November 01, 2023 2 min read
What have you noticed in your career as a plus-size fashion designer?
Shopping and fashion for the plus-size body is very nuanced and emotionally draining. I don't think it can ever really be understood unless you are in it.
In society, you are rejected, and practically you can't find a raincoat that will close over your bust or fit over your bum.
The 'plus-size babe' has an extensive handbag, sunglasses and shoe collection. We can mostly shop and fit these items when out with a friend and share in the shopping experience, so we tend to have alott.
People seeing value in themselves in a plus-size body is hard work when the world is a constant noise telling them to change their bodies. I honestly think there is a lot of tokenism when it comes to ticking off boxes of diversity.
Words like inclusive' are being thrown around, and then extending ranges to size 16 to 18. [Brands will] make special samples for plus-size models and then you can't actually shop the look. Is that inclusive? Don't get me wrong, these things are still a step in the right direction, and the changes that have happened in the last 16 years are huge.
I remember making friends with Meagan Kerr simply because she was the only person my age who was talking about plus size. Now, our community has grown so much and we have more of a voice and more options, but we are a long way from being included.
How has the emotional experience been for you as someone who enjoys fashion and finding clothing that suits your personality?
My journey of finding clothing that I love took me to design school and eventually starting my own label.
I started out by hand-stitching dresses together and learned how to use a machine at university.
This is why it's been so important to me to have a store, so I can give that shopping experience. I love seeing that look of relief when people realise they will fit everything in the shop.
The top of my list of things I look for is fit - things fitting on my shoulder. There is a big difference between fabric going around the body and a garment fitting the body.
I'm obsessed with details and finishings, and textures are always a must, especially as I wear only black, so I love playing with shine and matt, movement and structure.
Lost and Led Astray
Lost and Led Astray was created and designed by Sarah-Jane Duff. Based in the heart of Auckland on Karangahape Rd, designs are all made locally in Aotearoa. "We believe in the diversity that encompasses people of all different shapes and sizes, making this world go around." Lost and Led Astray has a size inclusion of 12 to 26. What appeals the most about this brand is its strong design DNA not often found in other plus-size clothing brands. There are plenty of uber-cool dresses to peruse, always styled with a pair of stomping, space-invading boots (Sarah has a strong eye for pretty floral prints too).
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