Why More Brands Should Take a Note from the Fabletics Extended Sizing Playbook

Fabletics is changing fashion industry standards and proving that beauty cannot be held to impossible standards.

The typical sizing structure is out and the new mantra for a body positive movement is currently riding high. Jenny McQuaile, a documentary filmmaker brings in her latest documentary Straight/Curve. It’s a powerful film with a powerful message, aired on 21st of June on EPIX. The conversation in the fashion industry is likely to change, hopefully putting an end to negative body image and to singling out the “plus size” industry by creating lines with more cohesive, inclusive dimensions in mind.

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In With The New Beauty Standards

The film sends a powerful message to the fashion industry – You need to represent all women, not just the ones that our culture defines as typically appealing, setting new standards of beauty. About 90% of young women feel that designers are not representing them. Presently, the fashion industry is making them feel inferior. They feel that they are non-achievers, because of their bodies. But they will be silenced no more.

Ignored and Unrepresented

The plus size sections in retail outlets is typically a small space at the back of the store. The styles and number of dresses are limited; the trends are old and unattractive. The clothes are not featured in ads or in the shop window. Many designers are opposed to creating fashionable clothes in bigger sizes as some who are following this trend are receiving backlash from fans and industry leaders alike.

The ‘Ideal’ Size

They limited their best designs only for the ‘ideal’ sizes or ‘womens department’ sizes (0-16). In short, the fashion industry has been intentionally ignoring the extended size woman as she does not fit the definition of beauty that our culture is accustomed to, and therefore is not promoted as part of a line’s branding. Well, all this is about to change, and Fabletics is one fashion brand that’s leading the charge.

Fabletics Body Positivity Message

Fabletics is an active wear brand backed by celebrity, Kate Hudson. Fans have gone crazy lately after the brand recently started offering plus size clothing up to 3X sizes for their sport designs.

Fabletics is expanding into new territories with its extended sizing active wear. Earlier, the brand used to offer sport wear ranging from XXS to XXL. With the new spring line, the range extends more on both sides of the spectrum, from 1X to 3X. Customers are delighted, and why wouldn’t they be?

Normalizing New Beauty Standards

Fabletics is sending a clear and resounding message that women of any size and any type of body can be fit and look attractive. The oversized or undersized women need not feel a sense of rejection any more. They too can now access the brand’s leggings, their street wear or their sports wear. And more than that, Fabletics has also added ‘plus size’ models to their branding campaigns, normalizing this body type instead of placing into an ‘other’ category. This normalizing in media is critical to developing a sizing system and positive body image promotion for women of all shapes and sizes. Women want to see other women who look or are shaped similarly to themselves in advertisement so that these body types are not only normalized, but also defined within the realms of ‘beauty’.

The designs have been tweaked. They are specifically made for plus size women, not to be confused with scaled up, straight size wear. It’s stylish and affordable and makes women of all sizes and shapes a part of their brand community. Fabletics is aiming at making all women feel confident and comfortable in workout and lifestyle dresses. It’s inspiring all women to feel good about their bodies and the way they look.

Demi Lovato, Body Positivity Icon, Joins the Fabletics Team

Of course, Demi Lovato must be mentioned here. She’s done an amazing job of sending the body positivity message, constantly reminding you to love yourself. Her strongest statements so far, “ I’m more than a number and a jean size”. “Life is too short to worry about what others think!! Tell yourself you’re beautiful daily." Adding her to the Fabletics team has been key to extending this conversation about positive body image and creating a more inclusive

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Leading Light

With Fabletics leading the way, we can now expect others to follow suit. It will change the way people think about what constitutes or represents the perfect or ideal body. The new body positivity movement aims at making every woman feel comfortable in her own skin, regardless of her body size.

Media Misrepresentation

The problem is not a simple one to solve. The media represents the ideal woman as the one represented as the ‘standard’ of beauty we are accustomed to seeing – tall, thin and, youthful. But beauty spans far more than the small spectrum of size, age and height that the fashion industry has focused on. A body is not bad or wrong or even ugly, just because it doesn’t have the ‘look’ the fashion industry advocates.

It’s up to designers and stylists and the entire fashion industry to offer a diversity of images and represent women of all sizes.

In the Spotlight

Many clothing retailers are now focusing on incorporating plus size fashion into the scope of their entire line, thanks to body positivity bloggers and of course, with Fabletics leading the way. The blogging revolution for plus size fashion was pioneered by famous bloggers like Marie Denee (The Curvy Fashionista), Chastity Garner (Garner Style) and many others advocating and mentoring the movement. Fabletics and others are setting the bar high for a diverse representation of fashion wear.

Shaking Things Up

The problem seems to be wholly with the fashion industry. It is attached to the fixated an old-fashioned view that high fashion is only for a small scope of women.

Catering to only a small section of the women population and ignoring the majority of plus sized women doesn’t make sense financially. Designers can actually profit far more by making fashionable clothes in bigger sizes.

Strange Conundrum

It is ironic to note that with most women in the United States fitting the plus size category are only able to access a sliver of the dress market (there are about 100 million plus size women in America). The average woman in America wears sizes between 16 and 18, says a Washington University research. There’s plenty of money that fashion houses can make here, but designers lack the imagination and are too fixated on current beauty standards to make the clothes for the majority of plus sized women. Most of them max out at 12 and the options are paltry, dated and few.

Changing Industry Standards is Key

In order to change industry standards, media coverage needs to be clear and intentional in including women of all sizes, ethnicities and ages to create a more cohesive ideal of beauty. Designers have been expanding sizes to create more inclusion, and this is also a key step. Women who wear sizes that aren’t in the current sizing system are being given the opportunity to showcase fashion made by designers who create clothes for all sizes, which is giving them the platform they need to demonstrate that fashion should be ubiquitous. Now the fashion industry needs to take a page out of Fabletics media efforts and start including women of all sizes in their advertising, runways, and in their designs to create a healthy perspective of beauty and an accessible view of fashion.

Inclusivity and Body Positivity Become a Factor in the Active Wear Industry

With its headquarters in California, Fabletics has its thumb on the pulse of the industry’s activewear styles. By expanding into extended sizes, Fabletics is inspiring women of all sizes to become active. In addition to plus sizes, the company is also making activewear that women will be excited to wear. If successful, other activewear brands could join the extended wear market, giving women more choices.

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