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Sustainable & Curvy | Finding Ethical, Size Inclusive Clothes Is No Longer Impossible

Updated: Nov 3, 2023

Written by Claire Shaw, a friend and model for size inclusive, sustainable brands. Claire grew up in South Africa and currently calls Hawai'i home.

two girls on the beach wearing eco-friendly wetsuit and swimwear from sustainable size inclusive surf brand Abysse

A few months ago I was scrolling through Tiktok and Instagram, at the time my "for you" page was filled with Get Ready With Me (aka GRWM) videos. After some time watching them I realized 90% of these videos were created by curvy, plus size girls just like me. Then I noticed every creator I watched was supporting fast fashion companies that included Shein, Fashionnova, Boohoo, Amazon and Target . This shook me because at the time, I was really trying to be conscious of which brands I was supporting. I've been trying to keep things as ethical and sustainable as possible, and also focus on supporting small, local, or secondhand businesses.

That being said, I could understand why they were doing it. It is hard to find the right companies. Through my efforts this past year, I realized it’s now not necessary for bigger girls to be supporting these companies as much as they do. For years it seemed impossible to find pretty, cute, or trendy clothing for plus size girls. Then Shein blew up a few years back and I too was excited to be able to buy clothes that would actually fit . Fast forward to now, the fashion world is changing. More and more amazing brands who care about how they impact the earth are becoming size inclusive, and there is no reason to be supporting these fast fashion brands who damage our earth by dumping toxic dyes into our waters, filling up landfills with wasted cheap clothing, and practicing unjust labor standards.

Photos by @tatiana.phan with size inclusive brand Abysse

Fast fashion brands are smart. They know who to target as their market group, they know how hard it has been for bigger girls to find clothes they like. So many of their ambassadors and models are curvy girls who will influence other plus size girls to jump on the bandwagon to have “nice” cheap clothing without asking any questions of how its being made and by who it’s being made.

My goal is to see a change in this, to see woman who are curvy support better businesses, to buy locally and to do their research and find size inclusive sustainable brands. They are out there, you just have to look. (Use the World Changer Co. directory to scroll with the "Size Inclusive" category!) You see, the more we support these fast fashion companies, the less sustainable and ethical brands will be able to offer more sizes, because their target market won't include us. Supply and demand, if there is a demand for sustainable size inclusive, these brands will cater and eventually it wont be hard to find amazing brands.

As far as price range goes, yes it is more pricey, but think about who you’re supporting and where the money is going. Think about the quality. Why buy an item of clothing that will last you one season (if even), when you can buy something that will last years because it’s made with care, thought, and appropriate materials. It limits pollution and waste that our world does not need. Fast fashion companies thrive on you constantly needing to replace clothing that hasn’t lasted, so you get stuck in a loop of always needing more. In the long run this damages your wallet more than just buying one item from a good brand that you’ll have for years. When clothes are just a few dollars, someone or something else is paying the price.

I hope to see a change, and to be able to inspire a few women who are curvy to support local, sustainable and ethical brands, because through this it will inspire more brands to become size inclusive and limit the fast fashion industry as much as possible. It is no longer necessary for plus size girls to be supporting the fast fashion industry. We deserve better and so does our planet.

Find ethical and sustainable brands with extended sizes by tapping "Size Inclusive" under the values dropdown menu on any World Changer Co. sustainable brand directory . Here are some favorites:

Abysse wetsuit and swimwear with surfboards in Hawai'i on sustainable size inclusive blog post
Photos by @tatiana.phan with size inclusive brand Abysse

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