Cornell students Brandon Wen and Laura Zwanziger are aware of the lack of plus size clothing and mannequins. Instead of merely educating themselves of one of the many issues that plus size women face, they decided to do something about it.
The apparel design sophomores recently built their own plus size dress form after creating a clothing collection designed for plus size women.
Both projects were for their Product Development class and was done under the guidance of Susan Ashdown, the Helen G. Canoyer Professor in the Department of Fiber Science & Apparel Design (FSAD).
To create the dress form, the duo matched it to a single scan of a pear-shaped, size-24 woman from the FSAD department’s 3-D body scanner and used it to develop a pattern for the shape and contours of their mannequin.
“It’s a wonderful example of using innovative technology to support design work,” said Ashdown. “Instead of just scaling up something designed for a different-sized woman, or even thinking about clothing as something to disguise a body or make a body look different than it is, the students sought to celebrate shape as it really is.”
During their class final presentation Wen, Zwanziger and exchange student Abbey Jennings unveiled their collection, Rubens’ Women. The collection features four jackets and a skirt and pants tailored to complement the curves of plus size women.
“A lot of stores won’t have plus sizes in the store, so people have to go online and find them, and it’s difficult to find them online,” Wen said.
After creating the plus size collection and dress form, the team developed a marketing plan and negotiated with a manufacturer to develop suggested prices for the line.
“A lot of the clothes [for plus-size women] are really just sized up from smaller proportions, which fit really strangely,” Zwanziger said. “Plus-size women feel alienated from the fashion industry.”
If these college students can understand the importance of offering fashionable clothing to women of various sizes, why can’t major retailers and department stores understand it?