MAY 10, 2012
There is an ongoing international debate on defining what is 'plus size'. With the gaining popularity for body acceptance and curvy fashion, it seems like the warriors of the this cause is facing another obstacle --- actually defining what is plus size.
You know. I'll be very honest with this. When we started the fashion line, Erzullie, we just wanted to make clothes that would fit me and Berna because we are bigger than what is being produced out there. Even the large could not fit me anymore and there is a lack of XL.
We did not know any better at that point so we were thinking that maybe XL is already part of the plus size section. That is why, when we launched the fashion line, we got the L as the smallest (honestly, I really did not know why we chose to start with L, clearly it was still part of the regular size division) and the biggest would be 4L.
After a year and more in the plus size fashion industry or even the fashion industry in general, personally, I have realized, right now, this morning, that there is no definite definition of 'what is plus size' for the Philippines. In fact, I have realized that we, too, as a plus size fashion line has a long way to go in understanding what is plus size.
We love listening to some of our customers and here are some of the points that they kept on repeating:
1. your plus size measurement is too big
2. you plus size measurement is too small
3. your plus size models are too small/ they are not plus size at all.
4. your plus size models are too big
I can't blame them of course because I have realized, right now, that we haven't fully defined what is plus size. I mean, if I think about it, I even have some customers who I keep on forbidding to buy because they are regular size and yet they find solace in the size and style of the brand, so in my mind --- who am I to stop them?
Is plus size L and above? What is the measurement really? Is being plus size a mind set? Also we are in Asia where most women have a smaller body frame, our plus size women here are considered average in the western part of the world --- so what are we then?
Many debaters say that size 14 and up are plus size. There is even a controversy of some designers hiring 'plus size models' of size 8-10, which angers the plus size community. Then I read in another debate that plus size models should be size 18 and above (Fluvia Lacerda, the current plus size super model is size 18).
If the first point holds true then I am not plus size. I am size 12. If the second point holds true then I am plus size. I am size 12 and if the final point is true, size 18, then even Berna, who is curvier than me (size 14) is not plus size.
But if we adhere to a universal standard, isn't it still biased because it all depends on the country or life spectrum you are in? I mean if we applied these points to our country oh wow, it's going to be crazier because one country and life spectrum is definitely different from another.
Then if it does depend from the differences in view and geography, who should be the people in that view or location that can declare what is 'plus size'? The first one that calls themselves expert? The strongest one? The first one that made it popular? The most popular one? The most sincere? Who can really define what plus size is?
So the question remains in everyone's mind "Am I Plus Size?"
As a plus size fashion line here in our country, we have decided to go with the first point of the smallest should be size 14 because we think that it's more applicable here in a country. Believe it or not girls, we are still swarming with a lot of skinny Filipinas, most of which think that they are not --- which is crazy! Size 14 technically is already considered curvy in our country given our counterparts.
After a year and more with business, after catering to sizes 10 (the second point we followed) we have realized that it's still being catered by some of the fashion retailers out there, so they are taken of already. They don't need us as much. Of course, we have made Erzullie to serve the ones that has been ignored by the present market that needs fashionable clothes, so we have placed up the ante to size 14 as the smallest and so on. Hopefully, as our business grow, so does our size range.
Again, let me emphasize that we are not the end all of anything plus size. We try our best to know the latest and give you the best as Erzullie. Making our smallest size 14 petite US is a small step and can be deemed insignificant to others, but at least for now, this is our answer until we truly find out ourselves.
What do you think? To yourself, ask: "Am I Plus Size?"