It’s a fabulous time to be a full-figured woman. Over the past few years, more and more designers have begun focusing specifically on outfitting real women with garments that not only work well on curvy bodies, but also highlight and enhance them. In fact, Spring 2018 was a record season for body diversity in fashion, with 93 plus-sized models walking the runways (up from just 30 in Fall 2017 and 16 in Spring 2017).
Moreover, the plus-sized women’s clothing sector grew 5 percent from last year, according to a report by the NPD Group. As a result of this movement, more plus-sized women can find clothes that make them feel beautiful. Plus, they can learn to embrace their curves as opposed to fighting them.
There are a number of emerging designers that deserve a little recognition for their body-positive lines. Keep an eye on these fashion-world newbies who are celebrating real women.
Co-founded by friends Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta, this line has developed a niche cult following for being bold, likely because it’s a brand that simply never shies away from taking a risk. The designer duo has been known to play with unusual combinations of fabrics that strike a compromise between casual and dressy-chic. And they also aren’t afraid to experiment with transparent silks — perfect for showing off a plus size bra and panty set with stunning detailing that’s meant to be seen.
The designers also have a knack for revealing skin where it’s least expected — such as in a lavender cardigan dress with an exposed-belly cutout (which was worn on the catwalk by a pregnant artist). The fashion show for their spring 2018 collection included an impressively diverse cast of models that ranged in body type, race and age. From tailored blazers and dresses with slashes to ‘90s denim with dot detailing and graphic sweaters with patches, the line manages to encompass a wide variety of looks, from polished to punk.
This luxe label offers sizes 12 through 24, with a focus on high-quality, minimalistic garments out of which women will get maximum wear. There’s a reason why the line has been featured in a number of top fashion publications, including Vogue — Mei Smith has raised awareness around body diversity, while also catering to the elegant, modern plus-sized woman. If you’re seeking simple, timeless designs like a structured shirt dress or a neutral lightweight sweater vest, this line is a solid bet.
This British designer (and former style blogger) is well-versed herself in the struggle to find plus-sized fashion. That’s part of the reason why she launched her own line — to empower curvy women to feel comfortable in their own skin, and to show off their voluptuous figures with pride.
And one thing her pieces never seem to be short on is drama. From classic wrap dresses and sleek bodysuits to form-fitting dresses with flirty shoulder cutouts and dramatic hooded fur anorak coats, Remi Ray has something for nearly everyone.
Ashley Nell Tipton
There’s no doubt about it — this plus-sized designer and previous “Project Runway” winner’s line is packed with sass. Ashley Nell Tipton’s collections tend to be flirty and feminine, including classic designs like a pink crochet fit and flare dress, black lace-trimmed pencil skirt and a floral A-line skirt, to more fashion-forward designs like a fire-engine red off-the-shoulder maxi dress and a cropped leather moto jacket with stud detailing. (Picture above is Ashley Nell Tipton’s finale line from Project Runway.)
Based out of Los Angeles, Elann Zelie clearly designs with the confident curvy woman in mind. Her designs vary vastly, too, according to the season. For example, her Black Out collection eschewed color for both solid and patterned black-and-white pieces.
Zelie’s Summer of Love collection, meanwhile, had a free spirit, flower child kind of vibe. Whimsical and bohemian, it fused flowy fabrics in soft colors like taupe and cornflower blue with a pop of vibrant orange or dramatic black to shake things up. She also isn’t afraid to mix patterns, such as a rose floral with an animal print, for some artful juxtaposition.
Being a size 18 means this Australian designer knows what looks good on a plus-size body. And her philosophy is that curvy women should be able to take just as many style risks as anyone.
Thus, her designs are both playful and practical, with a lot of vibrant colors. From flowy sheer dresses to boxy crop tops, Gisela Ramirez proves that there’s no reason why plus-sized women can’t be a little fearless fashion-wise.
Sold exclusively at the online retailer Navabi, this designer’s pieces are always right on trend. A suede trench-coat and all-over sequin mini skirt are perfect examples of how Manon Baptiste manages to take basics and give them a striking, luxurious upgrade.
The line offers a plethora of timeless, practical pieces, such as cigarette-leg dress pants, a silk blouse with a bow that ties at the neck and a cotton blend sweater duster. Meanwhile, you’ll also find unique, edgy garments, like a faux leather shift dress and a floral print jacquard jacket.
Feeling a little rebellious? This Danish line from designers Angelica Weiss and Heidie Lykke fuses glamour with rock ’n’ roll, with plenty of seductive details.
In the designers’ own words: “The Carmakoma woman is strong, independent and in love with fashion. She is playing with her individuality and radiates her positive energy in an exploration of new fashion trends. She doesn’t let other people define her or her style and is determined to control her own destiny.”
Carmakoma Only, which is the newly revamped version of Carmakoma, will have its first collection debut in January 2018. Based on past lines by Carmakoma, you can expect a lot of ultra-feminine pieces that are both functional and fashionable with a dash of attitude. Think classic shapes and clean lines with edgy, artistic accents.
Ultimately, Weiss and Lykke believe that “clothes should fit the body — not the other way around, and every collection is a tribute to diversity and femininity.”
This post was written by guest contributor Angela Martin-Fehr.