Hanky hems and smock tops have been banished in favour of a much more fashion forward outlook within the plus size industry. The last five years has seen a huge rise in the availability of plus size fashion, with a host of new brands emerging and some well-established favourites creating a plus size offering. The stats suggest that over 50% of women now wear a size 14+, suggesting the market for plus size fashion is quickly catching up with, and might even overtake, its straight size sister.
While plus size fashion may have been living in the shadows, it is certainly having a moment in the sun right now and with the likes of Ashley Graham taking the world of plus size fashion mainstream it is easy to see why so many labels are keen to get involved.
This is a round-up of plus size brands you need to know, whether it’s reminding you of some old favourites that are bringing something fresh to the table or a new kid on the block, your AW16 shopping just got a whole lot more interesting.
1. Anna Scholz (above)
Anna is one of the pillars of the designer plus size industry; a Central St Martins graduate, Anna just celebrated twenty years in business – no mean feat for any plus size label. Famed for her gorgeously unique prints (designed in house) and easy to wear silhouettes, Anna’s pieces are always timeless. Most recognised for her dresses, Anna recently switched to producing six collections a year as well as introducing her much celebrated plus size workout line. You better get shopping!
2. Universal Standard
Universal Standard haven’t even celebrated their first birthday yet but are already the label to watch. Focusing on the luxury end of the market, the team behind US felt there was a gap in the market for simple everyday pieces in beautiful fabrications and top quality construction. Universal Standard is all about giving the option for elevated essentials for women size 14 to 32 and unsurprisingly everyone has gone crazy for this luxe basics line. Working with some of the industry’s top creative teams, Universal Standard is setting a new standard in plus size fashion.
A personal favourite, Yoek is my go to plus size brands for cute, easy to wear, quality, everyday pieces. With items in my wardrobe over five years old and no different from the day they were purchased, Yoek always stands the test of time. Perfect for printed and embellished tunics, palazzo trousers and fun prints, it’s no surprise they have a legion of loyal fans. However, most exciting is the return of their leather line. Fashion forward styling in buttery soft leather, the new line offers leather shirts, jackets and dresses that really make them stand out in the plus size arena.
4. Manon Baptiste at Navabi
An exclusive to plus size designer online retailer Navabi, Manon Baptise is fast becoming the go to label to grab those fashion trends. Embracing AW16 trends such as brocade, Seventies and the continued love affair with the bomber jacket, Manon Baptiste is the label with its finger on the fashion pulse!
Elvi is one of the plus size brands that has done a complete U-turn, so if you haven’t looked at their offerings in the last year, it’s time to reacquaint yourself. This well curated, beautifully designed and fashion forward thinking collection is now up there with some of the best plus size fashion brands around. Competitively priced, Elvi offer great on trend and stylishly chic separates, dresses and a sprinkling of occasion wear to seal the deal. This September will also see the launch of Hayley Hasselhoff’s first collection, designed exclusively with Elvi.
6. City Chic at Evans
City Chic is a rapidly expanding plus size power house. The leading Australian destination store for fun, on trend, plus size clothing has recently started opening stores in the USA and is currently stocked in the UK at retailer Evans. A host of of feminine, body con dresses, floral prints, chiffon tunics and tailored jackets, City Chic offers good quality at competitive prices. Youthful, fun and flirty, City Chic gives plus size fashion a great injection of colour and sass.
7. Coast at Simply Be
Of course, Coast is already a well-established occasion wear brand, but did you know they now do a plus size specific line exclusive to Simply Be? The pieces are correlated to their mainline collection and feature similar stunning prints, gorgeous, dramatic cuts and show stopping hemlines. Perfect for head turning dresses this season and available up to a size 26.
8. Society Plus
This is the brand leading the way in how to work with influencers and promote body positivity through fashion. Society Plus works with social media influencers and bloggers to help them curate their own mini collections which are then sold on the brand’s site. The collections are modelled by their curator and the final images are never retouched. This means that their models are by far the most relatable to and diverse of any plus size brand. They quality control and size every piece to ensure that the size you think you’re buying is the size you’re getting. This is the one fashion brand out there keeping it 100% real and authentic.
9. Studio Eight
The sister brand to Phase Eight, Studio Eight is their first foray into plus size fashion. Keeping to the aesthetic of the Phase Eight signature, you can expect great work wear separates, glamorous evening wear, tape wear embellishment and fantastic weekend casuals. As the collection evolves alongside Phase Eight their style outlook becomes more intertwined, offering a little Phase Eight style to those above a size 18.
10. Plus Equals
The newest of the labels we are championing today, Plus Equals are definitely looking to inject some fun and frivolity into the plus size fashion market. Plus Equals sells hand-picked vintage and reworked clothing in sizes 14-26.
The brain child of stylist Jazmin Lee, Plus Equals selects and upcycles vintage pieces to create one off garments, helping you express your personality in carefully crafted and unique pieces. From sequins to faux-fur, they’re not missing a fashion beat.
Carmakoma is the line for those with a rebellious nature. Rock chick glam and androgynous silhouettes are combined with sexy cuts, edgy styling and feminine details to create a stylish and individual brand that thinks fashion first and plus size second. Design duo Weiss and Lykke strongly believe that ‘beauty cannot be reduced to a size label and that clothes should fit the body not the other way round’. A regular at Copenhagen Fashion Week, Carmakoma is cutting up the plus size rule book and doing it their way.
12. Collection @ Evans
Collection at Evans is the more designer led collection of pieces from plus size high street giant Evans. This season has a distinctly sports luxe vibe with relaxed tailoring, soft separates, including some gorgeous shirting with pleat and ruffle detailing and a monochromatic palette injected with flashes of pastel pink, red and maroon. This is the section of Evans to head to if you want something a little bit more special but still with that high street price tag.
13. Mat @ Navabi
Unlucky for some, number 13 is last but by no means least. Ending on a fashion high, Mat is a great Greek brand that is slowly making waves in the plus size fashion scene. Masters of jersey, they produce great easy to wear dresses and separates with beautiful drape every season, but it’s their fun approach to print, fabrication and their use of colour that really makes them stand out from the crowd. Latching on to the metallic coat trend seen at Burberry, Mat have their own magical version for AW16. Keep your eyes peeled as these are set to be a hit.