Growing up I looked at the latest fashion trends and knew they were unobtainable. I would see my sister and friends wearing the latest fashions and would look upon them with envy. The closest I came to fashion was designing outfits for my dolls. They of course were all modelled on the ‘normal’ woman. And I wasn’t that. I was the ‘fat kid’ in the class. There were no young and fashionable plus size models when I was growing up. There were very few choices in clothes.
Coverage was the focus of clothes not fashion. I still remember at the age of 13 my mother bringing home a dress for me that buttoned up the front and pulled in at the waist. It was made from a patterned fabric, white background covered with a little butterfly print. I felt pretty. I felt like a teenager. I felt part of my peer group. I felt fashionable. I felt that for a change I was wearing a proper dress not a shapeless sack. I felt I was wearing a young person’s dress not one designed for a mature woman. I wore that dress everywhere until it wore out. It reinforced for me that fashion and plus size very rarely went hand in hand.fashion and plus size very rarely went hand in handClick To Tweet
Times change and that is a good thing. Gone are the days where plus size clothing choices were limited. Options were either made to measure or mature style clothes in a shop hidden down a back alley. No longer are plus size shops hidden away. Unfortunately plus size clothing stores are still well out numbered by the mainstream sized brands. Although independent designers and manufacturers are growing in numbers, giving more choice.
Some may argue that while there are more choices of outlets to shop at plus size fashion still needs to develop. There is an argument that clothes are still designed for ‘coverage’ rather than embracing the curves. Everyone is different. Even within the plus size arena some are happy covering their curves while others want to show them off. Whether it is a conscious decision or not, many designers and manufacturers avoid fabrics and designs that call attention to a plus size figure. Latex falls into this category.
Our business takes us to many events and fairs. Latex is always highly visible and usually worn by the more slender framed women. I have friends who love the feel of the latex encasing their body. I also have friends who won’t even try it because they can’t see the styles ever fitting or suiting them. This is also echoed by others attending events. The comments on a latex clad lady walking past are always how amazing the dress was. Then a comment that there is nothing like it out there for them because they are a plus size.
My internal silent activist started speaking up and questioning this. Why weren’t there more latex clothes designed for the plus size figure. Why did a plus size only have the option of custom design or custom made from a design created for a lower size. Having a one off design created for you may sound amazing but it also has extra cost implications.
Having a dress made in your size from an existing design can also have issues. A design is created in a base size and graded up and down as needed. The grading process takes into account adjustments in measurements required between sizes. It alters only the pattern pieces. The overall design and whether it will work on a different body shape is not taken into account.
A beautiful dress designed at a base size 8 will look great on a slender size 8 or 10 or even a size 12. A plus size will usually have a fuller bust, hips, rounded tummy and ‘love handles’. Grading the base size 8 up to the plus size can emphasis these areas in a negative way, instead of flattering them. Different sizes have different design considerations, in style, support and comfort.
The silent activist in me also rebels at the idea of an ‘extra charge’ to have something made in a plus size. I appreciate that plus size will use more fabric, but why then, isn’t there a price difference between a mainstream size 8 and size 14? Adding an extra fee for a larger size creates even more segregation of the plus size from the mainstream. The irony of this is that the average size for women in the UK is a size 16. Within the fashion industry this is considered plus size.the average size for women in the UK is a size 16. Within the fashion industry this is considered plus sizeClick To Tweet
My silent activist won the argument. It is what prompted the desire to design latex clothing for a curvier figure. Clothing that looked good on a curvy figure. That made a plus size woman feel good, feel sexy, feel it flattered her and her personality. Removing any extra surcharge was also a consideration when designing the collection.
Why plus size latex?
For me as a designer, the greatest joy is when a woman with a curvy figure puts on one of our latex items for the first time. When she looks in the mirror her posture changes. There is almost always a look of surprise on her face at not only fitting into the dress but at how easy it was to get into. Inevitably this is followed by her running her hands over her curves. A sassy confidence replaces any uncertainty she was feeling. This is what makes the long hours of designing and reworking a design worth it.
Plus size woman want choices. They want to experiment with fashion and create or find their own unique style the same as anyone else. They don’t want to be penalised because they are curvy.Plus size woman want choicesClick To Tweet
KC Curves has been created to give this choice. To allow creativity and independence in clothing choices. To bring an equality to the latex clothing arena.