Found on The Guardian website:
Marc Jacobs, one of the world’s most successful design labels, is set to become the first major fashion houses to produce a clothing line catering for women bigger than size 14.
Although there is yet to be an official announcement, Robert Duffy, president of the Marc Jacobs label, wrote about the move on Twitter, confirming that the company was in the early stages of discussions to produce a plus-size range. He said that it would be a year before the line was available.
“We are in talks now. For plus sizes,” Duffy tweeted. “Listen, we are in the very beginning stages of talking to a partner about plus sizes.” He also revealed the problems he has buying clothes. “I’m a big guy 6ft 4in, 210 lbs. [It’s] not easy for me to find clothes,” he wrote. “Of course I can have them made. I know how everyone feels. I try to diet but… I don’t like the phrase plus-sizes. Any suggestions?
“We gotta do larger sizes,” he added. “I’m with you. As soon as I get back to NY. I’m on it! It will take me about a year. But stay with us.”
The fashion industry has shown a new interest in fuller-figured women over the past year. Singer Beth Ditto, who is a size 18, has become a fashion icon. She appeared on the cover of Love magazine in 2009 and began designing a collection for high street store Evans, which caters for sizes 14-32, last year. She has also become a staple on front rows at fashion shows such as Chanel and Fendi. Model Crystal Renn, who is a size 14 rather than the typical size 8, has become the first plus-size supermodel, appearing on the catwalk for labels such as Chanel and Jean Paul Gaultier and gracing the cover of Italian Vogue. But while these images have been welcomed by the public, there has been little core change in the fashion collections. If a Marc Jacobs plus-size range were to be successful, other designers could follow suit.
Currently, labels such as Victoria Beckham, Erdem and Chloé do not produce anything larger than a size 14. Many designers have said it is harder to create clothes for larger women.
Last week the New York Times magazine ran a report on the plus-size clothing industry. It told how a key difficulty encountered by designers was the way that dimensions change in women who wear sizes greater than 16 because they gain different amounts of weight on different areas of their body – some become top heavy, some fill out around the stomach – making it harder to create patterns that will work for many women.
Attitudes within the fashion industry towards larger sizes have also appeared to be negative. When he was told last year that German magazine Brigitte intended to use “ordinary” women in their fashion shoots, designer Karl Lagerfeld branded the move absurd and said that it was driven by “fat mummies sitting with their bags of crisps in front of the television, saying that thin models are ugly”. In June this year, British designer Julien Macdonald, who is a judge on the TV show Britain’s Next Top Model, said that it would be “a joke” if a plus-size model won the contest.
Typically, designers say there is little demand for larger sizes. But Rachel Sproule, creative director for Evans, said: “We are due to release the second Beth Ditto at Evans collection in September and we had an amazing response when we launched last year. There really is an appetite for high-fashion-led product within this marketplace.”
Marc Jacobs may be set to find out how great that demand is, and if he can create designs that appeal to this market. The 46-year-old designer started the Marc Jacobs label in 1986 but concurrently worked at other fashion labels such as Perry Ellis and, from 1997, Louis Vuitton.
While his work for Louis Vuitton has involved high-profile collaborations with artists such as Takashi Murakami and rapper Kanye West, he has always taken risks with his eponymous brand, creating a number of unusual lines under his name. He has recently launched Little Marc Jacobs childrenswear, Bark Jacobs dog accessories and a fragrance for men called Bang. During New York Fashion Week next month, he will launch Book Marc, a bookshop.
“I do think that the Marc Jacobs brand and [diffusion line] Marc by Marc has the ingenuity to do many things and still keep the perceived aura of cool,” said Harriet Quick, fashion features director of Vogue. “A plus-size line would seem to be a good add-on idea that responds to market needs. It would be great to have a line that is not simply dull and tent-shaped and to have the sweetness and detail of the brand carried through to the collection.”
GQ commissioning editor Jonathan Heaf, who has worked as a consultant for the Louis Vuitton brand, said: “If anyone can turn their hand to plus size clothes – out to create something elegant rather than simply make a splash for their own name – it’s Marc. About time, I say. He just makes pretty, modern, sexy clothes for pretty, modern, sexy girls; girls confident enough not to have to shout to be noticed.”
Sproule also thinks designers would get a great response if they were to experiment with larger sizes.
“What every woman wants, irrespective of size, is fashion; and it feels like the beginning of a revolution in plus size to give more choice than ever before,” she said.