Plus-Size Appreciation Day: 10 OG Influencers Who Helped Plus-Size Fashion Evolve

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2019 ESSENCE Beauty Carnival - Day 1

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The growth of the plus-size fashion industry during the past 10 years speaks volumes about the power and influence of Black women. This year, in the U.S. alone, the plus-size market is expected to grow to $24 billion dollars. But it’s important to note that retailers didn’t just wake up one day and decide to make clothes that would actually fit the average American woman, who is now between a size 16 and 18. Had it not been for fearless fat Black girls, many designers would’ve never expanded their offerings past an XL and a number of intentionally size-inclusive brands might not even exist today.

With it being Plus-size Appreciation Day, we decided to show appreciation for the Black women who taught others how to embrace their bodies and put their own style on display when the fashion industry failed to accommodate their curves. The changes we see manifesting today didn’t happen by chance; they came about by sacrifice. Each of these women devoted their time and energy to educating brands, and in some instances even creating their own.so that fashion and self-love and acceptance could truly be for all.

Fashion Guru Jay Manuel Hosts Lane Bryant's Fashion's Night Out!

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Gwen DeVoe

Gwen DeVoe created Full Figured Fashion Week in 2008 when she saw a void that need to be filled. There were no plus-size fashion events of its caliber that offered models, indie designers and plus-size brands a runway. Gwen’s dreams helped to encourage other event producers to create spaces for plus-size fashion.

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