, we are at a point in time where the term “inclusive sizing” is misused. We have seen straight sized brands (0-14) extending their sizes to include 16 and 18 and call themselves “inclusive”, and we have seen the opposite. We have seen a number of plus size brands (16 and up) add sizes as low as 10 and market themselves as inclusive.
What’s happening in the fashion industry with the misuse of these terms is comparable to greenwashing, where companies are giving misleading information on the sustainability of their brand to deceive consumers. Being inclusive has become to some a marketing tactic or a way to stay in the current conversation and to others it has become the new PC way of saying plus size. Either way these are the brands who are size-washing and more education needs to be available so consumers are not misled. On the other hand, who decides what is the right format to be considered inclusive? How many sizes must a brand carry to fit the term?
“If there is a brand worth emulating in this space,” says Gita, “its Universal Standard. Although they are not in the luxury bracket, they should absolutely be the standard for sizing, and for inclusivity. It would be a dream to one day collaborate with them.”
While Gita is proud of being a size inclusive designer, and presented her SS23 collection on models in both sizes 2 and 20, she also says, “I want this to be the norm and not be my story.”Many people were disappointed in the overall decrease of plus size representation on the SS23 runways. A recent report by InStyle showed that only 19% of the designers this year at NYFW produced a size 20 or above. Gita’s hope is that there is more true size inclusivity represented in luxury collections and on the runways even though it costs the designers more, because it matters.