These brands bring body positivity to a new level, creating sustainable, inclusive clothing for people of all sizes.
Body positivity is more than a buzzword. It has a range of origins and cultural roots dating back to the fat acceptance movement of the 1960s. Over the past decade, it’s picked up momentum with brands championing similar themes in their own campaigns.
While some brands have been criticized for turning body positivity into performative marketing strategy, there is a major victory in people of all sizes being able to see themselves represented in media through their favorite brands. Still, some companies have worked earnestly to bring the true message of body positivity to their customers.
Let’s look at the brands who are actively reshaping and celebrating people of all sizes.
Summersalt centers around fit and comfort, so they want to make sure everyone knows these clothes are meant for them. That means representing a full spectrum of bodies.
Their 2021 swimwear campaign features plus-size, disabled, post-partum, and senior models. They also include plus-size BIPOC women in their campaigns— a progressive move since many brands often only show white models in larger sizes. Representation includes LGBTQ+ people, models with chronic illness, body liberation activists, and entrepreneurs, showing that body positivity transcends body shape and size.
Thinx advocates for menstrual equality around the world. Their new program EveryBody promotes inclusive education about sex and reproductive health. They also work with partners like Girls Inc. and Alliance of Border Collaboratives to bring menstrual and incontinence products to people who need them.
Periods have been stigmatized for so long that it’s hard to remember them as a natural body process. Thinx is changing that conversation by using inclusive language like “people with periods” to include trans and non-binary people who menstruate. This inclusive approach takes some of the discomforts away from buying those products for people of any gender, and ensures that more people have access to period products worldwide.
Fran and Naomi founded TomboyX when they couldn’t find gender-affirming underwear for themselves. Clothing is one of the most visible ways many transgender and non-binary people express their identities, and TomboyX fills a need that goes beyond following trends with a range of sizes up to 6XL to help as many people as possible feel comfortable in their bodies.
While TomboyX clothing isn’t exclusively for trans and non-binary folks, their mission and practice helps many trans and non-binary people who experience gender dysphoria to move toward accepting and loving their bodies.
Plus BKLYN carries sizes up to 32 and sells thrifted pieces as well as their own collection and aims to make larger sizes – which are often pricier than “standard” sizes – more accessible and affordable.
Plus BKLYN brought plus-size fashion to a physical location, whereas most plus-size lines are online only. Founder Alexis Krase opened the first plus-size boutique in New York City in 2016 to allow plus-sized people to have a better shopping experience and try on clothes in-store. Where many brands create plus-size clothes to erase what makes every body unique, Krase stocks fashions that fit the bodies they’re made for.
Girlfriend Collective was founded by people who wanted to make a difference in fashion. For this brand, body positivity is about recognizing that BIPOC, LGBTQ+, disabled, chronically ill, and other marginalized bodies matter. They feature inclusive models that break the boundaries of what we consider acceptable beauty, including women with body hair. Their clothing ranges from XXS to 6XL.
Beyond their mission to champion inclusive sizing, Girlfriend Collective actively donates to a range of progressive organizations and provides resources to help people get involved in activism, educate themselves, and support Black-owned and sustainable businesses.
Nooworks is a woman-owned and run business with limited-edition fashions in all different cuts and styles designed to celebrate all body types. They make clothes up to size 5XL and show lots of different bodies wearing them.
The brand also ensures their products are inclusive by working with designers and artists who are part of the groups they market toward to design their patterns. These include queer and trans-owned Ash and Chess, who designed Nooworks’ Pride month pattern, Better Days.
Universal Standard offers exclusive clothing and materials with inclusive sizing, advocating for size equality and diversity by selling sizes 00 through 40. They uplift the voices of diverse communities, giving them a say in their clothing and showing that fashion shouldn’t be for one single body type. They’re also reinventing how sizing works – unlike most brands, their “medium” size is an 18, which reflects a more accurate representation of what the average woman wears.
Most impressively, Universal Standard offers a program called Fit Liberty, which lets customers buy for their current size. If that size changes, they will ship customers the same garment in their new size. The goal is to reduce body anxiety so that people don’t have to worry about body changes. Universal Standard’s priority is helping people enjoy their clothing.
Parade goes beyond the idea that size inclusivity is a unique or admirable quality for a brand. Instead, it’s an expectation. This sustainable brand shows people that there are lots of ways to be beautiful. As they say, “sexiness isn’t one-dimensional.”
Parade involves plus-sized people in their product development to ensure that their underwear fits bodies of all different shapes and sizes without pinching or digging in. They also donate 1% of their profits to Planned Parenthood to help more people care for their bodies and access inclusive sex education.
Chromat treats clothing like architecture and builds toward size-inclusive, sustainable swimwear for people of many sizes, genders and abilities, making a point to include them in their marketing and on the runway.
They feature transgender models, models wearing prosthetics, and other people with bodies that don’t get as much time in the spotlight as they should. Ultimately, they show that everyone deserves a place in fashion.
Knix is a woman-founded business that focuses on functionality over frills. They also understand that sometimes body positivity starts with body neutrality. So the company works to help people love their bodies and work toward that point if they’re not there yet.
Knix uses inclusive language on their site, which is as much about body positivity as it is about making clothes with inclusive sizing. For example, they don’t market their period underwear toward women but toward “people with periods.” They also created the Life After Birth project, partnering with Black Women’s Health Imperative to form NOURISH. NOURISH is a program that trains postpartum doulas to provide their services to Black birthing families, reducing maternal mortality.
Yogamatters is a UK based Yoga apparel brand whose mission focuses on making Yoga inclusive for all cultures and body types. Luupe photographer Hayley Benoit, who recently photographed their Eco Clothing Collection shares her experience working with them:
“I was super excited especially when I saw the creative brief as I feel it connected with me personally and to what I would like to portray in my imagery: healthy living and body positivity. I’ve photographed a lot of models in my time but nothing that reflected women I could personally relate to. The women that Yogamatters selected were strong, confident and completely happy in their own skin – something that I aspire to be when wearing yoga clothes. I’ve practiced Yoga in the past and always felt body conscious as everyone in my class always had a certain body type. Photographing women that I could relate to made me feel proud to champion women of all shades, shapes and sizes.”