I have been blessed to have my creations carried in two stores in the downtown/market area of the city I live in and have also had the opportunity to attend two craft/art show and sales as a vendor this past fall season. During the time that my garments have been for sale in the boutiques and at each of the shows, I received the same comments and constructive criticisms – “I love or people love your stuff but, it’s too bad you don’t offer your designs in larger sizes”. After hearing this a few times now and having done some thinking and research on the subject, I have come to some realizations and an exciting decision.
Let’s start with the fashion industry and their disregard for the hard cold fact that the average woman in North America is a size 12 to 14, not a size 6, let alone the coveted size 0 in the modeling world! The fashion industry has dubbed the category women belong to who wear a size 14 and up as “plus size”. Plus size clothing generally starts at a size 14 and goes up to size 24 (maybe even higher but size 24 is the most ample I have come across to date). You can also find a size range in plus size fashion that is labeled 1X to 4X, which is akin to xs to xlg in the retail world.
Clothing is designed and fabricated for the minority of women who can fit into and wear pretty much about whatever they want. The styles offered for those under a size 14 are plentiful, carried in all sorts of clothing stores and sold at all different price points to suit one’s budget. In the stores that do carry size 14 and up, the styles offered are often made of stretch fabrics, cut to be roomy and shapeless and do not offer many options to express one’s personality and individuality. The plus size price point is also pretty much you pay what you have to in order to find clothes that fit and that you hopefully like. There are also very few companies with stores that cater solely to the plus size woman. There are so few of these stores that all plus size women, no matter what their personality or personal style, are lumped in together and are all stuck shopping at the same stores. For example, a woman who embodies an edgy or more rock and rock style is probably not going to relate to shopping at the same store as the individual who prefers a more classic and conservative style and vice versa.
Now, just to be fair here, there has been a bit of an eye opening in the world of plus size fashion over the past few years as a few larger plus size fashion chain stores have re-vamped their offerings to include more fashion forward styles. These stores and their seasonal collections have begun to cater to a younger clientele as well as the more hip and fit conscious woman, no matter what her age. There has been some progress made and the industry seems to be awakening to the fact that there is an increase in the average size of women. This is also partnered with the realization that plus size woman all have a unique style and fashion voice and, just like their more slender counterparts, they want to be heard and celebrated for it, not relegated to some basement or strip mall bargain store offering blousy tunics and elastic waist stretch pants in a multitude of colours. So change is happening but it is slow and in my opinion, not gaining ground fast enough.
Another area where fashion and retail fall short in their offerings for the plus size woman is the bridal industry. There are only certain styles and sizes offered by bridal gown designers and companies and it is again usually assumed that a plus size woman does not require or deserve the same level of attention and beauty with respect to her wedding gown as someone who can fit into a sample size bridal gown. We need more designers in the bridal industry who recognize that this area is seriously lacking and that these woman want to look and feel beautiful in their gown and have it flatter their curves and project their personal bridal style to all on their wedding day. Most bridal gown designers that do produce their gowns in a plus size range also charge more for the same dress in a plus size than they do for a “normal” size gown. I realize this is due to more fabric and inner construction materials being required but surely it is minimal and a plus size bride should not be made to feel penalized for her body size and curves.
The last comment on this subject that I would like to make before getting to my own personal solution to this fashion industry dilemma is regarding an incident that made a blip on the news radar a few months ago.
Lane Bryant is a retail chain of stores for plus size women in the U.S. They carry a flattering array of styles, fabrics and accessories at a medium price point. They also carry lingerie for the plus size figure, namely bras, panties and different sorts of pyjamas and lounge wear. The lingerie they carry is beautiful, feminine and can be downright sexy sometimes. I should also mention that the models Lane Bryant uses for their print and television advertising are absolutely gorgeous!
In 2012, Lane Bryant had an ad campaign that aired on television promoting their new lingerie collection of bras, panties and some lounge wear. The commercial was tasteful, the models stunning and the lingerie feminine and flattering. I saw the commercial once and never saw it again. The small news comment on this stated it was deemed offensive to some and the network pulled it. Apparently, no one finds it offensive to have to sit through a Victoria’s Secret commercial featuring very thin, scantily clad women in bras and panties with angel wings on their back writhing on couches, poles and beach side patios because I see ads of this nature from Victoria’s Secret on television all the time. The message the pulling of this commercial and not the Victoria’s Secret ones gives to women with (and young ladies who will grow up to have) real curves and who do not wear a size 6 is that they are not desirable to men, have no place in the world as a sexual being and their size and body type is to be kept under wraps and behind closed doors at all times. Discrimination and prejudice based on size, gender, race, sexual preference or of any kind and makes me very angry and sad.
The recognition and realization of this glaringly obvious niche in the fashion industry needs to be filled, and fast. These women are the majority not the minority. They have style, personality and the money to spend on it. Their clothing and self-expression needs with respect to the workplace, weddings, social time, evening wear and undergarments need to answer the same calls as other women – fit, function, comfort, glamour, style, personality, confidence, individuality, sex appeal and above all, value of themselves as a human being on this earth no matter what their size!
So, after all my thinking, outrage and research, this is what I have decided to do. Read on.
What/Who is Bombshell Revival?
The definition of a “bombshell” is – “something which arouses interest or excitement; a sensation; specifically, a woman with remarkable sex appeal and/or style”.
The Bombshell Revival client is a unique, one-of-a-kind, force to be reckoned with and not easily stopped. She is feminine but can easily hold her own around a table full of men. She has a good sense of humour and can laugh at herself. She has her own sense of style and exudes confidence and moxy. She also cares either somewhat or a lot about re-using and recycling existing fabrics and garments rather than always buying new and adding to the land fill sites full of discarded fabric goods. A Bombshell Revival client always rocks her moxy!
I created Bombshell Revival with a goal towards empowering women to be themselves and express who they are through their sense of style, individuality and by embracing being female. I like to help women do that by taking existing garments, either theirs or through secondhand finds, and re-vamping them into something totally personal and one of a kind. The end product is feminine with an edge. I am also interested in providing my clients with solutions to certain style problems they may be experiencing. Such problems may include:
Having a garment they love but are bored with – it can be remade by me into something new and unique;
Looking for a special, unique item and finding the same old things in stores on or the internet – I specialize in one of a kind, different and totally personalized creations;
Curvier, more voluptuous women find it hard to find exciting and unique garments and accessories – I can re-make and customize existing garments in their size to better suit their taste and personality.
Normally, I do not look to appeal to any one age/size group as it is part of my mantra that any woman, regardless of size, age, colour etc. can be a “bombshell” and hence, a Bombshell Revival client. Over the next few months, however, I am going to focus for a bit on reaching the woman who has been the topic of this posting – the more voluptuous, curve celebrating plus size woman. I want to answer the growing requests for my creations in larger sizes and perhaps open up a whole new client base and following for myself in so doing. I want to do my part in filling that niche mentioned above and if I can help even one person express herself and get to have that style experience that the fashion world seems to reserve for others, then I will be happy indeed!
I have already started on my path towards this goal. Throuhgout this post are photos of garments I have created over the past few weeks, all of which are size 18 and up. I will be selling these designs and more at the craft/art shows and sales that I have the good fortune of being accepted to for the 2013 season. They will also be posted to my website and available for sale there. I am also very interested in custom orders and requests.
So if you, or some other fabulously curvy lady you know, want to feel understood, powerful, sexy, confident, feminine and unique (and what woman would not want to answer “yes” to that), then Bombshell Revival has arrived to make your modern day plus size bombshell dreams come true.