When it comes to embracing diversity of size, the fashion industry still has a very long way to go – something that body-confident influencer Alex Light knows all too well and is aiming to address with her first fashion collection.
The former journalist is launching Light Ldn, a capsule of swimsuits in sizes six to 30, which aims to cater to women of all shapes – and which she hopes will help every customer to feel great about their bodies on the beach.
“Personally, I have always struggled with swimwear,” Light tells me. “I want something that’s stylish, totally comfortable and that makes my body feel amazing but I have never been able to find pieces that ticked all three boxes. More importantly, I have noticed, through speaking to women on my Instagram account, that there’s a serious lack of swimwear for plus-size bodies. And the swim that is designed for them is frumpy and covered and lacking in style. So, I decided to make my own.”
Light has used everything she has learnt through her growing audience to make the best collection possible. Part of this is of course catering to a broad range of sizes, but it is also about tackling this glaring issue of plus-size women not having any choice. She doesn’t want anyone to have limited options.
“I insisted on keeping exactly the same style from a six to a 30 – often, the plus-size swimwear range has added panels, or extra coverage, or has a different pattern, but I wanted the style to remain uniform across all sizes,” she explains. “Nobody should have to choose different fashion based on their body size.”
Of course, logistically and technically, it is more difficult for fashion businesses to cater to a wider range of sizes, which is part of the reason that the problem still exists. However, this is something which for Light was a “non-negotiable” and which she needed to make a priority when creating the collection.
“Catering to as many sizes as we have did present its challenges,” she admits. “I wanted the fit to be perfect across every single size, so that meant hiring a fit technician and fit models to ensure the pieces are as true to size as possible.”
“Sizing can be triggering for women, particularly because we’ve grown up in a diet culture that perpetually hammers home the idea that smaller is better, and the lack of standardisation can be really frustrating. To combat that, we have a sizing chart and encourage people to check their measurements before choosing their size if they are unsure.”
It is this diet culture that Light tries to combat with her Instagram profile, debunking some of the myths that women are fed through the media, and trying to help her audience see through some of the toxic rhetoric.
With her swimsuit collection, she wanted to show as much diversity of size with the marketing as possible, tackling that “glaring lack of representation of bigger bodies” and helping every woman to feel seen. This is what so clearly needs to be addressed in the industry, she explains.
“Fatphobia has thrived in the fashion industry for a long time; fashion has forever favoured the slimmer demographic. It is evident in the sizing offering from countless high-profile brands – many refuse to cater for women over a size 14, sometimes even a 12, despite the average UK woman being a size 16. This sends out the message that women living in bigger bodies aren’t deserving of nice clothes, not even worthy of being acknowledged.”
Light hopes that her first fashion collection can help to make women feel represented and great about themselves – and that other labels will eventually follow suit in making this a priority.
“I think brands have a huge responsibility to diversify their offerings, as well as who they choose to front their campaigns, and refuse to participate in the diet culture-enforced beauty standards that have burdened women for so long.”
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