In a recent interview about her upcoming clothing line, Melissa McCarthy said:
“Women come in all sizes. Seventy percent of women in the United States are a size 14 or above, and that’s technically ‘plus-size,’ so you’re taking your biggest category of people and telling them, ‘You’re not really worthy.’"
McCarthy is absolutely right, and having some experience in the fashion industry here in New York, I can admit that the expectations and standards of the industry are changing for the better.
However, things are not just changing here in New York, they are changing across the country.
People are often curious what caused this shift of perception, and it can be attributed to several factors, such as social media, bloggers, online retailers and celebrities.
Here are four ways the fashion industry is embracing the "plus-size" movement:
1. Social Media
From Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, people continue to show their support for every size of woman, from hash-tagging #MyCurvesAreBeautiful to a full-on curves appreciation day this past May.
Thousands of women took to their social media accounts to show of their full-figures and encourage body confidence.
It sparked attention across the world, as more and more women started to share selfies of themselves and encouraging captions to let the world know they are comfortable in their skin.
Time and time again, social media proves that when it wants to, it can be a tool for change, positivity and encouragement.
In the fashion industry, we have big-name magazines, and then we have the bloggers, and bloggers give us more street styles and offer details of where to get hot items.
In recent months, bloggers from all backgrounds and sizes have decided to embrace the plus-size movement.
Blogger and fashion writer Candace Stewart recently published an article for Essence.com, where she outlined 14 of the best plus-size bloggers.
This gives curvy girls their own inspiration and a place where they can go without shame. They can view clothes and fashion stories written by people just like them.
The best thing about bloggers is they give their honest opinion and offer real advice.
3. Online Retailers
Trying to shop online is tough enough as it is, but for our curvy friends, it can be somewhat of a nightmare.
Not all retailers offer items in extended sizes, and when they do, they often sell out fast.
So when retailers start to change ordering options and extend sizes, it is a huge leap for curvy women everywhere.
Places like Gwynnie Bee, which is the only clothing rental subscription service exclusively for women sizes 10-32, are actively changing the game.
The site helps women discover, experience and enjoy great clothing without limitations by offering the most up-to-date looks all in one place.
Members receive about $900 to $1,200 worth of clothing each month, and unlimited free shipping and exchanges for an affordable flat monthly fee.
Also, when you have New York-based plus-size line Shegul helping plus-size girls achieve their professional wardrobe look for the office, there are starting to be more and more options for curvy girls.
Shegul's current line features wrap dresses both for the office and after work, as well as cocoon coats for fall and other items for women size 12-24.
However, these are just two examples. Recently, Huffington Post listed the top 24 online retailers for plus-size women; you can take a look here.
Before, celebrities would be ridiculed for their "curves" -- or not even invited to be on the cover of Vogue (It has been reported that Anna Wintour told Oprah she needed to lose weight before her cover shoot.) -- but, today, curves are in!
From Mariah Carey to Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian, women are constantly getting praise for how they dress up their curves.
When the fashion industry learned it can no longer make people feel bad about their weight, they jumped on the bandwagon to embrace curves.
Also, it doesn't hurt when you have the support of big-time actresses like Melissa McCarthy and Amy Schumer; when they speak up, people listen.
Actress Rebel Wilson is also known to push the envelope and wear bright colors as a sign she's not afraid to be seen in her curves.
It is 2015, people, and we still have a long way to go. But, slowly and surely, there won't be anymore of these discussions in the future.