Keeping ahead of the fashion curve

The shape of fashion is changing, writes Sarah Bartlett, PR Assistant at Freshwater UK.

In the UK, the average woman’s dress size is now a 16 – a far cry from the size zero waifs who play major roles in the mainstream fashion industry. But it’s not only our curves that are on the increase, the plus size fashion market is estimated to be worth £6 billion, having grown from £3.8 billion in 2008.

Retailers have woken up to the fact that women of all shapes and sizes want to wear (and have money to spend on) fashionable clothing and the plus size market is booming.

While not turning its back on the archetypical model physique (5ft 11 plus, size 4 to 6 max) which still dominates on the world’s runways, the fashion industry has moderated its approach to size with more and more advertising and editorial opportunities for women with curves.

A number of plus size specific modelling agencies sprung up in the late 2000s and many of the bigger bookers now have ‘Curve’divisions. But this wasn’t always the case.

Successful curvy model Saffi Karina saw how she and other girls were expected to force their bodies to be a certain shape or size in order to fit in with the ‘ideal’ model shape and weight.

Saffi decided that rather than stifling her natural curves, she was going to embrace her body as it was and help other models and women do the same. She wanted to prove that a healthy body and the fashion industry could go hand in hand and so Curve Project London, the UK’s first body confidence masterclass and intensive curvy model workshop, was born.

Body confidence is a hot topic at the moment, and social media allows women of all shapes and sizes to share their views and showcase their style on personal blogs online.

Having worked with leading plus size retailer Curvissa since 2011, we recommended teaming up with Curve Project London to develop a strategic partnership and unique event proposition to communicate their shared ethos and promote the key message of having style and confidence at any size.

The result was a unique body confidence and styling event for influential plus size bloggers to launch the Curvissa Spring / Summer 2014 look book in March 2014.

F5 brands is the consumer division of Freshwater PR, providing integrated communications for brands in the retail, fashion, beauty, food, leisure and tourism sectors.