8 Sustainable Plus-Size Clothing Brands That You Need To Know Now
In a perfect world, sustainable fashion would make its transition from niche to normal, marking fast fashion a passing blip in the industry’s timeline. Writers, activists, and emerging designers who want fashion to become more ethical from both an environmental and human rights perspective continue to make strides in that direction every day. But in order for that perfect world to be truly realized, sustainable plus-size clothing must be part of the conversation. It’s essential that slow fashion become accessible to everyone who wants to engage with it — including women above a size 12.
Though the average American woman now between sizes 16 and 18, there remain limited options to shop in the ethical fashion space, “it’s getting better, but there are so many gaps,” Marielle Terhart, a plus-sized slow fashion influencer and writer, tells TZR of the current landscape. “Being a plus-size customer often equates to being treated like a second-rate customer. We are told to accept the bare minimum.”
Terhart is not alone in her sentiment, but there are brands out there prioritizing sustainability and size inclusivity with equal importance. "Both are incredibly important right now and will only become more so in the near future. In fact, it will be the norm, not the exception," says Patrick Herning, founder of luxury e-commerce site 11 Honoré. "Fashion is at a turning point where inclusivity and attention to environmentally responsible practices are imperative to a brand's business, but also it's the right thing to do, for and as a reflection of, our culture."
Read on below to get familiar with eight fashion brands leading the way in making sustainability truly accessible — for every body.
Girlfriend Collective debuted in 2016 with a mission to repurpose as much of the earth’s pollution as possible, using it to create a comfortable, durable, and sustainable alternative to synthetic activewear. After launching with an already impressive size range of XXS to 3XL, the brand decided to expand through 6XL two years later, thanks to push of direct customer feedback.
“Above all, we want our brand to be as accessible as possible, across sizing, messaging, and pricing, without sacrificing the quality of the products or the lives of the people who make them,” says co-founder Ellie Dinh. “Making clothes for our amazing community across our updated size range helps us make sustainable activewear accessible to more people and gets us one step closer to our goal.”
The Nashville-based brand churns out timeless designs from natural fibers, and manufactures right in its hometown in Tennessee. The neutral, minimalist palette transcends season, making every piece a possibility to break out year round.
Offering sizes XXS through 4X — as well as one size fits all pieces in OS, OS medium, OS plus, OS plus2 and OS plus3 — Elizabeth Suzann not only shows each piece on at least two different models on its e-commerce site, but shares a video as well so that customers can see the clothing in action. Bonus: The brand is working on extending its sizing even further, so that more women can enjoy their classic pieces.
Berriez, an Instagram shop based in Brooklyn, New York, has taken it upon itself to fill a void often overlooked even when talking about sustainable fashion inclusive of plus-size — vintage.
“I discovered vintage and second-hand clothing through my grandmother, who would have been a modern-day size 12 or 14,” says founder Emma Zack. “When my mom gave me a few of her pieces to try on, I remember loving their fit, uniqueness, and knowing I would be channeling my grandmother’s energy each time I wore any of it. I soon realized I had a better chance of finding something at a thrift shop that fit than at most retail shops.”
With that realization, Zack set out to make that experience more accessible to a wider audience. During a time where second-hand shopping is on the rise, Berriez offers an option for a portion of shoppers who are often underserved. Follow along and you’ll see daily posts showcasing one of a kind vintage wonders sized anywhere from XL through 26 and beyond, along with an assortment of trend-driven accessories, like cow print baguette bags and fruit motif earrings.
“Berriez strives to be accessible to all,” Zack adds. “This goal may be limited by the items I am able to source, but inclusivity and, of course, representation will always be at the core of Berriez.”
Hackwith Design House, or HDH, walks the fine line between classic and trend-driven offerings, bringing together timeless silhouettes and current season accents, like square necklines and tie-tops. Committed to transparency and ethical production, everything is made out of its Minnesota-based studio by its in-house seamstress.
Not every garment is available in extended sizing, but there are dozens of options — from statement jumpsuits and minimal dresses to every day pants, blouses, and swimsuits — that are available through 4XL.
Just last year, beloved fashion designer Mara Hoffman made headlines for extending her brand’s sizing based on customer — or would-be customer — feedback. “It’s been such a long time coming, and so many women have been asking us for this on social media,” Hoffman shared in an interview with Vogue. “Women would write, ‘Can you please make this in my size?’ Or they’d ask, ‘Why don’t you include me in this conversation?’ That’s always a brutal [question], because of course I want to include you. I want to include everyone.”
Hoffman took the time to extend sizes in a thoughtful way, bringing in the right fit models and pattern-makers to do the extension justice. Today, Hoffman has dozens of garments available through size 20 — or 2X depending on the piece — in the free-flowing, colorful and patterned aesthetic her brand is known and loved for, with even more available through luxury size-inclusive site 11 Honoré.
And as with every Mara Hoffman piece, extended-sizing garments are also crafted by way of sustainable, environmentally-friendly practices in New York City.
Big Bud Press is a small but mighty Los Angeles-based operation specializing in size-inclusive, unisex clothing made using ethical and local manufacturing. One look at the brand’s site and you’ll find a bright, animated explosion of color — overalls, corduroy trouser shorts and patch-work coach jackets all available in sizes XXS through 5X.
“We work hard to make a product you can feel confident in. Not only when you wear it, but knowing where it comes from and how it's been made,” the brand shares on its site. “We may be small, but we work hard to make something for as many folks as possible.”
The newest brand on the list, And Comfort launched in 2018 with the mission to offer well-made, minimal pieces to women who have been routinely excluded from the aesthetic in the past because of their size. Take a look through their site and you’ll find a curated selection of apron dresses, structured tunics, and the perfect pair of pleated culottes, all offered in sizes 10 through 28, and made with ethical and sustainable fabrics.
“All [of our] styles are made from luxurious natural fibers and fit- tested by real women of all different sizes and body shapes," founder Karine Hsu previously shared with TZR. This community-driven approach allows for And Comfort to not only offer its customers the best fit and quality possible, but normalizes dialogue between the brand and the customer, that Hsu believes is vital to continue any brand’s growth forward.
Should this brand sound familiar, it’s probably because it's the eponymous shop of one of social media’s favorite illustrators, Tuesday Bassen. Staying true to her aesthetic, the lifestyle brand brings to life a collection of clothing that one could only imagine the cast of the '90s animated sitcom Daria would love — its quirky, a little dark, and extremely spirited, in the best way possible.
The brand produces clothing in sizes XXS to 5X with an emphasis on adjustable fit (think hidden side zips and elasticated back waist) and local, ethical production. Tuesday Bassen uses deadstock vintage and California-made fabrics whenever possible at its sewing house in Los Angeles.