Plus Size Fashion News: Cornell University Students Developing Plus Size Clothing Line To Present At The School’s Fashion Show

Plus Size Fashion News: Cornell University Students Developing Plus Size Clothing Line To Present At The School’s Fashion Show

Photo: New York Magazine (

What was once a project has now turned into a clothing line that will celebrate all shapes and sizes.

A group of Cornell University students are setting out to spread positive body image views through fashion with a plus size clothing line they designed last year and are now currently developing with the goal of presenting it in the school’s fashion show in April 2014.

The students Brandon Wen and Laura Zwanziger, both junior fiber science and apparel design majors, began designing and creating their “Rubens’ Women” plus size clothing line last year with exchange student Abbey Jennings for a class project. It caught the eye of many and was reported by Refinery29, New York Magazine and other media outlets last May.

Image: Cornell

The name “Rubens’ Women” is named in honor of painter Peter Paul Rubens, who was a Baroque painter famous for his beautiful illustrations of full figured women. The students recently spoke with The Daily Orange about the project, what inspired them to design the plus size line and their goals with the line.

Both students saw the need for better fitting clothing for plus size women with Laura telling The Daily Orange that “clothing is often designed to fit other sizes and just enlarged for plus-size clothing”.

“It means that garments are not there because nobody’s making them and if they’re making them, they’re poorly made or shapeless. People were really upset because fat sits differently on everybody. The generalizations of plus size meant that you were wearing a sack.  Nobody feels good in that.”

Brandon discussed what inspires him to design for plus sizes:

“For me, the draw to plus-sized people is their bodies and trying to find what it is I like about them, seeing them as something more objective and artful and less like this is a body and this is what the standard is and this isn’t.”

For him, it’s more than just designing a plus size line. Brandon told The Daily Orange that he wanted to address the stigma within the industry of plus size being equal to obesity through this collection. And that he wants to promote body acceptance for all shapes and sizes.

Laura admitted that she knows that many design schools are intimidated when it comes to designing for plus size bodies because it is more challenging. The students didn’t let those challenges stop them and even created their own mannequin because of the lack of plus sized mannequins available to them at school. Their inspiration to design for different body types and offer choices to all is something that drives them as Laura told The Daily Orange:

“(It’s about) really designing for a body and taking inspiration from a body, as opposed to trying to fit everybody into one standard system because there’s so many bodies out there. You can’t say that one’s right and one’s wrong because they’re all different and they all deserve to have choices.”

Kudos to Brandon Wen and Laura Zwanziger! We hope more design students and the fashion industry on a whole are paying attention. No word as of yet if the line will be sold to the public but we have our fingers crossed.

As their professor Susan Ashdown told the Cornell Chronicle last year:

“Issues of health aside, we’re all different body shapes and body proportions. Each person deserves to have clothing designed for them as they are, not as they relate to some abstract industry shape.”

H/T The Daily Orange