Australian Plus Size Brands!
While it might feel like we’re slowly getting there, right now there’s still a definite lack of plus size brands in Australia. Our nation’s lack of size diversity is noticeable and frustrating.
Though high fashion brands worldwide are generally slow on the uptake when it comes to adding curve sizes to their lines, most budget brands have been adopting plus size womens clothing for years. Brands in Australia such as Sportsgirl, Kmart, Target, Big W, and Cotton On are bringing bigger girls gorgeous casual fashion and activewear. Yet other Aussie brands refuse to extend their size range.
What Constitutes a Curve Range?
Curve ranges usually start at a size 16, most of them ending at 18 or 20, which is hardly enough to cover most plus size women, literally! Yes, we can hear the chorus of “stop complaining, they already have a curve range”, but the buck shouldn’t stop at a few sizes deep. It’s as if they’re saying “that’ll do” when they reach size 18 or 20 and it has a lot to do with how curve women are viewed.
If you’ve ever been on social media, you’ll know that curves are in fashion which has a huge impact on fashion itself. Curvy girls are more confident than ever and with the body positive movement gaining momentum, it’s helped a lot of size 16+ girls boost their self esteem online. But there’s a difference in fashion’s eagerness to involve these women. The main difference is they draw a line between a ‘curvy hourglass girl’ and a ‘big plus size girl’. An hourglass figure is classed as sexy and any other shape can get stuffed apparently.
While it’s inherently difficult for women who aren’t cinched at the waist to find clothing, it’s still just as hard for size 16+ women of any shape to see size representation, especially on the runway.
Why is it so Difficult to Shop for Curves?
Last Australian Fashion Week, we noticed an obvious and massive gap that size diversity should be filling. Out of 70 brands featured across the week, only a handful showcased models above a size 16. Women size 16+ have disposable incomes, want to wear the latest trends, and want to feel confident in their clothes, so why not give it to them? High fashion brands in Australia aren’t offering curve sizes because they simply don’t want that ‘look’ wearing their clothes on the streets. It’s not because it’s not profitable because the reality is that plus size womens clothing is a gold mine.
There’s no denying that we all love a bit of retail therapy. We enjoy taking the time to go to the shopping centre and search through racks, sifting through endless fabrics to find that perfect outfit. There’s something cathartic about the distraction that fashion shopping provides. There’s a kind of beauty and art that offers a tangible, wearable answer to a pure form of self expression.
For plus size women needing to shop, it comes as a shock to realise that many curve sizes are unavailable in stores, offering online browsing only. It’s hard enough shopping retail as an 8-12, needing to try on various sizes and brands to find what fits right; so imagine having to resort to online shopping as a size 16+. You’ll have to search for hours to pick the items you want, measure yourself against a ‘size guide’, receive the package, open it to find the fit/size is wrong, send it back, and do it all over again!
You’d need to shop weeks in advance for an event, and the therapeutic ritual of physical shopping is stripped away.
So, Is There Any Hope for Plus Size Women?
Thankfully, brands and individuals are taking matters into their own hands when it comes to creating stunning fashion that stands up for curvy women everywhere. A nd they’re not stopping at size 18! Rather than relying on higher fashion houses to create change and offer inclusive sizes to their existing lines, there are brands out there designed for curves.
It’s a lucrative force to be reckoned with, and we’ve found some amazing (mostly) Australian plus size brands that are pioneering large sizes. Take a look below at who we recommend.
Plus Size Labels to Try – Casual Wear
Barja The Label
Carrying size from 12 to 26, another reason to love Barja is that it’s a middle eastern name after the founder’s heritage. The label is a carefully curated range of mix and match clothing that works much like a capsule collection providing you with all the basics on which you can build. On trend and with each garment given a woman’s name Barja scores high on our list for diversity along with cool clobber.
Tired to trying to find a good fit? You’ll love Commonry – it’s focus is all about good fitting clothes. They don’t favour one size fits all. Rather they are focussed on getting sizing and fit exactly right. with an eye for structure and tailoring, Commonry’s pieces are designed to streamline your silhouette while providing top level comfort. they have the full range of casual wear, from shorts and tees to sweats and accessories and dresses. They regard conventional sizing as unrealistic. It’s no wonder they’re growing so fast.
Monica the Label
Relative newcomer Monica the Label has earned it’s stripes, having been around since 2013 and catering for sizes 6- 24 one of the most diverse size ranges on the market. You can’t miss Monica’s message on instagram, usually featuring two women, one a size 6 and one plus size. Featuring loungewear, tracksuits and dresses that are not afraid of pretty and vibrant prints, Monica began her label out of pure frustration at not being able to find fashionable clothing in her size. Deciding to make her own fashion label, this savvy fashionista was well aware that she wasn’t the only plus size Aussie looking for unfrumpy clothing and voila- Monica the Label was born!
It’s as if Harlow heard our frustration about the lack of diversity at Australian Fashion Week and they answered the call by being proud to have showcased the most diverse fashion runway at Melbourne Fashion Week. Offering clothing in sizes 12-26, Harlow’s range includes outerwear, knit wear, skirts, tops, maxi dresses and accessories. Harlow is hell-bent on making sure that shopping for clothes is an enjoyable experience for plus size women and, bonus points – Harlow are MADE IN AUSTRALIA!
Boho is no longer the sole domain of those of slight or slender builds. Ever comfy, it’s the perfect style for plus size women and it’s a bit of a surprise that Boho labels haven’t generally extended their ranges to size 22 as Adrift has done. Ranging from size 8 – 22, slips and camis also feature in their range, along with denim jackets. Block colours, prints and florals, Adrift offers heaps of matching or complimentary accessories in jewellery, bags and footwear. This is one of those unique plus-size brands where you can organise your complete outfit from head to toe from these guys!
Denims, tees , uber-cool jackets and dresses in sizes are all here for you from sizes 12-26. It’s owners have an Australian fashion pedigree bred from designing lines for Myer and David Jones and it shows. 17 Sundays has been featured in Vogue, US Vogue and countless fashion editorials. They’ve achieved what they set out to do, create designs that are not featured for being plus size but for their intrinsic fashion merit. 17 Sundays is of Australia’s plus size fashion brands that everyone should know about.
Featured Image by Harlow Australia
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