Designers, stop ignoring the average 16-sized woman.
That was the message from "Project Runway" co-host Tim Gunn in an opinion piece published in The Washington Post Thursday. Gunn took to task those in the fashion industry who cater to the single digit-sized market at the expense of the "average" female shopper.
"The average American woman now wears between a size 16 and a size 18, according to new research from Washington State University. There are 100 million plus-size women in America, and, for the past three years, they have increased their spending on clothes faster than their straight-size counterparts," Gunn wrote.
"There is money to be made here ($20.4 billion, up 17 percent from 2013). But many designers — dripping with disdain, lacking imagination or simply too cowardly to take a risk — still refuse to make clothes for them," he added.
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Gunn noted many designers max out at size 12 while the selection of plus-sized items available at many retailers is "paltry" compared to what's on hand for the size 2 customer.
"I’ve spoken to many designers and merchandisers about this. The overwhelming response is, 'I’m not interested in her.' Why? 'I don’t want her wearing my clothes.' Why? 'She won’t look the way that I want her to look.' They say the plus-size woman is complicated, different and difficult, that no two size 16s are alike," he said.
"Some haven’t bothered to hide their contempt," Gunn adds.