Rewriting The Rules: The Brands That Changed Plus-Size Fashion In 2017

2017 was a groundbreaking year for plus-size fashion. Unless you hit the snooze button for all of September, it was hard to miss the headlines about plus-size models walking for household names like Michael Kors and Anna Sui, as well as labels that have adopted inclusivity for a while now, like Christian Siriano and Chromat. Beyond the runways, Victoria Beckham’s sold-out Target collection was available in sizes 0 to 24 (all of which were, for the first time, sold in stores), and Project Runway finally got on the inclusion bandwagon, moving from the “Real Woman” challenge to hiring plus-size models for the full season.

The same was reflected in real life: Britney Young played Carmen Wade on GLOW, Chrissy Metz continued playing Kate Pearson on This Is Us, and the podcast She’s All Fat saw a meteoric rise in listeners and fans. Model Paloma Elsesser starred in Glossier’s “Body Hero” campaign, as well as in Fenty Beauty and Pat McGrath ads, and topped it her stellar year off by telling the world: “Fat is not an insult.”

We also saw more plus-size brands launch in 2017 than any other year, bringing inclusive fashion and, more importantly, choices to plus-size women. The four we spotlight ahead, all of which were founded in 2017, ignore outdated and restrictive rules about what plus-size people “should” wear, and acknowledge and incorporate the body politics that come with their customers into their clothes. They’re unapologetically putting fashion first, and leading the way to show that fashion can — and should be — truly for every body.

Launched in June by Gabi Gregg and Nicolette Mason, OG fashion bloggers-turned-influencers, the response to Premme’s premiere offering was so intense the website crashed almost immediately after going live. Tired of the stuffy and matronly clothes that rehashed trends seen in straight-sizing six months prior, the plus-size community was ready for Premme. And since its launch, it’s become known for its fashion-forward aesthetic and its choice to work in a streetwear-inspired “drop” schedule as opposed to offering seasonal collections.

Particularly game-changing is Premme’s emphasis on inclusivity, as the brand launched going up to a US size 30. “We launched with a size range that was unheard of for a startup brand,” says Mason. “Our smallest model is a size 16, even though [our clothes] start at a 12. That’s a big shift from a lot of other plus-size brands, [that are] shooting on a size 10 or 12 model.”

For Premme, the goal has always been to be fashion-forward. Instead of focusing on the shapes and silhouettes that conservative, mainstream fashion deems suitable for curvy women, Mason and Gregg are creating pieces that are simply cool, and not “cool for plus-size.” Fuck flattering!” says Mason. “Our body types can wear stuff that isn’t flattering.” She cites the creation of the mesh dress, one of their most popular items, which was created “because plus-size bodies deserve to be seen and take up space.”

Premme, $89, available at Premme

See Rose Go
After hearing from frustrated plus-size friends and family members, Erin Cavanaugh and Yi Zhou launched See Rose Go. With major industry experience under their belts, Cavanaugh and Zhou, who previously held jobs at Nike and Converse, decided to create a collection of clothes that offered crisp and tailored clothing to this often-forgotten demographic.

“We are constantly talking with our customers about clothing, asking what they’re looking for, [and] what they dream about,” says Cavanaugh. “Overwhelmingly, we heard complaints and issues with quality. Plus-size shoppers want pieces that are going to last more than one season, and have quality fit and construction.” Working to answer these specific issues, they launched with six classic pieces that aim to lay a foundation for a whole wardrobe: a legging, a high-waist track pant, a tunic shirt, a kimono cardigan, a layering vest, and a statement coat. The collection is available in sizes 14 to 24, in a neutral palette of white, black, and burgundy. Their minimal and sportswear-influenced clothes are modern, but also appeal to a wide variety of tastes.

See Rose Go, $128, available at See Rose Go

Plus Bklyn
Launched in May, Plus Bklyn, a plus-size boutique in Brooklyn, has quickly gained a loyal following. “There are no boutique options if you’re a plus-size woman in the NYC-area,” says founder, Alexis Krase. “New York City is one of the fashion capitals of the world, and before we launched plus-size shoppers could only shop big box stores. That’s nuts!” Walking into the store is almost like walking into a plus-size version of Willy Wonka — complete with ice cream sandwich necklaces and pizza earrings.

The fact that customers could now come in and try on the clothes they liked — a shopping mainstay that most straight-sized customers take for granted — became an absolute game-changer to shoppers that rarely find themselves represented on the retail floor, as many stores that carry plus sizes, tend to make their offerings online-only. “Being able to try on pieces in person, and venture outside of one’s comfort zone, is critical for plus-size fashion,” says Krase. “When your only option is to buy online, you tend to ‘play it safe.’ I don’t want customers to play it safe, I want them to play with fashion.”

Still, Krase has struggled with being able to be truly inclusive in her merchandise selection, since many brands still don’t go past a size 24. “I’m a size 24/26,” says Krase, “and I’ve been in the place where I’m either at the ceiling of what a brand offers or I’m sized out of it. We’ve gotten bullish with more than a few suppliers, because women who are a size 26, 28, 30, and beyond want and deserve options as well!”

Next year, Krase plans on launching an in-house label. “I’m designing a line of dresses in bold colors and zany patterns, that go up to a size 30 , ” says Krase. “I’ve been that woman who goes to the plus-size section at a store and doesn’t fit in their clothes, and that feels so crappy. It’s really important to foster an environment that is inclusive, and it’s a constant effort that we’ll continue in 2018.”

Plus BKLYN, $46.99, available at Plus BKLYN

11 Honoré
11 Honoré, a Moda Operandi-meets-Farfetch online retail destination for plus-size luxury wear, launched in late August. From the beginning, founders Patrick Hernin and Kathryn Retzer, faced an uphill battle, dealing with preconceived notions about the plus-size community from investors and industry professionals. Like the ones that say that plus-size women don’t buy luxury clothes. “Of course plus-size women want to buy clothes, but you can’t buy something if it doesn’t exist!” says Ritzer.

The site launched with about a dozen designers, and that number has since doubled. There is truly something here for every taste and aesthetic, with offerings by such diverse labels like Zero + Maria Cornejo, Baja East, Prabal Gurung, and La Ligne.

What makes 11 Honoré different from other “e-shops” is the fact that they connect brands with industry professionals who understand the fitting and construction needs of plus-size women — a skill set in short supply. “We really partner with brands to help them enter the market,” says Herning. “Some brands like Zac Posen already have it figured out, but other brands need help at various stages of the process. We meet brands every step of the way to help them connect with the plus-size customer who wants their pieces.”

Currently, shoppers can find clothes up to a US size 20, but the site is committed to expanding its range in the near future. “We’re asking designers to double their size offering,” says Retzer. “We started with 10-20, and our goal is to keep going to a size 22 and beyond. It’s important that we walk instead of run to make sure the fit is impeccable.”

Adam Lippes, $105, available at 11 Honore

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If This Young Drag Queen Is The Future, We're Feeling Great About 2018

Awesome. Amazing. Fun!

Out of all the words in the English language, these would probably not be the ones most people would use to describe the kind of year they think is ahead of them. After all, we’re creatures of pattern, and if 2017 has ingrained anything into most Americans, it’s that there is no limit to the amount of shitty news that can happen in a day.

Desmond Is Amazing

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But for 10-year-old Desmond Napoles — known as Desmond is Amazing to his drag fam — there is only optimism. When I ask him what he thinks 2018 will bring, he answers in a waterfall of affirmations: “Crazy makeup. Amazing outfits that have to be made from hand. Expressing myself. Feeling powerful! When I grow up…I want to be exactly what I am right now.”

Though Desmond is young, he’s been doing drag for eight years. “Ever since day one… ever since I was able to walk, I used to take my mom’s towels and take her heels and clomp around the house. [I’d] put the towel on my head, wrap a towel around my body and walk the runway down my house,” he explained to Out earlier this year. In 2015, a video of him dancing at New York City’s Pride Parade went viral, and the rest is history: He has been blessed by Ru Paul. He has precociously delivered heartfelt speeches. He has even won an award for his LGBTQ activism.

And yet, he is still very much your typical 10-year-old kid. On set with photographer Parker Day, Desmond is a whirr of activity, stomping between flower spires, contorting his face in front of the camera, and moving his body to the Richie Rich song playing through the speakers. “Drag can be a compartmentalized thing, whereas I love shooting people who embrace elements of drag as their everyday life. Desmond is a great inspiration to that,” says Day. “He’s so young and so fearless. Play and be free, don’t take things so seriously.”

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For Desmond, life is about school, friends, and drag. His mother Wendylou Napoles helps him manifest the outfits he envisions (says Desmond about his style: “All my outfits are like dreams.”). Wendylou tells me that 2017 has been hard on Desmond, as he’s seen headlines in the news that threaten his LGBTQ community. (In the aforementioned Out interview he describes Trump as a “big loser” and says “people should be able to be free and let themselves express how they want, whenever they want.”) “I’m Gen X — I’m more pessimistic,” Wendylou says. “But Desmond is really hopeful that there can be change in this world.”

So, as we head into 2018, let’s try and think about our opportunities for positive change rather than the setbacks we’ve suffered. And the next time you need an affirmation to get you through, let Desmond get you back on track:

Awesome. Amazing. Fun!

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12 Cool-Girl Buys To Snag Before The New Year

Freezing temps pose all sorts of sartorial challenges — not only is it damn near impossible to keep warm when it’s 8° outside, but how can you expect your personal style to shine when you have to human-burrito yourself in layers of quilted puffers and blanket scarves in order to survive?

That’s why we’re turning to stylish women who’ve made the move from warmer climates to NYC — and mastered an enviable cold-weather aesthetic. From a Cali-born stylist and producer to an It model who grew up in Miami, the women ahead have kindly offered up their non-cliché winter upgrades, which run the gamut from the trendiest faux-fur outerwear to the new Too Faced Chocolate Gold eye shadow palette that will warm up any look. Armed with the 12 picks ahead, you too can look chic in the wintertime. Now, if only we could have these babes on speed dial to always set our look straight.

Jessica Wu | @jessicazwu

Jessica Wu is a freelance stylist and producer from California, now living in New York. Her styling and production work touches independent, up-and-coming companies and designers (many of whom are friends), like The Frankie Shop, Pulp Studios, Either And, and Oht, as well as more established ones like Nike, Derek Lam, and Zaha Hadid Design. She also styles editorial features for publications such as Interview Magazine, Dew Magazine, and

“I can’t resist a good ankle boot, and this one has all the hardware I could ever want, with an amazing mix of patent, crocodile, and metal textures.”

Alyx Studios, $556, available at LUISAVIAROMA

“I love the oversized sleeves and thick, varied weaves of this sweater, and the powder-blue color is irresistible.”

Victoria Beckham, $495, available at SSENSE

“When it gets this cold, I love keeping warm snuggled and wrapped up under a sprawling blanket-like scarf.”

The Frankie Shop, $92, available at The Frankie Shop

“For me, makeup is all about the eyes; I like lining and shadowing my eyes with intensely pigmented and rich colors. It’s the perfect accessory to my outfit, especially in winter when I tend to wear a lot of dark neutrals. I also added a subtle but effective highlighter into my basic makeup routine, and it works wonders. I love this iridescent one around the eyes.”

Too Faced, $49, available at Too Faced

Christina Andrew | @christinaea

Miami-born Christina Andrew was signed on the spot by MUSE when she answered an open casting call for curve models. Aside from being one of the most sought-after faces in the industry, her off-duty hobbies of BMX riding, beauty, and skin care further set her apart in a saturated market.

“As if patent red, Cuban heels, and cowboy boots weren’t enough on their own, somehow the three come together here and create the most perfect balance of form and function that a winter-esque boot has ever seen. It’s perfect for breaking up the monotony of winter wear and still translates well into spring.”

Ganni, $378, available at My Theresa

“If you’ve ever dreamt of wearing your coziest flannel sheet set out your front door, this buffalo-plaid wool coat is about the closest you can get.”

Isabel Marant Étoile, $318, available at Net-A-Porter

“The easiest way to take an otherwise drab look to fab is to add a statement earring. The secret here is that you can find incredibly well-priced vintage, designer-consigned, and/or one-of-a-kind pieces at places like the Real Real and Etsy. I always tend to gravitate towards a hoop — gold, silver, sleek, or bamboo. I am a firm believer that there is a hoop for every occasion.”

The RealReal, $645, available at The RealReal

“Everyone loves a cozy striped sweater, so why not this nicely priced one that goes up to a 4x and that’s modeled by a familiar face?”

Gap, $38, available at Gap

Michelle Salem | @michellesalem

As brand manager at Opening Ceremony, Michelle Salem is no stranger to tracking down the coolest finds on the market. She was born in California, spent her teenage years in Miami, and is currently based in New York. When she’s not working, you can find her on eBay hunting for new vintage finds.

“While $100 may seem ludicrous for socks, especially for someone that loves finding Gucci thrifted, imagine these peeking out from all of the (almost too) cropped jeans you own when your ankles can no longer bear the cold. Exactly. Sold!”

Gucci, $95, available at Neiman Marcus

“Daisy is one of my favorite designers, and while most of the pieces from the brand that I own are more summer-appropriate, this long-sleeve fitted dress paired with some tights makes me feel cute and holiday-party-ready.”

Daisy, $440, available at Daisy

“When it’s too cold to worry about wearing anything other than a sweatshirt (or two) and jeans, I plan to use these sparkly heart earrings to spruce up the look.”

Alessandra Rich, $210, available at Moda Operandi

“My most recent purchase! I’m a sucker for anything plaid and colorful, and this winter, I’ll be bundling up in faux fur over real fur.”

Esprit by Opening Ceremony, $425, available at Opening Ceremony

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