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Plus Size Designer Guide Issue One

January 19, 2021 — Guides

Written by

 profile photoMarielle TerHart

It fills me with great joy to share this list of ethically made brands that offer plus size clothing, to a minimum of a 3X and in most cases a 4X or higher. When I first fell in love with ethical and sustainably produced garments, the selection felt extremely limited for plus size folks. Garments were all the same silhouette, the same earthen toned linens and it often felt like there was little to no room for fat people to be both ethically minded and fabulous.

It felt like as a fat person to buy into ethical fashion (quite literally) you had to:

  • Have an inordinate amount of time to sift through size charts, to call brands in, to beg for larger sizes and then to gamble that in the end you’d find something that fit.
  • Be willing to settle for what was available regardless of the styles, fabrics and loud prints you coveted.

  • Have a strong imagination to guess what those styles would look like on you, because good luck finding fat positive imagery anywhere.

It’s why I started doing this work, helping other fat people break down barriers of access to finding apparel that fits their aesthetic and their ethics. I believe deeply that everyone deserves to both find the garments they love in their sizes, and in the satisfaction that comes from that feeling your self expression shown through your wardrobe. It is a conversation of clothes, but it is so much more than that. It is a feeling of pride and contentment, of continuity with how you see yourself and how the world sees you. I hope this list is useful, I hope it reminds you that yes, there are stunning garments for all bodies that both match your ethics and your aesthetics, and above all - that there is a place for you in this slow fashion community.

Vincetta | Sizing inclusive of 4X

A line made for the effortlessly cool with androgynous silloutes that float away from the body; you can feel the New Yorker in Vincetta’s designs, each made from deadstock fabric that Deanna hand selects. Vincetta’s garments have a distinct vintage feel, often inspired by the fabrics that give their garments a timeless iconic look.

A curly haired model wearing a brown silky long sleeve top .
A women with long curly brown hair wearing a matching sport coat and trousers in light beige. The jacket is unbuttoned and she is wearing white bra underneath.

Vincetta is a refined women's wear label created by Deanna Ansara that makes basics that aren't so basic.

WRAY | Top of size range varies from 3X - 5X

WRAY is a fine-arts influenced womenswear brand based in NYC. Our clothing evokes a sense of playfulness through our signature hand-painted prints and unique colors.

Since launching their plus size offerings earlier in 2020, WRAY has quickly developed a reputation for offering beautiful prints, garments that make a statement and high fashion ethical apparel up to a 5X in select styles - most of the collection is offered in a 3X.

Nettles Studio | Sizing inclusive of 5X

It's hard to find a brand that offers timeless silhouettes such as box dresses, wide legged pants and button ups to name a few, in outstanding prints / neon colour ways, but Nettle Studios does exactly that. Not only is their broken down size chart a masterpiece (seriously, other designers take note), Nettle Studio has pieces that cost less than $100, with the majority of their collection priced at $150 or less. This up and coming brand is one to watch.

A model wearing lime green linen pants and a floral tank with green and blue flowers looks at the camera while she poses playfully.

Nettle Studio is a sustainable San Francisco brand that focuses on producing small batch collections of fun and modern silhouettes, designed and sewn in their Mission District studio.

Beaton | Sizing inclusive of 3X

BEATON is a collection of linen basics in season less silhouettes, the designs are versatile, capsule friendly staples, released in small collections.

Linen utilitarian pieces, sure to be workhorse garments in your wardrobe, it’s the small details that make Beaton Linen pieces stand out in a sea of other linen options. The linen itself is soft and durable and each season staple styles are released in seasonal tones. If you’re looking for the perfect PNW linen jumpsuit, no one makes them more beautifully than Beaton Linen.

STATE | Sizing inclusive of 3X

State makes small-batch, hand-painted clothing for people who want to make a statement and be comfortable.

Searching for colour? Is your dream to dress in primary colours with pattern on pattern? Are you inspired by the palette and garments in The Sound of the Music? You came to the right place. It is hard to feel joyous just by looking at STATE’s collections and colourful marketing that centers around Adrienne’s family influence taking root in her vibrant collections.

Girlfriend Collective | Sizing inclusive of 6X

Don't make waste, wear it. Girlfriend Collective makes activewear out of recycled materials because trash looks better on you than it does polluting the planet.

The soft toned palette of your workout apparel dreams made entirely of recycled plastics, for those who want to look good enough to eat while working up a sweat. Girlfriend has expanded their offerings to include outwear, underwear and more with each new seasonal release, all while staying true to their iconic mono-color looks.

Editor’s Note: While the size range suggests the brand fits up to a 6X, consistent feedback from a variety of plus size babes would suggest to size up one or two sizes to get the ideal fit, making their size range closer to a 4X.

Sotela | Sizing inclusive of 30 / 6X+

Life fluctuates, your clothing doesn’t have to. Sotela is a size, race, gender, and inclusive clothing company and community that celebrates humans in all their forms. Made for humans, by humans.

Made to order simple everyday pieces, that are designed with beautiful construction. If you’re looking for core pieces to start building a sustainable wardrobe around, then this would be a wonderful place to start, especially as they offer one of the broadest size ranges for plus size bodies.

Power of My People | Sizing inclusive of 3X

Finding a decent button up, that is both professional and effortlessly chic, shouldn’t be a herculean task, but tell that to anyone with a DD+ cup and watch their eyes roll back into their heads, just thinking about the boob - button gap. Power of My People, or POMP, focuses their collection on button up shirts (ranging in fabrics, cuts and colors), with a few cursory styles (a wide legged dress pant and a jacket) so you never have to lose sleep over finding the perfect button up again.

A model sits on a canned wood chair looking at the camera. They are wearing a white button-up shirt, wide leg black pants, and white tennis shoes.

Power Of My People makes responsibly made shirts handcrafted for your capsule wardrobe, founded in 2015.

Henning | Sizing inclusive of 4X / 5 X

If you’re looking for high end luxury apparel, trenches, power suits, and the most meticulously tailored leather jacket I’ve ever seen, then you need to check out Henning. While the price point does reflect the luxury level quality, it is nice to know garments this beautiful exist for folks all the way up to size 26.

A model dressed in a sleek black suit by Henning sits wide legged in a desk chair and power poses at the camera. They have long black braids and silver earrings.

Henning is a collection of ethical luxury plus-size staples—like tailored blazers and classic coats—and we’re not making any compromises on quality, craftsmanship, or design.

ARQ | Sizing inclusive of 4X

Finally an internet cult-fave, that actually does live up to the hype! ARQ underwear are truly a must have, with vibrant seasonal colours in classic organic cotton styles. The bra tops run smaller for larger cups, but otherwise their line is fairly inclusive, with folks up to a size 26 comfortably lounging in their undies

A plus size model with long braided black hair falling down her back stands and looks to the side while wearing an ARQ cotton green bra and matching high waisted underwear.

ARQ makes elevated essentials for real life. Organic cotton, ethically sewn, beautiful, comfortable, well-made underthings for adults, babies, and kids

Perennial Closet | Sizing inclusive of 4X

The most beautiful hand-dyed velvet garments, made to swan about it - perfect for those who want a robe that can also moonlight as cocktail attire. Their free form garments are an excellent choice for folks whose bodies change as their sizing is made to fit loosely, and if you need to add a bit of vibrancy to your garment, Perennial offers re-dying on all their garments (up to once per year) at no additional charge. It is a small touch that really adds life to their beautiful pieces.

Revelle | Size inclusive with custom sizes available

Delightfully redefined and responsibly made-to-order for any size in Los Angeles. Limited edition classic sportswear from the finest sustainable fabrics. Tailor made apparel, that can be specified to any size / measurements you need with the utmost of craftsmanship, as each garment is handsewn by Revelle’s owner, Lisa. If you’re looking for clothing that straddles the line of vintage and modern, look no further.

loup | Sizing inclusive of 3X

As of Fall 2020, loup now offers their garments up to a 3X, which primarily consists of the perfect pants for people who struggle with perpetual waist pant gaps or finding the cutest denim knot overalls. They have both of these garments in spades, and we can’t wait to see their expanded size range keep growing.

A barefoot model with blonde hair casually sits on a radiator wearing a black deep v-neck jumpsuit with a white tee shirt.

loup combines a love of 1960’s Paris with a touch of modern ease, designed with real women in mind, loup has grown a cult following around their curve-friendly pants and works endlessly to continue improving the fit and feel of their clothing.

Alice Alexander | Sizing inclusive of a 30 / 6X+

Mary Alice, the heart and soul behind her brand has been a staunch advocate for broader size inclusion before it was being addressed by the rest of the industry. She launched Alice Alexander to address the lacking availability of plus size fashion and has been a beloved staple in plus size wardrobes for years.

A model in a studio wears long blue silk dress that ties at each shoulder. They have long brown hair, hoops earrings, and beige heels.

Alice Alexander is a size-inclusive, ethically and sustainably made apparel brand. We’re on a mission to radically change the fashion industry to one that is inclusive of ALL BODIES and is respectful of people and the planet.

Free Label | Sizing inclusive of 4X

Garments designed to move with you throughout your day, in breathable and soft fabrics that offer the comfort of leisure wear without sacrificing form. All of Free Label’s garments are well designed, but their range of bras up to a 4X are the real stand out piece from their core collection.

Three models face the camera. One sits in the center on a stool while the other two stand on each side and lean in on the center one. They each are wearing trouser pants and cropped tank tops made by Free Label.

Based in Canada, Free Label is dedicated to making great basics, but not at the cost of the environment and human rights. We promise to make all of our garments ethically.

Lora Gene | Sizing inclusive of 4X (with custom sizing offered)

Lora Gene is another great option for slightly more formal, classic tailored pieces. Her fabric choices are stunning and really take her pieces up to another whole level - a silk suit, yes please. She also has a collection in partnership with Aja Barber that features wardrobe staples impeccably well designed.

A model sitting in a chair gazes downward. They are wearing a gold silk slip dress with spaghetti straps.
Fashion activist Aja Barber walks on the beach smiling. She is wearing a blue silk slip dress with a knit green cardigan. She is barefoot in the sand with the ocean behind her.

Lora Gene is an exciting, open minded contemporary women's wear label that brings together conceptual thinking and meticulous attention to detail, quality and craftsmanship, that transcends every season.

Alder Apparel | Sizing Inclusive of 4X

This Canadian based brand is dedicated to getting people of all sizes back outside. Their hiking / re-creating apparel includes tanks, shorts and their Open Air Pants, which among other thoughtful design features includes upper thigh gussets and eight pockets. As a fairly new brand, they are one to watch especially if the wilderness is calling.

A model squatting down in front of a cacti garden. They are wearing a black sports bra and green cropped workout pants from the brand Alder apparel.

Alder makes ethically-made outdoor recreation apparel in size XS - 4X.

FRANC | Sizing inclusive of 3X

Looking for a high quality t-shirt or layering undershirts? Searching for a simple cotton jumper or (my personal favourite garments from FRANC) a toasty sweatsuit? Then, FRANC is for you! Made in Canada with the softest fabric, these basics are anything but boring.

Marielle stands against a white wall. She is smiling with one arm extended up on the wall. She is wearing a cotton brown hooded sweatshirt and matching brown sweatpants.

Quality basics ethically made in Canada, made for people who are fed up with fast fashion.

Altar Houseline | Sizing inclusive of 6X

Altar Houseline (belonging to their shop in PDX) designs beautiful dresses, with an emphasis on their large size range, showing their garments on a variety of bodies to make online shopping easier. Their dresses especially steal the show ranging from linen button up dresses, silk wrap dresses and frilly off the shoulder dresses.

Standing outside in front of a white brick wall, a model wearing a white dress by Alter looking off into the distance.

Altar carries an array of special, handmade objects - all made by artists in America.

 profile photoMarielle TerHart

Marielle Elizabeth, who uses she / her pronouns, is an outspoken body activist in the Ethical Fashion community, who advocates on the daily for broader size inclusion and radical body acceptance. Through her social media presence she shares not only her lived experience as a plus size person, but also the ways in which we can all be striving to be kinder to the skin we’re in. You can find her on Instagram @marielle.elizabeth.