The fashion world is about to be thrown a curve ball.
For three days starting on June 16, the catwalks will be filled with models showing off the styles from the premier designers from all over the world who specialize in flattering the figures of women over a size 12.
The third annual Full Figured Fashion Week is all about the sizes that are largely ignored by the mainstream fashion world and snubbed during the hoopla of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.
The interest this year has been overwhelming. Events have sold out, and women are clamoring for tickets to the shows. Gwen Devoe, the organizer of Full Figured Fashion Week, expects over 1,000 people to attend the grand finale showcase.
“It’s been crazy,” said Devoe. “It’s just exploding. Women are finally getting a chance to see fashion come alive on models with bodies they can relate to.”
The event is answering the call from all the plus-size women who want one thing: The same choices in the marketplace that their skinnier sisters get. They want variety and good quality at a fair price.
“Plus-size women in America want fashionable, well-made clothes,” said Devoe. “We have money to spend. and we’re happy to give it to the designers and stores who help us celebrate our curves.”
There are events for buyers, bloggers, models and sponsors as well as sample sales, trunk shows and a shopping crawl for out-of-town fashionistas who want to see what New York City has to offer fuller-figured shoppers.
Sexy swimwear, high-end eveningwear, shoes and cocktail dresses will be on display for women who want a little individuality in their wardrobe and not just to shop at the big department stores.
“A lot of clothing for plus-sized women is just really ugly,” said Rachel Kacenjar, the Cleveland-based designer of Sweetooth Couture. “There’s a lot of business-casual apparel but really not very much for women who want something different or unusual.”
Kacenjar designs for larger-size women with a taste for retro glamour. With an accent on comfortable and flattering fabrics, she creates sexy dresses, skirts and tops that go from the office to the dance floor.
For designers who love what they see on the ready-to-wear runways, the options for plus-sized women can be disheartening.
“I love all the prints that I’ve been seeing on the runways lately,” said Kacenjar. “To be honest, a lot of the prints that end up on plus-sized clothing are just awful.”
Full Figured Fashion Week also gives designers and retailers to meet each other and, hopefully, form new relationships.
For Deb Malkin, owner of the Brooklyn boutique ReDress, it’s a chance for her to meet new designers and purchase their clothing for her shop.
“Plus-sized women’s fashion is virtually ignored by society,” said Malkin. “Full Figured Fashion Week is a chance to pay respect to the creativity in plus-size design.”
Jill Alexander, a Santa-Cruz, Calif.-based designer creates contemporary pieces that are in line with what’s in style but never trendy.
She honed her fashion chops at Ann Taylor, where she learned the value of classic pieces that are always in style.
“I want the women who buy my clothing to love them and keep them in their closets forever,” she said.
Alexander also creates dramatic formal eveningwear that that is sexy, strapless and “anything but mother-of-the-bride.”
She said she hopes women who feel uncomfortable in their clothes feel hopeful after seeing her designs on the runway, modeled by women who look like them.
“I hope these women realize that they can feel beautiful and that there is clothing out there that can make women feel confident,” she said. “It’s really true that putting on the right outfit can help you be your best self.”