Did you know the average female size in the UK is a 16? In spite of this the vast majority of ethical clothing suppliers refuse to stock anything larger than a 14/16. This means they are not catering for 50% of the UK buying potential! Frustrated at personally not being able to get clothing to fit due to my curves we traveled to India and Nepal in early 2018 with the purpose of convincing our tailors to make what we wanted in the sizes we asked for.
Whilst we had been asking for bigger sizes since day one of business many wholesalers and tailors were refusing to make or stock them. Their reason? Large sizes are harder to sell and if they don't sell then the suppliers were worried we would not place another order with them for any thing else. One well known UK wholesaler did stock sizes 18-20 for one year and then stopped citing that we were the only main buyers for them! Crazy!
In India and Nepal many tailors do not understand that the body shape people in Europe is different. We learnt that in India, tops with tight arm holes are considered sexy, as Indian males like to see a little roll of fat on a tight top sleeve which indicates the woman is well fed and therefore has enough money. However no one in Europe wants a top with an arm hole which is so tight you struggle to bend your arm! Getting across these difference to our tailors was hardest in India although in Nepal we had to show photos of plus sized ladies and men to convince the tailors what size we were after as they could not believe there were people that large alive!
Our trip in 2018 was a success and we worked with our main tailor in Nepal to design a new range of plus sized fair trade clothing in sizes 16-28. Working directly with the manufacturers means we can ensure our items are unique, well made and fairly traded from source to customer. On our trip we also discovered a fair trade hemp hat supplier and a new source of ethical bags and patches.