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Tim Gunn Wants to Resize the Market

It’s no surprise that the fashion industry lacks diversity, especially in sizing. Most designer labels only produce garments up to a size 12, which makes no sense considering that the average American woman is between sizes 14 and 18. Even fashion icon Tim Gunn is sick of seeing the majority of women excluded from fashion.

In a recent article, Gunn elaborated on his observations. As a mentor on Project Runway and prominent figure behind the scenes of many designer shows, he has seen a lot of the problems firsthand. For instance, Gunn has said that the yearly ‘real women’ challenge on Project Runway brings groans from the contestants – this challenge is based on creating a garment for a non-model, meant to represent the average woman.

Even when a plus sized collection took home the win on the latest season of Project Runway, Gunn felt it wasn’t enough, saying “I said they should be clothes all women want to wear. I wouldn’t dream of letting any woman, whether she’s a size 6 or a 16, wear them. A nod toward inclusiveness is not enough.” The problem is made more apparent, when considering that even plus sized actresses have to have gowns specially made for them. Celebrities are usually as fashionable as they can stand to be, and yet a gap in the market is making that difficult for even the famous.

When you consider that retailers like ModCloth and Eloquii have seen their profits grow after introducing a larger range of plus sized clothing, Gunn’s confusion with the industry makes sense. He does admit, however, that it’s not as simple as scaling up the garments. Everything would need to be to reconsidered to flatter the women, he says, but it’s a task that’s worth doing.

One of fashion’s most recognizable names is calling out to designers, even using his signature catch phrase ‘designers, make it work’ to call attention to the issue. Tim Gunn says “I profoundly believe that women of every size can look good. But they must be given choices.”

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