We have never written about any designers of plus size fashion yet. The reason is simple: there are not too many plus size designers out there. Most young designers specialize into other directions, and not a lot of them decide to create fashion beyond the regular sizes.
But why is that so? Why do we often hear that it’s hard to find pretty clothes in large sizes? What are the challenges of designing pieces made for full figured folks? We talked to plus size designer Natalia Weimann to find out.
When did you decide to create plus size fashion, and why?
When I was a child, I drew women and their clothes all the time, and at the age of 17, I decided to make fashion a profession. The idea of creating plus size fashion came to me because I’m wearing a 44/46 myself and know how it is not to find decent, modern clothes in my size. So I thought I could just change that and create a modern, high-quality design collection.
If well-designed plus size fashion is something rare, then there must be a huge market potential for it. Was that a good reason for you, too?
Sure. In Berlin, the market for young avantgarde labels is rather crowded, and so it was an easy decision to go into a different direction.
Minimalism in maximum sizes is your basic concept. Is that a rare thing?
Many plus size labels use senseless details like zippers, brooches or bows to distract the eye from the figure. But that doesn’t work, and it even makes clothes look frumpy.
Like most other plus size labels, Natalia Weimann says that the clothes are classy, modern or elegant. Is the common view on plus size fashion so bad that you have to point this out?
Unfortunately, yes. To be curvaceous or full figured doesn’t fit the young image of society. All those young stars and celebs on tv are skinny, and bigger people don’t seem to fit in there. At least, that’s how it used to be. Thank God that a lot has changed in this aspect, even in the world of fashion. Even popular designers like Cavalli create collections in bigger sizes, and Karl Lagerfeld declared Beth Dito was his muse.
Why don’t popular labels just offer some parts of their collections in bigger sizes?
Many young designers seem to think that their fashion must be avantgarde and will only be worn by pretty, skinny people. That’s the type of glamour that people commonly have in mind.
What are the greatest challenges in designing plus sizes? What is different to creating standard sizes?
My customers have manifold problem areas. Some may have a big belly or big breasts. Many don’t want to show their legs or try to hide their upper arms. When designing a collection, all of this needs to be considered.
When I design skirts or dresses, I make sure that their length grows with their size. While a 38 skirt will still show some knee, it will be well below the knee as a 46. All my clothes have short sleeves, and many have a rather wide cut. I make sure they never look like a big bag, but still show some figure. Sophisticated cuts take a lot of time to create, but they are able to hide a lot, while also looking great. I am my own fitting model, so I can always see directly if a piece looks great in a bigger size or not. I know all my customers’ problems, so I can pay attention to them in all my designs.