Dia&Co is using the start of New York Fashion Week to put pressure on fashion designers to offer plus-size looks.
The subscription styling service for women size 14 and up published a full-page advertisement in The New York Times Thursday, calling on fashion brands to take action and design with body inclusivity in mind. Dia&Co CEO Nadia Boujarwah said the newspaper ad is the start of a larger campaign called Move Fashion Forward, designed to raise awareness and mobilize support for increased options in plus-size fashion.
“As a company that’s exclusively focused on serving these women, we feel a responsibility to be at the forefront of this,” Boujarwah said. “Instead of letting another fashion week go by, we thought, ‘How do we start action and create tangible change so that women can enjoy products in their size for the first time?’”
The effort will include a social media push calling on users to use the hashtag #movefashionforward to call out designers who don’t currently have plus-size offerings. Dia&Co will also serve as the title sponsorship at the third-annual Curvycon during New York Fashion Week in September and will put on the event’s first plus-size show.
Dia&Co CEO Nadia Boujarwah said that while progress has been made over the last few years — with designers like Christian Siriano and Prabal Gurung featuring plus-size models in runway shows and offering larger sizes — there is still significant work to be done.
As part of the campaign, Dia&Co issued a survey of 1,500 plus-size women which found that 72 percent believe fashion designers don’t design with the average American woman in mind. What’s more, 78 percent of those surveyed would be more willing to spend money on clothing if designers had these offerings. Boujarwah said the market largely remains untapped — the plus-size market was worth more than $21.1 billion in 2016, an increase of 7 percent from 2015.
The survey also found that the top designer brand women wish they could purchase in plus sizes is Kate Spade, followed by Tommy Hilfiger, Kenneth Cole and Diane von Furstenberg. (Kate Spade declined to comment, and the other three brands have not responded to request for comment.)
“It’s an opportunity not just for those brands to come to the table, but any brand,” she said. “We’re hoping to start a much broader conversation. Dia&Co was founded pretty squarely on the belief that fashion doesn’t stop at a certain size and, truly, all women are interested in style and expressing themselves through clothing. We think that’s a fundamental right.”