India’s fashion history is a rich mosaic of different fabrics and attires. However, traditional norms have often overlooked diverse body types and focused on narrow beauty standards. Plus-size fashion, overshadowed by the saree’s radiance, was pushed aside. Yet, as time passed, perceptions of body image and beauty began to alter. Thus leading to a more inclusive approach in the Indian fashion industry. The plus-size fashion industry in India has changed as a result of embracing diversity and defying conventions. It has gone from being overlooked to being cherished, becoming an essential component of India’s fashion history.
The importance of the plus-size market is being increasingly acknowledged by Indian designers, brands, and retailers. Multiple factors have resulted in the expansion and increasing recognition of this industry. There has been an increasing demand from plus-size consumers who desire stylish and well-fitting clothing options. In response to their tastes, designers, and brands have created dedicated collections to cater to their needs. Additionally, there has been a progressive change in consumer views toward body image, with a stronger emphasis on inclusion and self-acceptance. Designers, companies, and retailers have changed their ways of thinking. Consequently prioritizing size diversity and making apparel that loves and celebrates the beauty of all bodies.
The plus-size community’s representation and acceptance in India’s fashion industry have been significantly impacted by the body positivity movement. Influential figures like Sakshi Sindwani, Aashna Bhagwani, etc used their platforms to challenge societal norms and promote body acceptance. People have responded favourably to their powerful messages and the unabashed appreciation of their bodies. This in turn has prompted the Indian design industry to place more of a focus on diversity. A notable incident involved Tarun Tahiliani, a renowned designer, who issued an apology to Tanaya Narendra, a social media influencer after she called out his brand for body-shaming her. The body positivity movement has dispelled stigmas and given plus-size people the courage to accept their distinctive attractiveness and express their sense of style.
Collaborations between renowned Indian designers and plus-size fashion brands or retailers have played a vital role in expanding options for plus-size consumers and breaking stereotypes in the Indian fashion scene. These collabs combine the creative know-how of renowned designers with an awareness of the demands of size-inclusive fashion, creating inclusive and fashionable collections. For example, designer Masaba Gupta partnered with a leading online retailer to launch a size-inclusive collection, challenging the notion that high fashion is limited to certain body types. Such collaborations not only provide plus-size customers with a larger selection of apparel choices, but they also powerfully convey the notion that fashion is for everyone, regardless of size. They also shatter stereotypes and support body acceptance, which helps to create a more varied fashion business in India.
With time, there have been substantial changes in both offline and online plus-size apparel offerings in Indian retail outlets. Plus-size clients initially had few alternatives at physical stores, but there has been a clear trend towards inclusion lately. Many stores now have unique brands that serve the requirements of those who are oversize. Popular retailers like Westside and Pantaloons, etc have created special departments that provide a variety of plus-size apparel alternatives. Online platforms have also become a prominent avenue for size-inclusive shopping. These advancements in the retail and online sectors are a reflection of the shifting plus-size fashion market in India. Hence, plus-size consumers are provided with greater accessibility, choice, and inclusion.
An important turning point has been reached in the portrayal of body positivity at Indian fashion weeks and other fashion events. Plus-size models are now frequently seen on runways as a consequence of a rising understanding of the value of diversity. This change goes against social conventions and the industry-promoted standards of conventional beauty. The presence of plus-size models on fashion shows has sparked change by redefining beauty ideals and encouraging body acceptance. Also, the presence of plus-size models on the ramp spurs discussions on body positivity and self-acceptance.
India’s plus-size fashion sector still has a number of issues that need to be addressed, despite making great strides. The limited size ranges offered by many brands make it challenging for plus-size individuals to find well-fitting and fashionable clothing. Furthermore, cultural prejudices and preconceptions around beauty standards and body image still exist, posing obstacles to accepting plus-size fashion. It is critical for the industry to be more diverse, with more plus-size representatives, in order to solve these issues. The plus-size fashion industry in India has the potential to flourish and bring about even more transformation in the upcoming years.
When we consider the definition of “plus size,” we understand it to refer to measurements that exceed the standard size. But who establishes this standard, and what does it entail? Being outside this standard impacts the diversity of body positivity. So it is time to embrace your curves and flaunt them well.