According to the World Resources Institute, the average consumer is now purchasing 60% more clothing compared to the year 2000. Add to that, the life cycle of each garment isn’t half of what it used to be, with Americans throwing away more than 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per person per year (similar data for Canadians hasn’t been collected) and you can start to imagine the colossal pile of trash our shopping habits create.
Outside of the sheer volume of clothes being produced, purchased and pitched, the toxic chemicals, power and water used to process this clothing is also having a hugely negative impact on our planet and overall carbon footprint. Lucky for all of us, the ethical fashion industry is rapidly becoming a growing market, with more and more brands creating seasonless, sustainable garments. Even just a few years ago, the options in this category tended to be tacky, ill-fitting and damn expensive. But as the market diversifies and becomes more competitive, with many mainstream designers getting on board, this is changing—just not for everyone.
For plus-size shoppers, the options still seem to be ethical and expensive or trendy and cheaply made. And because we’re taught from a young age that we should always be on the quest to lose weight, as plus consumers we’re conditioned not to spend too much on clothing since our bodies are expected to fluctuate. This is one of the main reasons why so many of us, including myself, have been hesitant to invest in ethical fashion—because “what if” something changes about our size after we just dropped hundreds on a sustainably made dress?
What I have come to understand, and what I want others know as well is that my body is fine the way it is. And I’m not going to expect or wait for it to change before changing my shopping habits. So with that in mind, I’ve rounded up a list of my fave retailers that happen to make sustainable styles for bigger bodies. There aren’t hundreds yet, but hopefully that will continue to change.
Blue Sky Clothing Co.
Based in British Columbia, this brand offers colourful, comfy pants, dresses and blouses in sizes XS to 4X. Prices range from $39 to $98.
A pin-up offshoot brand of Diane Kennedy, this British Columbia-based line offers cutesy dresses for $159 to $189 ranging in sizes from XS to 4X.
This brand is a go-to for classic and well-made separates, like simple tanks, wide-legs pants and more. Prices range from $140 to $400 and sizes go from XXS to 3X.
Hackwith Design House
This US retailer makes no more than 25 of each design—so snap them up while you can. Their extended sizes collection, HDH Plus, includes Scandi-inspired minimilaist tops, pants and dresses, starting at $50. Sizes go up to +4 (26/28).
This eco-conscious designer’s newly launched extended sizes collection is still small, but every item is gorg—I can’t get enough of these brightly printed dresses. Prices start at $429 and go up to a size 20.
Pyne & Smith
This Cali-based company is all about the perfect linen dress—crafted to last for years and years. Sizes go up to an XXL (22) and most items are around $150.
This sustainable line, which just recently expanded into plus sizes, offers 16 pieces ranging from dresses to body suits. Prices start at $48 and go up to $218, and sizes include XS to 3X.
Roxy Earle x Le Chateau
Based in NYC, designer Mallorie Dunn creates seasonal collections that include dresses, skirts, jumpsuits and more, all ranging in size from XXS to 15X. Prices start at $30.
This award-winning illustrator and designer recently opened their own brick-and-mortar store in Los Angeles. Known for quirky designs, the line accommodates sizes XXS to 5X and is priced between $30 and $150.
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