There is $20 billion out there that designers are cutting out of their patterns, according to Project Runway impresario Tim Gunn. Gunn, who is also an author (Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible, and more), explained in the Washington Post that the fashion industry he loves just doesn’t do enough to service the average American woman. Who is this average American woman Gunn wants to see get her due? She’s everywhere — and she wears size 16 – 18. Hear that designers? (Say that in your best Tim Gunn voice for maximum effect.) But the fashion industry is still mostly “dripping with disdain, lacking imagination or simply too cowardly to take a risk … [and] make clothes for them,” Gunn writes.
Sure, fashion isn’t completely deaf — these days you see the occasional plus size model in an ad or on the runway. Yet they’re like comets, beautiful but rare. Really the category should hardly be called plus size anymore since, by definition, it’s the average size. NDP Group, which tracks retailers and consumers, is where Gunn gets his $20 billion figure. Now $20 billion, that’s a number with great curves — you’d think it would attract more attention. And it’s starting too, according to an article at Bloomberg that highlights companies like J.C. Penney that are trying to follow Gunn’s directive and service the bold and beautiful who have two numbers, not one, in their dress sizes.