After decades of fighting for size inclusivity in luxury fashion, plus-size styles have finally become more mainstream in recent years, with curve models like Ashley Graham, Paloma Elsesser, Alva Claire, and Jill Kortleve walking the runways for household names like Versace, Fendi, and Salvatore Ferragamo. Seeing their body types represented on catwalks and magazine covers is an incredibly important feat for plus-size consumers, but it will take commitment beyond the tokenism of plus-size bodies to close the chapter on the industry’s inclusivity problem.
The plus-size fashion industry is estimated at $21 billion, yet the majority of high fashion brands are inconsistent with their offerings to plus-size consumers. For example, some brands show curve models on their runways but don't offer a variety of curve sizes on their websites or in their stores. It’s a confusing maze for plus-size fashion fans–which, according to a 2016 study, is the average American woman–and it doesn’t get easier in the accessories sector. While jewelry is often touted as a foolproof way to elevate any outfit, it’s still just as difficult for plus-size shoppers to find size inclusive jewelry, particularly from luxury brands.
In U.S. ring sizes, plus-size is generally considered to be a size 10 and up, but shopping for luxury rings online is a chore as size offerings vary with each style. Some of Gucci’s popular statement rings, like the letter ring worn by Harry Styles, are available in sizes up to an XXL, which the brand defines as a U.S. 11 ½, but other Gucci rings with fire opal or emerald jewels are only offered up to a size 8 ½. On Fendi’s website, statement rings are available up to a size L, which the size chart defines as a U.S. size 8.
Luxury brands refusing to cash in on a market that's proven to be profitable is curious but not surprising. There are a variety of up-and-coming brands devoted to inclusive offerrings, like Automic Gold, which markets itself as "the only fine jewelry brand to stock rings in sizes 2 to 16," but such a large size range has never been customary in the jewelry and accessories of luxury brands.
While progressive labels like Rihanna's Savage x Fenty have worked to talk the talk and walk the walk by both casting plus-size models and designing clothes for them, it's been historically difficult to get traditional luxury houses to do the same. As long as high fashion brands continue to dip one foot into the size-inclusive conversation by hiring plus-size models and keep another foot dry by offerring inconsistent and confusing sizing options, especially in pieces as simple as belts or rings, the fight for inclusivity in fashion will be far from over.