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Jun 15

Plus-Size Vintage on Instagram

Over the past year, Instagram has become flooded with small shops devoted to selling vintage and gently-used clothing. But this new wave of online shopping has had one glaring problem: the sizing is limited. While Instagram is now a destination for finding unique pieces without having to actually go to a thrift store, most items offered run under a size 10. But Belen’s Linens wants to change that. Selling clothing specifically dedicated to plus-size women, the store is, as it refers to itself, “vintage for thiccies.”


Belens Linens vintage fashion

The Phoenix-based vintage shop, which opened less than a year ago, styles and photographs its pieces on curvy ladies and indicates sizing in each caption (at the moment, its items run from size 12 to 18). With just 500 followers, Belen’s Linens may not have the reach some of the most popular Insta-shops do (@courtyard_la and @the_corner_store have 117k and 41k followers, respectively), but it is disrupting a space that for so long has been dominated by straight-size women. Because in the same way the fashion industry is not yet properly catering to the 67% of women who are plus-sized, the vintage market still has a lot of work to do. Let’s hope this is the start of a bigger movement on Instagram — and beyond.

Click on to shop some of Belen’s offerings, and throw them a follow for their affordable, on-trend pieces.

Learn more about vintage fashion in the Playroom By-Gone eras and check out Christina Napoli, our Stylish Crossdresser who loves 1950s fashions

May 16

14 Surprising Women’s Clothing Stores That Carry Plus Size

Plus size fashion has always been a shopping challenge, but now it’s a bit easier  for women who wear above a size 14.

plus size dressOver the past several months, many of your favorite mall retailers added inclusive sizing to their clothing racks. Loft now carries bright prints and bold patterns in sizes 16 to 26. The work-wardrobe experts at White House Black Market expanded their sizes up to 24W. Reese Whitherspoon’s clothing brand Draper James partnered with Eloquii to launch a full range of sizes. Even sustainable clothing brand Reformation low-key added a plus-size collection, saying, “Sorry it took us so long.”

It’s been a good year for inclusive fashion. While we still have a ways to go before all of our favorite retailers are curve-friendly (looking at you Everlane), it’s thrilling to see so many clothing options for curvy gals. That’s why we’ve pulled together a list of some of the most surprising clothing retailers that now carry plus-size styles.

Below, 14 surprising clothing stores that carry above a size 14:

Source: Huffington Post

Jan 08

Eloquii Expands Its Plus-Size Offering


Eloquii is one of the most fashion forward and contemporary retailers in the plus-size market. I love all their designs and especially their dresses. Now I just need to win the lottery to buy them all.

Eloquii dresses

Eloquii announced today via email and social media that starting in Fall 2018, they will offering all their styles in sizes 26 and 28. But they did not stop there… Eloquii also announced that they will be extending their sizes to 30-32 in the fall as well.

With this said, let’s support Eloquii in its efforts. If they are willing to offer a broader size range, we have to be willing to back them up with our voices and wallet. Spread the word on social media and shop the brand.

So let’s celebrate this, share it on social media and talk about it! Let’s buy some stuff, wear it, slay it and post images to social media with the hashtag #XOQ. Let Eloquii know how they can serve YOU, the customer, better. It’s obvious they are listening.

Sep 28

Diversity Is Coming to the Fashion Industry

diversity in fashion

Fashion is finally figuring out diversity … in ways that actually matter. It is becoming  more diverse, more inclusive. More open. It is less them-vs.-you. It is us.

Yes, fashion still has its flaws. Designers often still have tunnel vision. The industry still makes head-smacking gaffes. There are far too many cases of profound insensitivity and cavalier cultural appropriation. (Will those Kardashians ever learn?) But in the past decade, it has opened its doors to more people of color, plus-size women, transgender women and those who simply don’t fit the industry’s classic definition of beauty. Most importantly, fashion is talking about diversity in more nuanced ways — and learning from its mistakes.

The fall 2017 advertising campaign for the Calvin Klein 205W39NYC collection by Raf Simons offers a nod towards a diverse Americana. (Willy Vanderperre/for Calvin Klein)

Two years ago, Brandice Henderson, who describes herself as a “fashion coach,” was having dinner with five designers at Harlem’s Red Rooster. They were all up-and-comers, lauded by major fashion magazines, who had dressed an assortment of famous women. The scene was typical for New York with one significant exception: All five of the designers were black.

This is no small thing.

Four years ago, five women walked into IMG Models and immediately impressed the company’s president, Ivan Bart. One of them especially stood out. Her name was Ashley Graham and she was plus-size. But as Bart put it: “A star is a star is a star.” Graham has gone on to become the rare model who is known by name well outside the insulated world of fashion. She is not a plus-size success story; she is, quite simply, a success.

This is no small thing, either.

Ashley Graham makes her entrance at the Costume Institute gala in May. (Theo Wargo/Getty Images For Us Weekly)

In 2017, Vogue ran countless photo stories celebrating Hollywood stars and cultural figures, but it also published visual essays on Latinas in Los Angeles, Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority sisters, lesbian models and black servicewomen.

This is significant, too.

During the past decade, the New York fashion industry has been in upheaval over the subject of diversity, or the lack of it. The most egregious examples were on the runways. They are fashion’s billboards and its proving ground — the place where designers spin out their wildest fantasies, and where the public receives its notions of fashion at its most glamorous and rarefied. And the message, in the mid-2000s, was that high-end fashion was for emaciated white teenagers.

The ranks of editors and designers were lacking in diversity, too. There were no editors-in-chief of major fashion publications who were black. The rising generation of designers who had captured the industry’s attention were mostly white — sometimes Asian, but rarely black, Latino or even female. Plus-size women were not part of the fashion conversation. And gender fluidity had yet to become an aesthetic interest.

In 2007, activist Bethann Hardison organized a “town hall” meeting to start a conversation about fashion’s worsening diversity problem. In 2013, she meticulously tracked designers’ hiring practices and publicized the results. The lack of inclusiveness was striking. And Hardison unflinchingly called such practices “racist.”

Now, the industry looks significantly different from the days of clone-like waifs, golden-haired muses and magazine mastheads that read like the Social Register. There is greater recognition that fashion needs to change.

Marc Jacobs’s spring 2017 show caused an uproar on social media because white models were styled with dreadlocks, and the designer did not acknowledge the hairstyle’s history in black communities. (Kate Warren/for The Washington Post)

Last year, after designer Marc Jacobs featured models — many of them white — wearing fanciful dreadlocks in his spring 2017 runway show, social media lit up in anger because of his failure to acknowledge the hairstyle’s history within black communities. Six months later, his fall 2017 show was an ode to hip-hop; he cast mostly models of color and included show notes lauding the influence of black youth.

Fashion has also had several landmark moments: A black man has been appointed editor-in-chief of British Vogue and a black woman is at the helm of Teen Vogue. Joan Smalls, who was born in Puerto Rico, became Estee Lauder’s first Latina spokes model. French Vogue featured a transgender model on its cover.

There are more models of color on major runways. A range of designers have included plus-size models and older women in shows and advertising. A more diverse group of designers, including four black men, make up the 10 finalists vying for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award. Women are also well-represented.

In 2010, Joan Smalls became the first Latina to represent Estee Lauder. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Models of all sizes were part of designer Prabal Gurung’s fall 2017 show. (Marcelo Soubhia/MCV Photo For The Washington Post)

 “I think fashion is becoming more democratized,” says Henderson — for consumers as well as those hoping to build a career in the industry.

As fashion designers unveil their spring 2018 collections over the next few weeks, it will be an opportunity to see whether fashion’s forward trajectory continues or stalls. “There’s a consensus about having an inclusive runway,” says Bart. “I’m hopeful at this stage.”

Alexander Wang Fall/Winter 2017 collection. (Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo For The Washington Post)

Alexander Wang Fall/Winter 2017 collection. (Olivier Claisse/MCV Photo)

Bart has been working in fashion for 30 years, and the first model he represented, back in 1986, was a young black woman who was part Russian. When a jewelry company was looking to hire someone “tall, pretty and effervescent,” Bart suggested her. The company hemmed and hawed and “finally said, ‘We’re not looking for black people.’ I dropped the phone.” He ultimately got her the job after traveling to personally show them her portfolio.

After Hardison’s 2007 town hall, Bart considered his place in the fashion business. As the head of one of the industry’s larger agencies, with a roster including Smalls, Kate Moss and a host of celebrities, he decided to help lead the way.

“I think the industry got lazy,” Bart says. “We’ve got to start telling [clients] what they need. When people say no, we have to tell them why they’re wrong.”

That’s why he decided not to simply target Graham for the plus-size market, but for womenswear in general. On the company’s website, she and fellow plus-size models Candice Huffine and Marquita Pring are not segregated in a separate category or called “plus-size.” They are simply models. Graham has appeared on the cover of American Vogue and in runway shows alongside whippet-thin models. She has her own line of lingerie.

Astrid Riecken/For The Washington Post

Model Candice Huffine, in this 2015 photo shoot, is part of new generation of plus-size women finding success in the fashion industry. Huffine grew up in Bowie, MD.

Model Alek Wek’s dark skin inspired actress Lupita Nyong’o to embrace her own beauty. (Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

What the fashion industry does is important to the broader culture, Bart says, recalling actress Lupita Nyong’o’s heartfelt speech about finding validation of her own dark-skinned beauty in the images of Sudanese-born model Alek Wek, whom IMG signed some 20 years ago.

“It’s okay if people are resistant,” he says. “They will change if you stay the course.”

The website the Fashion Spot, which tracks diversity on the runway, has tallied about 30 percent nonwhite models in recent seasons. There are models in hijabs, models with vitiligo, models with physical disabilities. The question is no longer who isn’t represented but how to make that inclusiveness feel organic rather than self-consciously trendy.

IMG Models is offering a diverse group of models for Fashion Week. (Courtesy IMG Models)

IMG Models has broadened its roster of models. (Courtesy IMG Models)

 The need to change is not simply moral, Bart says, but also financially smart. “The Internet changed everything. Anyone can pull up anything online. If you want that consumer, you need to reflect who they are.” If consumers don’t like what they see, they are likely to make their displeasure heard.

Transgender activist and model Hari Nef arrives at the CFDA Fashion Awards last summer. (Evan Agostini/Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

The Vogue website has become a more diverse, global experience than the print magazine, speaking to “more people and different people,” says Sally Singer, creative digital director. It even reads as if it is written by a variety of voices that share a common interest, rather than the single, dominant voice of print.

“I don’t think it’s a conscious decision,” says Chioma Nnadi, the website’s fashion news director. “Our staff is just very diverse and very young.”

Vogue’s digital natives roam freely and report on everything from the baati, a classic Somali cotton dress favored by hijab-wearing model Halima Aden to the personal aesthetics of people who identify as “they.” While Vogue might have written about these subjects in the past, Singer says, it’s doubtful that those stories would have found a readership within those communities. “Now, they’re sharing it on Facebook.”

The Internet is also broadening the ranks of designers. Ten years ago, Henderson founded Harlem’s Fashion Row, a production company aimed at supporting multicultural designers who were absent from the top fashion weeks, the store racks at influential retail outlets and the pages of mainstream glossies.

Back then, “I could barely count three designers of color. . . making a mark and getting the attention of the fashion industry,” Henderson says. Today, she can rattle off nearly a dozen. Social media and e-commerce have lowered the barriers to success, making it easier for designers to connect directly with customers.

Designers can market themselves around the globe with a single website and an Instagram account. If an accepting audience isn’t in New York or Los Angeles, perhaps there’s one in Indianapolis or Tupelo, Singapore or Qatar.

Backstage at Harlem’s Fashion Row fashion show earlier this year. (Rog Walker)

One of the Harlem’s Fashion Row designers, for example, found his fan base in Japan. Reuben Reuel’s Demestik collection, worn by Ava DuVernay as well as Beyoncé, sells on It’s not Bergdorf Goodman, but it gets the job done.

“For designers 10 years ago, it was just all about the art. They didn’t want to hear anything business-wise,” Henderson says. “I was different, too. Something in the economy woke us up.”

Director Ava DuVernay, wearing Demestik, at the 2017 Sundance NEXT FEST in Los Angeles. (Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images For Sundance)

A recession will do that.

As the spring 2018 shows begin, the conversation about diversity has expanded to include the role of immigrants in the industry and the rights of women. Diversity is not just about the imperative of an inclusive runway. It is also about identity: both personal and national.“Ten years ago people never wanted you to refer to them as a ‘black designer.’ Just call me a ‘designer’! Now, with Black Lives Matter, with the political climate, people are proud to be a black designer. They’re proud to say it to people in the fashion industry,” Henderson says. “I even have more stylists who say they have clients who [specifically] want to wear a black designer.”Diversity is political. It’s a form of protest.When Vogue posted a story in March about women in East LA, it happened to coincide with a conversation about a rise in ICE raids under the Trump administration. It was the fashion site’s most-shared story — in the middle of Paris Fashion Week.

“I thought we had lots of momentum after the civil rights movement and then we have Nazis go marching through Charlottesville,” Bart says. “This is going to be our resistance: Showing the totality of humanity.”

Reprinted from the Washington Post

Sep 12

Meet Exclusive Plus Size Resale Site CurvyCo

plus size market

Plus Size Resale Site CurvyCo creates new options in the plus size market, a market that is expanding every day.   GabiFresh and Nicolette Mason broke the fat internet recently with their amazing new line Premme (that goes up to a size 30/6X!); more retailers are venturing into extended and petite plus sizing; and designers are starting to include more plus size models on their runways.  Yes, despite the continued challenges (pricing is one), it’s a great time to be a plus size woman!! That’s where CurvyCo comes in!

Now, options are great, but one thing we hear often is that plus size clothing is too expensive.  Plus size clothing runs the pricing gamut, just like straight size clothing, but whatever your size, second-hand clothing can be a great alternative to buying retail.  It allows you to save a few coins, to reduce waste caused by over-consumption, and to take more chances with your style.  If an item is only $10, there’s little harm in playing with a “scary” trend or new-to-you color.

CurvyCo is the first online plus size only resale marketplace where women can buy and sell plus size clothing to each other.  Recently, we touched base with Karine, the founder of CurvyCo who gave us all the details on this amazing new fashion site!

How does it work?
CurvyCo lets you buy and sell affordable plus size clothing. On the site, you can easily shop thousands of plus size brands and styles ranging from popular brand names to hard-to-find vintage pieces. Our clothing is up to 80% off retail price, so it’s easy to find fashionable picks on a budget. You can also sell your clothing on the website – it only takes a couple minutes to list an item for sale on CurvyCo. As the seller, you set the price of the item and the shipping price.

When did Curvy Co start/get created? Where are you headquartered?
CurvyCo started in May 2017. We are headquartered in San Francisco, California.

plus size girl curvyco

Who can list/participate in buying and selling? Are there any restrictions?  Do you need a Paypal account?  Tell me more about cross-listing items on eBay and other auction sites – how does this work?
Anyone can participate in buying and selling on CurvyCo as long as they have a CurvyCo account. We allow the sale of new and pre-loved clothing sized 10 and up, accessories, and shoes. You currently need a PayPal account to buy and sell, but we will soon support purchasing through credit card and Stripe. We encourage sellers to cross-post items on any existing resale sites like Poshmark or eBay – just email us at and we can help! All we ask is that you keep your CurvyCo closet updated!

Does it cost to list items on CurvyCo? Does it cost to sell?  What are the fees and how do you pay them?
It is free to list items on CurvyCo. We take a 15% commission fee + PayPal processing fees when the item sells.

plus size girl curvyco

What made you want to start CurvyCo?
At my last job, I worked closely with Fashion to Figure and found the problem of how difficult shopping for affordable and stylish plus size clothing can be. Women would tell me how frustrating it was to sift through hundreds of straight sizes to find the clothes they were looking for, both online and in stores. I was surprised to find that there were no existing resale marketplaces exclusively for plus size. I ended up starting CurvyCo because I wanted to create a place where women could easily access fashion that made them feel proud and confident about their bodies, at affordable prices.

plus size girl curvyco

What do you hope to provide through your business?  What purpose does CurvyCo serve for plus size women?
I hope CurvyCo can become the go-to place for curvy women to buy and sell plus size clothing. I believe curvy women deserve to have a shopping experience tailored to their needs – for example, each item includes a fit description, and many of our sellers also model their own clothing and include body shape information. My hope is that when people think of CurvyCo, they think of an amazing shopping experience made just for them, and I think the care and love we put into the website shows that.

plus size girl curvyco

Tell me about you – the founder.  What inspires you?
I’m Karine, the founder of CurvyCo. I am inspired by women who uplift each other to feel beautiful and confident in their bodies. We recently had our first CurvyCo Launch Party in St. Louis and it was just magical seeing the friendships and community that formed. I can’t wait to host many more CurvyCo meetups and spread our mission of body positivity through sustainable fashion.

Anything else you want to add?
I truly make an effort to take the time to get to know every single curvy girl customer and get feedback about how to make the shopping experience on CurvyCo perfect. If you have feedback for us, please email me at Also, follow us on Facebook and Instagram!

plus size girl curvyco

Ready to start buying and/or selling on CurvyCo?  Check out the site and tell us what you think!

CurvyCo is exciting right? We at The Curvy Fashionista are all about options, so another place to find plus size fashion has gotta be good!  CurvyCo’s closet is well organized by brand and size to help you find something special to add to your closet!  Or, if you want to make some cash for your upcoming fall wardrobe, it’s super easy to make room in your closet by selling your old favorites on CurvyCo.


Jun 09

Digitizing the World of Fashion

Dress of the Year exhibition at the Fashion Museum, Bath.

Dress of the Year exhibition at the Fashion Museum, Bath. May 2009. Photographer Freia Turland m:07875514528

For years, Google has been digitizing the world’s museums, making cultural artifacts accessible in extraordinary detail to millions of internet users. Now it’s turning to fashion. The Business of Fashion (BoF) website interviews Google on this astounding initiative.

Google allowed its engineers to spend 20 percent of their time on personal projects they thought would ultimately benefit the company. The tech giant has since scaled back on the policy, replacing it with a more focused approach to innovation, but Google’s famous “20 percent time” gave rise to some of its most successful products, including Gmail and AdSense.

Back in 2010, a Bombay-born engineer named Amit Sood used his “20 percent time” to kickstart the Google Art Project, an effort to digitize the world’s museums, making cultural artifacts accessible in extraordinary detail to millions of internet users. It was a Google-sized ambition that fit the company’s mission to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

The project has since grown into the Google Cultural Institute, a non-profit arm of the company, now housed in a grand hôtel particular in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, that has partnered with over 1,300 museums and foundations to digitize everything from the Dead Sea Scrolls to Marc Chagall’s ceiling at the Opéra Garnier, making them accessible on a platform called Google Arts & Culture.
Now, Google is turning its attention to fashion.

Encouraged by the volume of fashion-related online search queries and the rising popularity of fashion exhibitions, Google’s Cultural Institute has partnered with over 180 cultural institutions — including The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Kyoto Costume Institute — “to bring 3,000 years of fashion to the Google Arts & Culture platform.”

Called “We Wear Culture,” the initiative, which launches today, is based on the premise that fashion is culture, not just clothes. Led by Kate Lauterbach — a Google program manager who began her career at Condé Nast in New York and later worked for J.Crew’s Madewell — it aims to digitise and display thousands of garments from around the world, stage curated online exhibitions, invite non-profit partners like museums and schools to script and share their own fashion stories, and leverage technologies like Google Street View to offer immersive experiences like virtual walkthroughs of museum collections.
For end users, it’s a cultural rabbit hole and research tool. For partners, it’s a way to reach a much wider audience online, furthering both their educational mandates and marketing objectives. But the benefit to Google is more complex.

After a day’s immersion at Google’s Cultural Institute and associated Lab in Paris, BoF caught up with Lauterbach at the company’s London King’s Cross campus to learn more about the thinking behind the initiative and how digitising the world’s fashion archives unlocks value for the tech giant.
BoF: Tell me about the genesis of the Culture Institute’s fashion project.

Well, starting from art we expanded into culture. We did something around performance art, we did something around natural history; so very different, but the same idea: you take Google technologies, you apply them to this facet of culture and you produce something, you push the bounds, you do something different.

I worked in fashion pre-MBA and I just felt like it was a really interesting subject matter. We were starting to see fashion cropping up in different partners’ collections; it’s a personal passion of mine; and it’s also relevant and interesting and searched for online. It’s a conversation I thought we could bring some value to. We started thinking about it almost two years ago now and began having conversations with places like the V&A and the Costume Institute at the Met.

The project is named “We Wear Culture.” What does that mean?

We wanted to show that fashion is much deeper than just what you wear; that there’s a story behind it, there’s people behind it, there’s influences that come from art, that come from music, that come from culture more broadly; and, in turn, what we wear influences culture. We really wanted to put fashion on a par with art and artists. You look at their influences, you look at their inspiration, you look at their process, you look at their materials. And we thought that if you can have this kind of singular resource online where all of this was starting to be discussed — and hear it from the authority, I think that’s really critical — it would be valuable.

Shapes and silhouettes come and go. We call them trends. But what are they really? Why do they keep coming back?

BoF: What real world problem or inefficiency does this solve?

KL: Well, I always bring it back to our partners. They have enormous collections; they have all of this incredible knowledge. But it’s often in storage. So first of all, it’s kind of unlocking access to all of this and bringing it out of storage — whether that’s physical storage or a curator’s brain — and really bringing it to people in a way that’s easily understandable and educational but also fun. The target is not just fashion enthusiasts, but anyone who’s culturally curious. Someone who might never go to the Met, might never get to visit the Rei Kawakubo show, can now see some version of it online. So I think that’s really the power.

BoF: Presumably there’s marketing value for museums as well?

KL: Yes we hope so. Everything they do on our site, it links back to their sites. They can also embed anything they do on our site back on their own sites. The really well resourced museums have their own digital departments and do these type of things, but if you’re talking about a small regional museum in Romania, they don’t. So this gives everybody, no matter how big or small, the same tools and technologies. So it’s really quite democratic in that sense.

BoF: What about schools and students?

KL: Central Saint Martins is right around the corner, so we met with them. Fabio [Piras, the director of the school’s MA fashion course] asked right away: how is this going to be a resource for students? What we ended up doing with them is catalogue the MA shows from start to finish. But the question is: how do we turn this into teachable moments? We have Google Expeditions, which are basically teacher-led educational experiences. Students get [virtual reality] Google Cardboard viewers and get taken on a tour. I think this has incredible potential.

VK: What about the industry? Do you see this as a useful tool for designers?

KL: I hope so. I think there’s some really interesting tools that we have developed, like the ability to search over 15,000 new artifacts online in high-resolution for the first time. And you can search through time, through color. So imagine you want to mood board something that’s in this specific shade of red, you can see all the pieces. Or you just want to see hats from the 16th century, you can slice the content in a way that I hope will make it useful to the industry. And then I hope it generates a conversation and makes connections. My understanding is that curators are experts but they’re often quite detached from other parts of the industry, whereas hopefully this kind of mashes up historians, designers, students.

BoF: Why is this valuable to Google?

KL: For one, we’re an engineering company at heart and so anything that forces our engineers to think on a new spectrum is very useful to us. And then including fashion content and these artifacts makes the Google Arts & Culture platform richer, which makes it a better and more comprehensive experience for the user.

BoF: I can only imagine the data associated with garments locked up in museum collections is also interesting to Google.

KL: Yes. Because it’s the first time we’re doing fashion in a real way, another challenge for our engineers was developing a taxonomy for how all this data fits into our existing schema, which was designed for art, not fashion. So we actually changed our metadata schema specifically for this project and added things like designer, fashion house, manufacturer. We have a very structured way of understanding and providing this data to the end user now. And you know your data inputs are really high quality because they’re coming directly from museums.

BoF: What’s the value of this data? What can Google do with it?

KL: It’s ring-fenced to our site. As a non-profit, we have to keep it quite separate from the rest of Google. Within the site, there’s a lot of interesting experiments we can do with it, like different kinds of data visualizations. We are also applying some of the things we’re working on with machine learning to this rich new set of content. But it has to stay within the safe space of Google Arts & Culture.

BoF: Tell me more about the machine learning experiments.

KL: So there’s a few different experiments, based on visual similarity. I think you saw “X Degrees of Separation,” where you choose any two objects and the computer finds a visual pathway connecting them through a chain of similar objects. Then there’s the color palette one. It’s like a search engine for colour palette based on an analysis of the objects available on the platform. But it’s interesting because that’s using no actual data. That’s purely using image-based recognition and you realize how accurate the machine is getting. We have millions of artifacts on Google Arts & Culture and the machine can visually recognize similarities and then group them. I just find it incredible that a machine has done this with zero data and purely based on image similarity.

One thing that’s very interesting to me is shape and silhouette. When we were first talking to the machine learning team I thought, shapes and silhouettes come and go and then resurface. We call them trends. But what are they really? Why does that keep coming back? And what if you saw that and could map that onto political events or certain geographical locations. What if you could understand: Why do ripped jeans keep coming back? Is there a trigger? Is there something wider?

BoF: Being able to predict trends has huge commercial value.

KL: There’s no commercial value for us. At Google Arts & Culture, there’s no direct commercial value to anything that we do. For us, it’s a resource. We won’t be the ones to make this commercially valuable. It’s more that we open it up and make it available, we pull it out of these museums, out of these experts’ minds, bring it all onto this platform, but then that’s sort of where our job stops.

BoF: How are you measuring success?

KL: A lot of our success is sort of intangible. We measure partnerships. Of over 180 partners, I forget the exact number, but more than half of them are new relationships, which from my perspective is a really big opportunity. Then, of course, we are tracking how people are interacting with the project. Are they spending time on it? Are they sharing it? All the normal things. And then, more conceptually, for me it’s really, is this something that’s useful? To me that’s really the measure of success; that it’s a useful resource for partners, for users.

BoF: How do you see the project evolving over time?

KL: A lot of this is driven by technology. As the tech evolves, it gives us new opportunities. Maybe machine learning follows a similar trajectory to virtual reality where four years ago 360-degree experiences were incredible and expensive and now things like Google Cardboard have made them accessible to anyone. We look at tech innovation and adoption cycles and follow that.
For me, the educational piece is also key. My hope is that this becomes something that is a resource for teachers and students to better understand that fashion is not just what you buy on the high street or what you see on Instagram — there is so much more. If we can make this teachable then that’s the direction I’d like to see it go, because we rarely have this combination of tech, experts and the most authoritative sources of content. When you have the three of those, I think that sort of triangulation can create something really powerful for education.

BoF: It’s interesting. So many of your partners — like museums — are primarily engaged with the past, whereas fashion is fundamentally about the now. How does the project grapple with the present?

KL: We have the museums, which are largely kind of historic collections that do stretch into the now. But it was really important for this project to capture past, present and future. For the present, that’s really why we made such an effort with schools. So you have Parsons, SCAD, CSM and LCF, Bunka in Japan. I wanted to get a pulse on what are they teaching, what’s happening at the fashion schools right now. As for the future, the Danish Fashion Institute contributed a really lovely story on sustainability and how technology is enabling fabric innovation.

BoF: What can we expect from the launch itself?

KL: So, you’ll see the new vertical on Google Arts & Culture. It will actually be called “We Wear Culture” and you’ll see different stories, high-resolution images, Street Views, virtual reality experiences. So it will be hopefully very rich from a user perspective. You might see a story from the Kyoto Costume Institute next to a section on sportswear with content from the Football Museum in Brazil.

And, of course, we’re going to unveil the project with the Costume Institute at the Met on the evening on June 8th. There will be some physical experiences, some of the online stories and virtual reality experiences which we’ll bring to life within the physical space of the museum. With the Met, we worked on a 360-degree tour of their conservation studio, which, of course, no one can visit. That’ll come to life in a physical space, but also through virtual reality on the night of the event.


Expectations? When Amit Sood first began experimenting with a platform for digitizing the experience of art back in 2010, it was little more than a side project. But Google Arts & Culture now attracts over 40 million unique users a year and has partnered with many of the world’s top institutions, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg to the Palace of Versailles outside Paris. When BoF learned that the platform was turning its attention to fashion, it’s fair to say that expectations were high. Yet Google is a tech company with limited understanding of how the fashion world operates and some of its previous fashion initiatives, like the ill-fated e-commerce site, have failed rather spectacularly. Would Google’s platform really resonate in a space where functionality plays second fiddle to feel?

First impressions? BoF got a sneak peek of the experience on a giant, wall-sized screen at the Lab in Google’s Cultural Institute in Paris. The look-and-feel of the platform was clean and sharp. Some of the garments on the site had been captured in “Gigapixel images” (images containing over one billion pixels) taken by Google’s custom-built Art Camera and these images were nothing short of extraordinary, revealing details invisible to the naked eye. On first glance, it was easy to see how a fashion nerd could spend hours immersed in the platform.

Most potential? Google has rightly realized that its mission to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” inevitably puts the company into dialogue with museums, archives and foundations, where so much of the world’s cultural knowledge is locked up. Unlocking this knowledge and making it accessible to millions of people online is a remarkable goal. Feeding it to machines that can learn the link between the Sex Pistols, a safety pin and a Vivienne Westwood dress could prove to be even more valuable in a market for personal luxury goods worth €249 billion in 2016, according to Bain & Company. While Google Arts & Culture is strictly non-profit, what the wider company could, one day, do with machines that genuinely understand fashion extends from trend prediction to automated design with revolutionary implications.

What’s missing? Fashion is fundamentally about the present. Yet Google Arts & Culture feels more like a time capsule, removed from the real-time fashion conversation happening on popular platforms like Instagram. What’s more, while the initiative is non-profit, fashion is an unmistakably commercial enterprise where brands are critical creators of both cultural meaning and content and have huge importance across the ecosystem. It will be hard for Google to build a platform that grapples meaningfully with fashion without finding a way to incorporate brands.

Now explore what Google offers in the field of fashion 

You might also enjoy our article on Fashion Exhibits worldwide

Apr 16

Disney’s Dress Shop For Adults Is Totally Amazing

dresses from Disney's dress shop Disney’s Dress Shop sells stunning outfits that pay tribute to your favorite characters

If you’re heading to Disney any time soon and aren’t already into DisneyBounding, you might want to get on board. It’s when you dress as a modern version of a Disney character instead of wearing the actual costume. Think of it as cosplay lite — a fun way to pay tribute without the elaborate garb.

Luckily, Disney is now catering to those who want to spend their time at the park appropriately Disney’d up and has a new store called The Dress Shop that will have any DisneyBounder positively squealing with delight.

As someone who isn’t particularly obsessed with Disney, even I’m drooling at these outfits. The Dress Shop just opened a few weeks ago and according to Inside the Magic, some styles will soon be available online.

Merchandiser Donna Sorrow tells the Disney Parks Blog, “We designed The Dress Shop collection for guests who want to emulate their favorite Disney characters or theme park attractions in a fun, retro way. These items aren’t costumes, rather the collection contains perfect outfits for guests who have a passion for Disney style.”

The Disney Springs Twitter account has photos of several outfits and after taking a peek, your next stop will be nabbing airfare to Orlando, because holy cuteness.

Pay subtle tribute to Belle and her books in this absolutely incredible dress that I may or may not buy the moment it’s available online, so help me god.

Belle dress from Disney's dress shop

Image via Twitter

Obviously, you need a Chip purse to match.

Disney chip purse

Disney purse

How about this gorgeous retro number, a nod to the park’s Enchanted Tiki Room attraction.

retro dress from Disney's dress shop

Image via Twitter

There are several outfits celebrating Disney rides. Here’s a Haunted Mansion ensemble complete with matching handbags.

haunted mansion ensemble from Disney's dress shop

Image via Twitter

Be a pirate princess with this way-too-cute Pirates of the Caribbean dress and its coordinating loot. Loot. Pirates. See what I did there? I’m here every weekend, ladies.

pirate outfit from Disney's dress shop

Image via Twitter

We’re straight up coveting this Hollywood Tower Hotel halter dress and ridiculously perfect Snow White apple design.

Hollywood Tower Hotel halter dress from Disney's dress shop

Image via Twitter

And how about this positively magical Alice in Wonderland get-up. We wish it came with her perfect, vintage hairstyle.

Alice in Wonderland dress from Disney'd dress shop

Image via Twitter

We honestly can’t even handle it.

dresses from Disney's dress shop

Image via Twitter

Since the items aren’t available for sale online yet, we couldn’t find an official listing of sizes, but commenters on Inside the Magic who visited the store say select styles are available up to 3XL and that unlike a lot of Disney apparel, the clothing runs big. The dresses run between $100-$160 and prices for accessories vary greatly.

Hopefully, it will all be for sale online soon. Until then, we’ll just have to stare and dream, or hightail it to Disney’s Dress Shop

Reprinted from Scary Mommy

Apr 02

Target Adds Victoria Beckham Plus-Size Line

Posh new fashion line by Victoria Beckham

Victoria Beckham plus size line at Target_Victoria Beckham is working on a clothing line for Target that will feature a range of styles in sizes that go to 24. Her current clothing line only goes through size 14, so this will be a change from what Beckham typically produces.

“I want to design for women no matter their budget, age, or size. I want to empower women and girls, and make them feel like the best versions of themselves. The fact that I can offer plus size is really exciting, it’s a first for me, and it’s something important that I’m proud of,” Beckham told Refinery29.

The line for Target will have styles ranging from $6 to $70 and will feature a collection with over 200 pieces. The collection has fashion for women and children, which marks the first time Beckham has designed for kids.

Spice Up Your Wardrobe

As if this all weren’t cool enough, a sneak peak of the line was released with a Target ad featuring one of the Spice Girls most famous hits, “Spice Up Your Life.” Beckham shared the advertisement on her Instagram as well as photo ads for pieces from the collection.

“The Spice Girls were so much about girl power and fun, and there’s an energy that the song brings to the ad; you can’t help but smile and dance,” Beckham continued telling Refinery29.

Much like Beckham’s own personal style, the collection appears chic and sleek with many options in neutral colors. However, she does spice up the looks with pop of colors and floral patterns.

And Target is getting a makeover

The red and white retailer recently announced a new giant leap forward, away from drab, toward fab. According to Target, they’re planning “the company’s most ambitious store re-design to date.” And judging by the concept drawings, it’s going to be awesome.

Revolutionizing the retail game

“Expect lots of flexibility, open sight lines and discovery moments throughout the store,” says Cornell. Target is on its way to being a corporate giant in local hangout place-clothing. In terms of design, it looks like Nordstrom and Ulta and Whole Foods all squeezed onto that little red and white target.The first store to feature the design will open in Richmond, Texas, a suburb of Houston.

Read all the details of this makeover here

Mar 22

Payless To Close Stores

Payless shoe storePayless Inc., yet another struggling discount shoe chain, was preparing to file for bankruptcy as soon as next week, according to people familiar with the matter Bloomberg reported, and added that the company is initially planning to close 400 to 500 stores as it reorganizes operations. Payless had originally looked to shutter as many as 1,000 locations, and the number may still be in flux, according to one of the people.

The company, founded in 1956 in Topeka, Kansas, employs almost 22,000 people, according to its website. It has more than 4,000 stores in 30 countries.

Payless’s bankruptcy would add to a tumultuous year in retail, with several bankruptcies and hundreds of store closings — even at companies that aren’t distressed. The industry is racing to try to adapt to more online purchasing and a shift away from mall shopping.

With Sears also in trouble, the impact on malls and their closings will also accelerate.

Note from Tasi:  Payless is one of our affiliate stores…see their ads in the sidebars. Payless is likely to increase their online offerings to include online ONLY, so shop here for a greater variety of sizes and styles.

Jan 29

Average Size of American Women Increases

average size of american woman increases

The average size of an American woman is now between 16 and 18, according to a new study from the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education. Previously, it was commonly thought that this average size was 14. However, the researchers found that this number increased in the last 10 years.

The research utilized the measurements of more than 5,500 American women who are over 20 years old. The purpose of the study was to determine the current average clothing size of adult American women. Secondary data of average body measurements from the most recently published National Health and Nutritional Examination Surveys were compared to ASTM International industry clothing size standards. Findings suggest that, contrary to popular assumptions, the average American woman’s (AAW’s) clothing size is larger than anticipated. The AAW wears between a Misses size 16–18, which corresponds to a Women’s Plus size 20W, with greater distinctions found when considering race and ethnicity. The study also revealed that over the last two decades the average waist size has increased 2.6 inches, from 34.9 inches to 37.5 inches, with “even greater distinctions found when considering race and ethnicity

Despite these findings, most retailers still consider the sizes above 16 to be “plus size.” As most haven’t really caught up with the evolution of the women’s bodies in America and beyond, for the”‘average woman,” it can be a struggle to shop for clothes.

It is suggested that updating Misses and Plus-size clothing standards should be a major priority.

Dec 26

Retailer Meijer Integrating Plus Sizes In All Its Stores


The movement to integrate plus size fashion into the regular fashion departments at major stores has just gone up a notch with Midwest retailed Meijer beating out all other brands and companies with this huge commitment. They have pledged to ensure plus sizes up to a size 3X are part of every clothing selection in all 230 of their stores across America by early 2017.

You may remember when H&M offered plus size clothing, but only online. The message heard by many women was that the world’s second largest clothing retailer is paying attention to the body positive movement and demand for greater diversity, but it is only willing to take baby steps (or even tokenistic steps) toward change. They  had a chance to really lead the way on change, which is why it became such a disappointment. Their loss became a prime opportunity for Meijer, a chain based out of Michigan which serves a huge portion of the Midwest population.

Meijer sizes for every body_

They were ranked no. 19 on Forbes’ 2015 list of “America’s Largest Private Companies” and is also the 26th-largest retailer in the United States. They are no small fry, with stores in Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin, Kentucky, and Indiana. Customers can look forward to sizes S – 3X hung together on the Meijer racks, and pay the exact same price no matter what size they purchase.

“Over the past few years, we’ve placed an increased focus on bringing more on-trend, affordable apparel to our customers. This fresh approach to shopping represents a continuation of that commitment, giving our customers the trends they’re looking for, regardless of what size they wear,” said Peter Whitsett, executive vice president of merchandising and marketing in an emailed press release.

“Plus-size apparel is often priced higher than missy or women’s sizes. We believe all our customers deserve to pay the same price for the same trends, regardless of size,” said Annette Repasch, group vice president of soft lines for Meijer. Read the rest of the story here.

Note from Tasi: Meijer’s has a store in Muncie where I visit yearly. It’s on par with Target, only now better

Oct 31

Jeans for a Tall Girl


Hi. I’m Brianna McDowwell. “I’m 6 feet and plus-size, so it’s so hard to find jeans that fit really well. When I got these jeans from Fashion to Figure, I immediately fell in love. These jeans hugged all the right places and were actually long enough — it was a miracle. I wholeheartedly believe that an outfit can change your mood, confidence, and your whole day. Whenever I put on these jeans, I honestly feel unstoppable and empowered. I know jeans are such a closet staple basic, but there is no magic like finding a well-fitted pair!”

Be sure to visit Brianna on her blog, The B Word  proof that a BBW can be fashionable.

Here’s some videos with tips in finding the right fit for your jeans.


Oct 06

High Heels Are Meeting Their Slow Demise

no-high-heelsAre high heels losing steam? If you’ve swapped vertiginous shoes for comfy flats and sneakers—like Ashley Olsen—you’re not the only one. Yahoo! Style reported on a study conducted by market analysis company Mintel, which revealed insights into which shoe styles women are really buying right now.

The study analyzed the shopping habits of UK women in particular, and found that for the first time ever, more UK women are buying sneakers than high heels. Specifically, “37% of UK women who have bought footwear in the last year bought trainers, compared to 33% who bought shoes with a heel.” The only shoes more popular than sneakers are flats.

Mintel’s senior fashion analyst, Tamara Sender, offered more insight in a statement: “The UK sportswear market has seen strong growth in the last year, and there has been a trend for consumers to integrate sports clothing into their daily wardrobes, meaning trainers have also become more popular among women, overtaking heels to become the second favorite item of footwear after flat shoes,” she explained in the report.

Source:  Who What Wear

Sep 10

Shoe Trends In and Out This Fall

2016-winter-shoe-trendsShoes, like our clothes, have trends too so let’s look at the shoe trends for this coming fall. We all have our go-to fall shoes we wear year after year—classic black ankle boots, anyone? While there’s nothing wrong with these staples (and you absolutely should keep wearing them!), we bet you’re looking to invest in a few new shoe styles this season to keep your vibes fresh and current and just because shoes are fun  and one of the best ways to change up your outfits. The issue is simply deciphering exactly what’s worth testing out and what you should avoid for the most of-the-moment look.

To help pinpoint the shoe styles that are in and out in the world of fall footwear, we tapped some of the popular shoe designers to spill on everything you should toss and try right now. Some of these picks may surprise you, while others may be totally right up your alley (as in you’ll want to whip out your credit card and add them to cart ASAP).


Try some of our favorite shoe stores in the Sister House stores.

Aug 29

Vamplify Will Change the Way You Wear Lipstick

Lip gloss is making a comeback and MAC is on the cutting edge for new products. We’re not talking about the sticky formulas that used to grab your hair back in the eighth grade. No, sir! These new high-lacquer lip products are devoid of tackiness. Instead, they glide on for comfortable wear, and the pigment makes an immediate appearance (no need for multiple layers).

In response to this trend, MAC will be releasing a new set of 17 glosses dubbed Vamplify ($20) this Fall. While Lipglass is typically the final layer of shine over your favorite lipstick, these shades are heavily hued so they can be worn alone. Vamplify will be available on Sept. 3 along with a set of coordinating longwear lip liners. Keep reading to preview the collection and see swatches!

Apr 06

Target is Introducing New Plus-Size Collection from Lily Pulitzer

Target has become known for their designer collaborations but their upcoming one with Lily Pulitzer, hitting stores and online on April 19th, is one that everyone has their eyes on. This will be Target‘s first designer collaboration that will include plus sizes.

Lily Pulitzer lookbook

They recently launched their AVA & VIV plus size line, which has received so-so reviews. However, with the enlistment of three top plus size fashion bloggers as consultants, Target is still determined to forge forward and win their plus size customers back. It is evident that Target is listening and that’s apparent with the upcoming induction of plus sizes in the Lily Pulitzer collection.

According to Plus-Size Magazine, they have to admit that they’re highly anticipating the Lily Pulitzer collection. The brand put American resort wear on the map as fun, stylish and chic. Her signature prints are loved by many. And Target is able to bring it to the masses at affordable prices.

Apr 04

A New Fashion Line for Lane Bryant

If you haven’t been shopping at Lane Bryant, then you should be. This plus-size retailer is bringing out one new designer line after another and their clothes are both classic and trendy. Finally we plus-size ladies have a retailer that is listening to us.


Designer Collab: Lela Rose for Lane Bryant is the latest addition. The Curvily fashion blog says they ” have swooned over the gorgeous florals and delicate prints of Lela Rose for years” and was positively giddy when Lane Bryant announced their collaboration with her last fall. She attended the preview at the picturesque restaurant The Park, and was happy to discover that the collection is true to Lela Rose’s signature aesthetic – not at all dulled down in the name of arbitrary fashion rules about what plus size women should or should not wear.

Please visit Lane Bryant online through our link and you will not be disappointed in this new fashion line

Feb 25

Modcloth Swimwear is for Women of all Sizes

ModCloth is more than just a company that makes frankly drool-worthy clothes. They’re also a brand committed to representing all women .Check out the new ModCloth swimwear ad campaign, featuring women of all shapes and size

Last summer, ModCloth signed an anti-Photoshop pledge. According to Brit + Co’s Kate Puhala, “ModCloth became the first fashion company to agree to “do our best to not change to shape, size, proportion, color and/or remove/enhance the physical features of the people in our ads in post-production.” Only non-material changes like removing fly-away hairs or brightening the color of a backdrop are acceptable — there’s no nipping, tucking, toning or smoothing of the female form allowed.”

This summer, ModCloth is yet again showing that it wants to represent women of all sizes with its new line of swimwear. Rather than hiring all size zero models, the ModCloth swimwear campaign use its company employees as models. Employees in all shapes and sizes. Check out the awesome ad from their website:

ModCloth customer service advocate Ingrid Taller told Refinery29, “As a larger-size-fat, I have seldom shopped somewhere, especially online, and felt that I had an idea of what an item would look like on me. [It] is a no-holds-barred example of what more of our media needs.”

It is definitely time for the fashion industry to start representing women of all shapes and sizes. Fifty percent of American women wear a size 14 or larger. These women who are ready to see models who look more like them. A survey in PLUS Model Magazine surveyed 1722 women and found that 91.3 percent of respondents wanted to see models size 12 and up.

Meanwhile, the industry definition of plus-size seems to be ever-shrinking. Anthony Higgins – Director at MSA Models tells NY Castings that, “A plus sized model, in the past, was a size 10-12 – up to a size 18 for fashion. Now, they are calling a size 8 plus sized.”

The ModCloth swimwear campaign is a great first step in the fashion industry toward representing all women. From size zero to 14 to 40.

Sep 11

Street Style Looks at New York Fashion Week

Marie Claire just published an interesting montage of street style looks during New York Fashion Week that’s utterly amazing ….amazingly bad style that is. The first reader comment I read was “they are all ugly”.  I usually like to follow these fashion weeks which are in New York, London, Paris, and Milan in consecutive weeks as while some of the fashions are a bit overboard, you usually see some amazing looks. Despite the efforts of style icons like Anna Wintour (publisher of Vogue), Tim Gunn (Project Runway) and Clinton Kelly (What Not To Wear), America seems to continue to broadcast it’s own brand of bad style. It will be interesting to see what the street style looks for the other fashion weeks will produce. Will we continue to lead the trend in …what not to wear?

Jul 17

Your “Must Read” Fashion Magazines

Skorch_JanI’m sure you are familiar with the Glamour, Vogue, Lucky, Elle,and InStyle fashion magazines, but if you are a plus-size girl (size 14 and above) and most of us are, then did you know that there are a bunch of online and print plus size magazines??

Fashion, beauty, relationships, sex, plus size news, plus size models, inspiration, body image…whatever you’re looking for these magazines have got you covered. Each magazine has its own style and there’s something for everyone. Subscribe to one or subscribe to them all…most are FREE!

If you are looking for plus size editorials, personal features, news about the plus size industry, who better to tell it than the plus size publications? They do exist and while we do not see them readily on the newsstand, they do exist- and some with print on demand options! I for one love seeing varied options and outlets to cater to the varying plus size woman.

Here’s a little peek into each magazine.

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