The dialogue we are holding now when it comes to inclusivity in fashion is an important one. Size inclusivity, in particular, has achieved great strides—larger women are more visible than ever on the runway and in ad campaigns, voices are being heard in events as notable as the New York Fashion Week, and ladies who have long been shunned by normal sizing have demanded for quality clothing, not just garments that merely fit, and had their wishes granted. There are still many issues to address, of course, including the term “plus size”, but with luxury labels such as Universal Standard taking the lead, it feels like we are headed towards the right direction.
Since its founding three years prior by Polina Veksler and Alex Waldman, the label has aimed to be true to its name, resisting the standards created by straight sizing. Its history thus far is proof to this—the duo has started projects, even partnerships with other brands such as J.Crew, to show that shopping does not have to be challenging for those who have been considered outliers in sizing for the longest time. This time around, Universal Standard builds on its foundation by taking the range of sizing to the next level. Its new line, Foundation, begins at 00 and goes all the way to 40.
It’s easy to put Foundation into a category, particularly that of plus sizing, but that is not what the label wants to achieve with its new release. The luxurious basics steer away from the the words “plus size”, rejecting the othering that comes with the term, and instead pushes for wider range in sizes to be what is normal. The collection is of seven pieces intended for layering, all offered in quality fabric whatever the size, a practice we do not often see, but should, in fashion. It takes its name from makeup foundation which offers different degrees of coverage in the same way, but the pieces could also be worn on their own if desired.
As to why they finalized on size 40, Waldman explained that it was to provide options for shoppers who are overlooked even among those considered plus size. Even though select brands have worked on being more size inclusive, 40 is rarely available, and if it fits, it isn’t especially tailored to fit naturally on the wearer who picks it. To avoid this, Universal Standard has employed a technique it calls micrograding, allowing them to pay attention to detail and fit by changing the grading on each size instead of insisting on a uniform formula all throughout.
The clothes offered by Universal Standard spoke to many women, even before the launch of Foundation. The label gave more people a chance to shop and try on a garment of their choosing on the spot, something that they couldn’t afford to do when browsing for clothes online. With Foundation, Universal Standard is inviting more shoppers to revel in the joys of fashion. But sizes 00 to 40 seem far from being the label’s last revolutionary move; the range is just the beginning, and soon enough they will be tackling accessories too.
Image credit: Universal Standard