Plus-size retailer Eloquii is seeing some plus size gains thanks to Aidy Bryant.
Eloquii offered to design a custom dress for the Saturday Night Live star and longtime customer who posted the look on Instagram before appearing at the Emmy Awards on Sunday. Eloquii creative director Jodi Arnold said that after Bryant shared the photo, which got 11,000 likes and was not sponsored, the site had a 500-person waitlist for the dress in just one day — the longest wait list number the company has experienced in a 24-hour period. The dress retails for $160 and will be available in mid-October.
The buzz over the Eloquii dress is the latest in continued support for plus-size fashion on social media, which included Christian Siriano dressing Bryant’s SNL co-star Leslie Jones for the Ghostbusters premiere after she tweeted about not being able to find anyone who would.
Siriano also featured five plus-size models during his New York Fashion Week show on September 10, which was a win by all accounts: He got 8,000 mentions around the show, 99 percent of which was “outlandishly positive,” according to Kellan Terry, senior data analyst at Brandwatch. Likewise, Prabal Gurung recently launched a partnership with Lane Bryant, after regularly cutting up to a size 22 for his own line but struggling to sell the garments to stores.
It also comes on the heels of a widely circulated op-ed by Project Runway host Tim Gunn in the Washington Post calling for designers to make clothing that fits all American women, particularly as the average woman wears between a size 16 and 18. Gunn noted there are currently 100 million plus-sized women in the United States who are underserved, despite the business opportunity for designers — the plus-size market for women is estimated to be $20.4 billion, an increase from$17.4 billion in 2013.
“I love the American fashion industry, but it has a lot of problems, and one of them is the baffling way it has turned its back on plus-size women,” Gunn wrote.
Arnold said Eloquii was largely founded to fill a need in the market, adding that part of what is inhibiting designers from delving into plus-sized fashion is the lack of education in fashion schools and the inability to find a place to sell larger designs.
“It’s very daunting to think about the technical part of it. We aren’t taught about plus sizes in schools, and how to rethink patterns and proportions differently,” she said. “Designers don’t have wholesale outlets for plus sizes. I’m really happy to see it change and I think this was the first season we’ve seen a dramatic step forward.”
Despite Eloquii’s focus on designing for plus-size women, she said it avoids focusing on the physical form and more on the idea of fashion for fall.
“We don’t really speak about body positivity, we feel like it’s a bit regressive to talk about women’s bodies,” she said. “We are all about fashion, and giving this customer the idea that just because she’s size 14 to 28 doesn’t mean she shouldn’t have the opportunity to leave her house every day feeling modern and great.”