For what seems like forever, the fashion industry has focused on a narrow definition of beauty—namely, tall and skinny. But over the past year, the body positivity movement has taken off, and mass-market brands are beginning to pay attention, booking non-straight-size models—as in any model over a size 4—for fashion and beauty campaigns and expanding their sizing options. But plus-size options continue to be hard to find in smaller, independent boutiques. After feeling ignored or mistreated by the fashion industry for years, many shoppers have left brick-and-mortar shopping to turn to e-commerce to find stylish pieces in their sizes.
Fortunately, things are starting to shift in the Twin Cities retail scene. Minnesota-based cheap-chic retailer, Primp, recently announced the arrival of its new plus-size line, Primp + PLUS. Following a price rollback earlier this year that brought prices back to $100 or under, the store has introduced an extended sizing selection of pieces ranging from XL to XXXL.
Co-owners Michele Henry and Wesley Uthus say the change is in response to customers’ requests for more size options. “Primp has always been about making stylish fashion available to everyone, and we’re sticking to that mission by offering even more sizes at great price points,” says Henry in a press release. “It’s still not common in the boutique world, but we really want to change that.”
For now, the Primp + PLUS line is only available online, but the company hopes to roll it out in stores this summer or fall. Shoppers can also check out spring selections from store, including Primp + PLUS, at an invite-only pop-up event this Friday, April 27 at the Brick x Mortar event space in the North Loop from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. (Those interested can request an invitation at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
And Primp’s not the only local fashion brand getting into the act. Ethical retailer Hazel & Rose also recently began carrying plus-size fashions in store and on its website from sustainable brands such as NYC-based Wray, which is ethically produced in a small fair-trade factory in Delhi, India, as well as exclusive pieces from Twin Cities brands Hackwith Design House (which also sells a line of plus-size fashions on its website) and Winsome Goods. And last fall, Cake Plus-Size Resale opened the first resale shop in Minneapolis dedicated to plus-size fashion.
“Expanding our sizes has been in our plan from the beginning, but we really struggled to find the vendors who wanted to do it,” says Hazel & Rose co-owner Bobbi Barron, who says their customers have been asking for more size options. “It was important for us to offer that, not only because they should—anyone should be able to come into the shop and not be afraid we aren’t going to have their size. Inclusivity was the reason really pushing brands to expand.”
Barron and Hazel & Rose co-owner, Emma Olson, asked several small labels to do a test run for them in extended sizes. It took some more time and planning on the designers’ part because they had to recreate their patterns in new sizes. The store plans to continue to expand its plus-size selection this fall, adding pieces by Austin, Texas–based label Esby, Ozma of California, and Atlanta-based designer Megan Huntz.
“We know that it’s hard but we wanted to give it a try and we were willing to work with them and do whatever needed to be done,” says Barron. “We’re really excited, and so far there’s been a great response.”