Scrolling through Twitter today, I came across this posting from La Vida Moda: What Qualifies As Designer Fashion? It is the third of three posts, the others being: The Cost of Plus Size Clothes and Plus Size Models …
All are worth reading if you are interested in plus size fashion. I’ve selected some of the comments that leapt out at me from the series:
[A] reader commented that while she may find plus size mannequins helpful in judging shape and height she found them uncomfortable to look at.
Many [plus size] competitors are very well known and all of them much longer established than Vida Moda. None of them use models larger than a size 14. Of the 7 [under review] there only 3 (at a push) that are using size 14 models and that is NOT for all their clothing.
Vida Moda is the only one of the 8 [the 7 competitors plus Vida Moda] who is trying to get closer to representing the average plus sized woman. Fashion industry specialists would tell us we are wrong to use plus sized models, that it doesn’t work, that people don’t really want to see plus size models displaying fashion.
Feedback we’ve had on Facebook would indicate the specialists may be correct! Women are very critical of the way clothes look on other women and the word “unflattering” has popped up on more than one occasion, despite our models being plus sized and beautiful but well proportioned! The criticism is indirect but it is there.
We stock niche brands that aren’t that well known in the UK. They are not manufactured in large quantities; typically they are boutique wear and are quite exclusive. Most people will not be wearing the clothes we stock, as they are not widely available … There seems to be some perception that Vida Moda is expensive BECAUSE we stock plus size clothing. This is not the case …
… typically anything above a size 20 carries an extra cost. I understand why this is the case, more cloth undeniably adds to the cost of manufacture. However we don’t discriminate, we don’t pass this cost on to our customers.
A further observation that came up in the discussion on Facebook is that our clothes are not designer clothes. It’s an interesting point and open to interpretation. If you think designer clothing represents clothes designed by very well known designers and is generally glamorous clothing that you might see a movie star wearing then yes we don’t sell designer frocks.
[we do sell] designer fashion, designed with a story to tell, a look to portray and a style individual to each label. If you are a larger lady my aim is to give you a choice of styles to choose from to tell your story and express your personality.
I hope that explains a little more about why I started Vida Moda, what we are trying to achieve and why we are different to larger high street names and why we will remain exclusive.
It’s all interesting stuff – thoughtful and thought provoking – especially that uncomfortable conflict between how we want to look and how we do – this applies in spades to issues around disability too as does the debate around pricing. It is pretty much impossible to change and provide a better retail service to special sizes and needs without incurring costs relating to low volume, specialist manufacture. The huge unknown is whether the desire for a great product will be something that enough people are prepared to pay for. I really don’t see how the market will change if not … unless the government decides to invest in making overweight and disabled people ‘feel good’ and I’m not holding my breath on that being in today’s budget statement!
Go across to La Vida Moda and take a look at the full body of the discussion. Whilst you’re there, take the opportunity to browse the site. There are some really nice products for plus sizes on it.