Be a Better Man

Big and Tall - A Lack of Inclusivity in the Fashion Industry

Posted on January 23 2018

Men are spending more and more money on fashion every year, although some groups are being left out. Plus-sized fashionable clothing for men is a niche that only certain brands carry. Why?

The fashion industry has been known to cater to a certain demographic and this has left people who don’t fit into this box, segregated and not able to purchase clothing and participate in the fashion world. Only certain companies offer these larger sizes and most of the time these companies are at the bottom of the fashion ladder.

The fashion industry and the trends that are created through this industry trickle-down throughout many different companies and retailers. Initially when the clothing is designed, all the new, innovative styles are made to fit models. Usually a size medium.

By the time brands reinterpret these styles seen on the runway in Europe, they take details of what happened during the shows, and recreate pieces based on that. So fast-fashion brands like Zara or H&M will be some of the first companies to re-interpret and regurgitate these styles seen on the runway.

Sized Up: Detroit with Michael Anthony Spearman

The problem with that, is, these first-wave-trickle-down-companies don’t sell plus sized or big and tall clothing. When fast-fashion companies start re-interpreting what they see during the fashion weeks all over the world, other companies who want to compete with the big dogs in the fashion game, also copy trends, taking certain points, making clothing somewhat comparable to what is on display in Europe, usually without the amazing fabric.

The Trickle-Down Continues

This trickle-down phenomenon in fashion can go on for years. For example, by the time your favourite flight-style-jacket from Paris' men's fashion week in 2014 is available at Walmart, it might now be 2016.

This was all to say that, fashion moves fast, and it is known that Europe, fashion week and fashion shows directly dictate how and where fashion will take us. Unfortunately, plus sized and big and tall only get catered to at the very end of the ladder, making it hard to stay in style and fashionable when the companies and brands that actually have your size in stock, are in general, fashion laggards.

Fortunately it's 2018 and start-up companies are starting to zone in on the niche of trendy plus-size menswear. Throughout the 1990's and early 2000's there were only a few brands that provided plus-size clothing that was fashionable. Ralph Lauren and Gant and a few brands that come to mind. Now, there are many companies slowly starting to adapt to these different sizes, although it might be too late.

Plus-sized clothing has become more widely accessible but individuals who always had trouble finding clothes when they were younger, kind of get turned off by the whole fashion world and what it has to offer. It's not that they do not want to be fashionable or in style, but they aren't informed. If you spend your entire childhood and adolescence wearing basic American classics like cargo pants, t-shirts and hoodies, it might be a little intimidating to make a leap to higher-fashion. 

This shows that the lack of inclusiveness for big and tall not only impacts customers, but it could in the future impact sales, since people who could be interested in your brand and now do fit into your clothing will have this bitter taste left in their mouth.

Where are the plus size men's brands?

The fact that only 30% of plus-sized men find themselves "fashionable" and "stylish" has to do with the notion that the fashion industry has not allowed them to feel fashionable. With a lack of choice, and ill-fitting garments, plus-sized men aren't seriously taken into consideration in the fashion world.

Au Noir is ahead of the curb and trying to shift this stigma against plus-sized garments. Au Noir's dress shirts go up to a size 6XL in their regular run and on top of that they offer a big and tall section which goes up to 8XL and takes into consideration things like arm room, under armpit. So you are not just getting a shirt that measurements have been doubled. They actually take into consideration the length, sleeve length and many other details that many plus-sized lines don't take into consideration. Even their jeans go up to a size 44waist. Literally everything in their regular line is available in big sizes. This includes polo's, short sleeve dress shirts and blazers. Blazers go up to size 56. This is amazing progression in the garment industry because this company doesn't discriminate against size, making only one or two styles in plus-size. All of their main categories of clothing offer plus-sized fittings and although these are considered big and tall, Au Noir still offers exceptional quality garments that are made durable comfortable in style and made in Turkey.


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