Fabletics: How Kate Hudson’s tech startup is changing the plus size fashion industry
From advertising to reinvention, the fashion industry has mastered many different aspects of the business. However, the leads continue to reveal one area where the industry is failing and that is size diversity. A few designers and brands include models of different shapes and sizes in their popular Fashion Week shows, but change in this part of the industry has been slow to come. The tech start-up Fabletics is now lead the charge to shatter those beauty ideals of the fashion industry. The company has taken note of a significant demographic that needs to be represented in the media and in sizing and which is leading to notable changes in the fashion world.
Plus-size models Hunter McGrady and Ashley Graham were part of this year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Additionally, Chromat’s Becca McCharen has worked to include sizable diversity in her shows. Although these are steps in the right direction, the fashion industry continues to focus its efforts on making clothing for a small portion of women.
According to a new documentary entitled “Straight / Curve”, the industry’s lack of sizing diversity seems to start in design schools. The documentary found that would-be designers only learn to create fashions for straight waists, which are sizes ranging from zero to eight. Many women fall into this size category, but a study published by the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology, and Education found that 16 is the average height of American women. This means that the fashion industry is neglecting too many women. Sportswear company Fabletics noticed the gap and decided to do something about it because it has a policy of inclusiveness and body positivity.
Extension with extended sizes
Fabletics recently expanded their sizes up to 3X. Kate Hudson co-founded the company in 2013. She said: “When I started Fabletics, my goal was, and still is, to empower women and to conceive with every woman in mind because everyone – regardless. of her size, shape, age or ability – deserves to look amazing, be inspired and feel the best of themselves. The California-based company did not introduce plus size clothing as a separate line. Instead, he did it as an extension of the brand. Hudson said, “Our mission is to support all women on their journey to a healthy, active lifestyle.”
The company’s new plus-size offerings include performance and fit improvements. For example, many garments have wider bands with adjustable straps. To provide additional support for active women, the company’s designers attached closures on the bra tops, thereby increasing the comfort. Longer lengths provide more coverage while powerful mesh fabrics provide greater breathability.
The development of the expanded product line was a complex process. According to Hudson, it took a long time for the Fabletics to create the right combination of sportswear. To ensure the comfort and support of its customers, the company has performed extensive testing ranging from seams to bra straps. In addition to ensuring that its sportswear is comfortable to wear, the company has decided to offer its extended size clothing in the same styles as its regular size clothing. Hudson said, “We didn’t want to just do it to do it, we wanted to do it right and have happy daughters.”
A company is born
Don Ressler and Adam Goldenberg, co-CEOs of JustFab Inc., started Fabletics with actress Kate Hudson after spotting a gap in the sportswear industry. At the time, many expensive luxury brands were thriving, but few offered consumers fashionable and high quality workout clothess that were also affordable. The year after its debut, Fabletics sold its sportswear in Europe and Canada. In January 2015, she shipped her millionth order.
Kate Hudson joined the company because she has a passion for inspire and support women in their quest for an active and healthy lifestyle. Each month, Hudson shares her favorite Fabletics outfit, so the company’s customers know she loves and wears athletic wear developed by Fabletics.
Collaborate with Demi
The company’s first collaboration was with host Demi Lovato. Her open-mindedness with people on her curves made Demi the perfect match for one of the company’s lines. The pieces in its range feature supportive fabrics to inspire training confidence. Each item recalls Demi’s vibrant personality and remarkable fashion sense. Youthful patterns and fun colors are present throughout the collection.
The line also supports the company’s alliance with Girl Up, which is a campaign launched by the United Nations Foundation to empower girls around the world.
Several Syracuse University fashion professors confirmed that they had not considered teaching their students how to expand the clothing size range until plus-size model Emme, who attended the university, challenged the school to partner with her on the Limitless Mode initiative. Emme’s project challenges fashion students to design clothes in a variety of sizes.
Syracuse University Associate Fashion Professor Jeffrey Mayer said, “When Emme came to see us, we thought… why don’t we do this? Why isn’t everyone doing this? Why isn’t that just a standard? Today, the school’s teaching staff are teaching their students that the best design is one that would look great on a size 6 person as well as the body of a size 22 person.
School principal James Fathers said, “What reality matters here? Is it the reality of catwalk designers or is it the reality of those women who can’t find things that make them feel good? “
Although Syracuse adopted a new method of teaching that included designing plus size clothing items, few other schools followed in its footsteps. To make the documentary “Straight / Curve”, the filmmakers focused on one design school in particular, the Parsons School of Design. The filmmakers found that while Parsons claims to have one of the country’s most distinguished programs for fashion designers, the school does not offer classes that teach students how to design clothes for those with body types. different. In the movie, a college student confirmed that she learned how to make plus size clothes because it was her only option.
Just part of the problem
Establishing an educational program that teaches fashion students how to create dress styles for tall women as well as women who are more diverse than others is only part of the problem. Even if more students graduate with this knowledge, it will not get rid of the industry uniformity issue. However, if more fashion students are well versed in designing plus size clothing, changes in the industry can ensue, and this change is needed.
It’s high time the fashion industry recognized that women’s bodies are varied and that everyone should have access to fun-to-wear and flattering clothes. By showcasing its extensive size range, Fabletics is certainly ahead of other athletic wear lines, especially those that don’t offer sizes beyond a large or even a size 8.