This is an open directive to SOUTH ASIAN DESIGNERS, self-proclaimed or otherwise: LEARN ABOUT PLUS-SIZE! Google it, read a book, ask somebody, I do not care, but figure it out!
No matter how much you wish for all your clients to look like Deepika Padukone, they do not. I dunno which rock you reside under, but SOUTH ASIAN WOMEN HAVE CURVES. Have you heard of a saree? You know, a five-yard fabric design to hug and accentuate one’s shape? Have you ever wondered why it is the most popular attire for South Asian women? What’s that? Oh, it makes their curves look bomb?! Well no duh Sherlock.
I am tired of my girls with curves, height, or both coming to me and telling me about horrendous experience after horrendous experience of attempting to shop for desi clothing. The amounts of insults they have to put up with is UNACCEPTABLE. They should not be explaining to a person who is presenting themselves as a maker of clothes of HOW TO MAKE PLUS-SIZE CLOTHING! They do not have the time because they are successful, smart, and have things going on.
This is 2019, we have Nabela Noor and Ashley Graham, how you gonna tell somebody they just don’t have the figure for your salwar kameez? I do not accept this. Bye Felicia (are we still doing that, youths @ me please).
What is even more appalling, and takes me to next level of rage is watching brands try and tout “inclusivity”, but yet make designs for plus-size women that can only be generously described as a sack-like silhouette. Oh so we gonna punish women for having hips that I would give my left leg for and give them a garbage bag to wear? Is that inclusivity? How can you call yourself a designer if you do not fundamentally understand how to dress women of all shapes and sizes? Any designer worth their salt will know how to make every woman feel beautiful.
I once worked on a shoot with a South Asian designer, where the concept was inclusivity, celebrating women of all sizes, and this designer would not send blouses for our plus-size models, and did not have inclusive sizing. They did have a “one-size” fits all garment, and guess what? Yea, it didn’t fit. This “designer” constantly tout themselves as a lover of all women, yet didn’t actually do anything to prove that. We had to figure out alternatives for our models, which is just a slap in the face. How about you not just do it for the gram? How about you practice what you preach? This is a person with a following, who uses smoke and mirrors to trick you into thinking they are all for empowering women. And it is just not this particular desi designer, it is a majority of them, where they attempt to profit off what they see as a trend: inclusivity.
This is not a trend, this is a reality that has been here, is here, and will continue to be here. Nothing is going to change that, so get on board and figure it out. If your job is to make clothes for women, you best believe you better be making clothes for ALL WOMEN.
By the way, this isn’t directed at all of you. Some of you do actually know how to dress plus-size women and do an incredible job. Some of you I call friends and I applaud you. I have been in fashion for basically a decade at this point (yes I am old and wise). I’ve had the good fortune to work with South Asian designers that truly understood and celebrated women (S/O to Huemn & Archana Rao). The majority of my time in fashion focused on dressing women. My clients ranged in shapes and sizes, who patiently taught Plus Size 101 to a tiny gal. Lessons included the dangers of horizontal stripes and shapeless sacks are a no-no. I am forever grateful for them.
I’ve never been to fashion/design school. But yet, I am educated. So it is clear that the information is not elusive or a mystery. It is also very clear that plus-size is a majority and not some small slice of the population.
My co-founder Tania and I started WESTxEAST for the sole aim of making desi clothing more democratic. We make made-to-measure clothing specifically so that not a single one of our clients have to worry about fit. We are so proud that the majority of our clients are plus-size. There is nothing that brings me more joy than helping women feel beautiful in the clothes they wear. My favorite part is looking how their shoulders just became that much straighter because they were filled with confidence from that outfit.
Why don’t you want that for your customers? Why do you get to pick and choose who gets to feel like that based on arbitrary standards? It’s bull and it needs to cease and desist. So until you can shape up, to all my plus-size ladies, come see me at WESTxEAST, I got you. Because somebody needs to.