Plus Size + Sustainability = Disappointment
Sustainable. Eco-friendly. Organic. Ethical. Vegan/Cruelty-free.
We've heard it all in the past few years. At its core, sustainable fashion is the birthing grounds for a consciously consuming society. Whether you thrift, shop small or don't shop at all - these are all considered a step in the sustainable direction. I am an avid sustainable consumer in all aspects of my life, and I love sharing that with all of you. However, there's one area where I'm always stuck between a rock and a hard place. My. Damn. Fashion. It's unfortunately ironic that I, the sustainable baddie myself cannot find ethical brands that fit.
Picture this: I'm late-night scrolling and I run a
cross a stylish, new, self-proclaimed "sustainable" brand on Instagram. I'm redirected to their website. Then, I eagerly browse their collections of "plant-dyed fabrics", "vintage deadstock" corsets, and activewear made from recycled materials. Sounds great, right? I find a lovely little number that I love and want to add it to my cart and small... medium..... large.
*eyerolls into eternity*
The average American woman is a size 16, and yet large is the large-est size they carry. welp. there goes inclusivity.
So where do plus-size people exist in the spectrum?
In my opinion, shopping second-hand is the most sustainable option - if you must shop. I have been a thrift heaux since I was a kid. Then mainstream brands failed to cater to young thickies like myself, I ran to the Men's second of the thrift store. That was my comfort place for years.
Now, I have no problem gliding through the isles of a thrift store, inhaling the fumes of preloved fabrics and the occasional 1950’s perfume. (we all know that thrift store smell) However, if you’re someone who doesn’t have the patience digging through piles of clothes at a time, then keep on reading. I’ve curated a list of some tried and true brands that are sustainable and size-inclusive (yes these things can peacefully co-exist!!!)
Girlfriend | They easily have the most comfortable workout/loungewear I've ever let grace my body. From the start Girlfriend has been size-inclusive AND actually uses plus-size models to model plus-size clothes. I mean, they do it as if it's not hard. *eyerolls at every fast-fashion brand*. The best part is they’re made from recycled plastics. She won.
Hara the label | Bamboo-made loungewear that is also plant-dyed. I don't know about you, but that's fascinating to me. Their designs are super comfy and help you radiate that good ass prana!!!
Thredup, Depop, Poshmark | (for US customers) These are all trusted online confinement shops. No more scrolling endlessly through eBay. I've gotten plenty of great items from these sites and they make thrifting less intimidating. If you're thinking about using ThredUp - use my link to get $20 off your first order!
Vinted | (for EU customers) Vinted is the representation of coming in clutch. I've you've ever seen some of my looks over on IG or YouTube, I probably got at least one piece from Vinted. Paris isn't the most plus-size friendly city in the world so finding clothes even in second-hand shops is difficult. However, vinted changes the game!
WAPS vintage |@wapsvintage Here lies a very shameless plug of my own vintage shop, WAPS Vintage. Where I curate fashionable preloved items for you because I care. I got tired of going to 20 thrift stores to only find -1 items that fit, so I decided to change that.
Everlane | They make quality jeans. What makes them ethical are their upfront processes and this is what you want to look for when shopping sustainably. They openly report fair wages and upfront creation costs. the only reason They’re in the honorable mentions is that their largest size is a 33. So if you’re beyond a US 14/16 this isn’t the shop for you. They can do much better than that.
ASOS | ASOS is a fast-fashion brand that claims an initiative they call the “responsible edit”. Through this initiative, items are made from recycled materials or created in collaboration with an ethical mission, however, keep in mind this is still a fast-fashion brand and you gotta do your research.
We have so far to go when it comes to size-inclusive ethical fashion, but what can we expect from an industry that’s still working on its diverse sizing in the fast-fashion world. It sucks, but we must be determined to stay on these companies' asses about more representation and availability. I’m not here to buzz your ear off by shopping sustainability, but little switches do make a difference.