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Even though the most-frequently worn size in America is a 14, you wouldn't know it by strolling around a standard shopping mall, shuffling through racks of sizes 0 through 12 and looking at stick-thin mannequins. So where does this large (no pun intended) segment of the population shop, and how do these ladies find stores that cater to them?
Full Figured Fashion Week, coming to Los Angeles for the first time after two successful shows in New York City, aims to bridge the gap between plus-size designers, retailers, and consumers. The event, held at the Hyatt Regency in Century City, celebrated fashion for women of all sizes, a fact that we can fully support and appreciate. (The whole "real women have curves" movement, which sort of implies that slender women aren't "real," kind of gets our tiny panties in a wad.)
The entire event lasted for two hours, with 13 total collections shown. There were relatively new designers (Youtheary Khmer, Sassi Rebel), boutique owners who also design clothes (the ladies of Abundance in Sherman Oaks and Plush in Atlanta) and veterans of the fashion industry (Lane Bryant, Forever 21, Jill Alexander). Sonsi, the sponsor of the whole shebang and an online source for full figured fashion, brought some of their key pieces to show in real life.
The models (strutting down the runway with such pride and gustto and sass that we had a hard time catching more than a blur with our camera), were dressed in a variety of looks from careerwear to formalwear and even lingerie. The mix of loose, flowing fabrics and tight, body-hugging looks was about an even split, although there were a few leggings-as-pants looks and strapless-top-pushing-boobs-to-frightening-heights that made us cringe. Overall, though, we agree with the message of the event—that all women, regardless of size, deserve a wide variety of fashion choices that are comfortable and stylish.