With a new set of 12 months only days away, the news that March 2016 will see the launch of River Island's plus size range should give you hope for the new year before it's even begun. The plus size market is a billion dollar industry, and the world undoubtedly needs more plus fashion and body positivity, so it's quite exciting that the British retailer has announced that its plus size range will encompass all aspects of clothing the store already offers. "From party and work wear to core basics and denim, [it will be] available in top stores as well as online," as reported by Vogue.
Although this brand is UK-based, River Island ships internationally. As Vogue reported, the collection will run in sizes UK 18 to 24, roughly equating to a US 14 to 20 (the rule of thumb is to knock off two sizes when translating British sizes to American ones).
Although it's not the most size-inclusive plus collection, one can only hope that the slight size expansion will be a first step to even more inclusivity. As well as drawing inspiration from all departments of the store's current collection, the plus range will also feature a wide but reasonable price range, with items from £6 to £80 (roughly $9 to $120). The affordable cost of all items in this (somewhat) plus size collection will definitely be worth the international shipping fees. And who knows? It might even become available on ASOS, like much of River Island's other garments. But only time will tell.
To front the campaign, River Island has managed to secure one of the biggest faces in the plus size modeling world: Candice Huffine. The star has already been the first plus size model in the Pirelli calendar as well as the first plus size model on the cover of Italian Vogue; and with rumors that she may become the first plus size Victoria's Secret model, who else could be a better choice for the new plus size collection?
Speaking to Vogue, the model seemed especially excited about this particular line. Huffine told the publication, "The fact that River Island is extending their sizing while staying true to their brand is perfection. It's clear that they have thought about a curvy woman's body and designed accordingly, while giving her exactly what can be found on the high street at any other size. A plus size collection doesn't need to be made totally different, it just needs to be made to fit."
Huffine's wise words regarding the designs of this collection are ones that should be taken on board by the entire plus size industry, IMO, especially stores that cater to both straight sizes and plus sizes. Plus size people don't just want clothes designed for slender bodies to be sized up. They want clothes "made to fit" that are also on-trend. Catering to different body shapes without losing the sartorial element is key; and according to Huffine, that's exactly what River Island is setting out to do.
As marketing director Josie Roscop told Vogue, "We're excited about giving great fashion to more women, we feel this is the right time for the brand to expand our size range offering. Ultimately, it's about fashion and being inclusive." And I think "inclusive" is the perfect word for what stores need to be offering. After all, most of us plus sizers are tired of tunics with a butterfly print, right?