Back in 2016 the Plus Size segment of mainstream fashion was still forming and was trying to find its voice. It operated pretty much outside the official fashion lines, building itself from scratch, finding its unique ways to communication, and connecting with other segments of fashion industry and its end clients.
Why did we believe that uniting the Plus fashion activists and professionals was important?
The mainstream media was just starting its conversation about issues and challenges of the plus size. The dedicated media was vocal and loud, but in reality was heard only by the devoted few. In the meantime, millions of women suffered from stigma associated with uncool and untrendy plus size, ending up struggling with poor body image, eating disorders, low self esteem, often ending with depression and mental illness.
The mainstream fashion could not offer the answer, as it felt if it started to cater to Plus size, it will end up losing the edge and appeal for its clientele. Fashion show runways, commercials and magazine ads were still dominated by 0-4 size models set as an ideal for women’s form. In the attempt to chase the dream, to be just like them, the generation of young women were struggling with the perception of their weight and body image.
All we knew, the industry needed help. And with the fast growing plus size segment of population across the globe, we also knew for sure it had the future. We felt, that it is not only important to start the conversation, but to provide the plus size fashion industry professionals with tools that will help its growth. Malia Indigo International Plus Directory was designed and built to become such an important tool. It simply was the right timing.
Josiane Laure Modjom also known as Malia Indigo, the inspiration and founder of the Malia Indigo Corporation, a plus size model herself (and an accountant by day) knew firsthand the challenges that plus size fashion has faced at the time:
- The limited selection of designs trendy enough for plus fashionistas
- The stigma around the plus size clients
- The fact that popular trends and plus size clothing seemed to always go separate ways
- Lack of awareness of plus size challenges
- Very limited market for plus size models
- Limited number of media and bloggers, who addressed the issues of the plus industry
In January 2017 Malia Indigo International Plus Size Directory Project was unveiled at the official launch party downtown Toronto, in the heart of fashion district. The launch and the press conference were attended by Toronto’s leading bloggers, media and trendsetters. Our vision for it was revealed. It was created to:
- Raise awareness
- Help build the plus size fashion industry from the ground up
And the response was overwhelming. In the matter of months over 10,000 active uses joined the directory. It united designers, models, manufactures, distributors, and boutiques, and ,of course, media. The members of the online directory, started in Toronto, interacted, collaborated and formed partnerships internationally.
It proved to be a valuable tool for the industry, providing access to plus size fashion resources for industry professionals, and information exchange all in one convenient place.
The Plus size industry is developing fast now and we all keep an open mind about its exponential growth as well as tools and communication that it might need in the future. We are prepared to change and grow with it. We were thrilled to be there at the beginning of the journey.
View more images here.