Most people can understand that shopping for clothing can often be an uncomfortable experience and, for some, it might even feel quite isolating.
Speaking with Yahoo Lifestyle, Rhiannon Duke shares why she wanted to create a more inclusive brand and the reason her activewear label Duke the Label doesn't use the word 'large' when it comes to sizing.
It was a situation involving her sister that got Rhiannon thinking a change needs to be made.
"My sister had just had her second baby [in 2018] and was just really struggling. She was going out for a baby shower or something and it was the first event that she was going to since having her baby and she just didn't feel really confident," Rhiannon shared with us.
"She went out shopping, went into a store and went to try on something and it was a size 14 and she really loved it but it just didn't zip up properly and she asked the lady working there for a next size up and the lady just gave her like, just a bit of a blow-off, just saying like 'oh that's the biggest size we have'.
"And it just made my sister feel pretty bad about herself, especially just after having a second baby she just didn't feel really herself and she's not a big girl at all, she was a size 14 at the time and she usually a size 10 so she just felt really horrible."
She continued, "Women feel like this all the time and then she called me and she was absolutely upset and mortified that had actually just happened that I sort of just decided I just want to start something that would change the way we looked at sizing. Because the size 14 was labelled as a size large and it's just really disgusting to think that size would be considered as a large, and it just had a really masculine feel like I just didn't like it and I talked to my sister about it and she just thought it's really horrible that you can look at a piece of clothing and it calls you large!"
Rhiannon said that she wanted to do something about it and create her own label, but didn't have a fashion background, but she did, however, always wear activewear, so thought that could be a great place to start.
She also hated the fact that there wasn't much activewear that's even made for women in a bigger size range. The designer also shared that, unlike many other brands, Duke the Label will make samples in every size, while other brands will use a small size and then just scale up the fit from there.
Rhiannon explained that that's why so many brands are inconsistent with their sizing because they might just "add two centimetres here and there" and that'll be the ratio that they work with.
"It makes sense why people just struggle with sizing all the time because it's not made actually for them," she explained. "Especially when you've got a woman that's got a smaller waist but then a bigger bum, you still struggle with that ratio because it's just not made for you and that comes with jeans that comes with shorts like anything really in that type of fashion, it's always going to be a struggle.
She added that when it comes to Duke the Label, they create their leggings based on a waist measurement, so if you have a small waist and a bigger butt, you can still find leggings that fit you as they will stretch perfectly to your size.
When she began Duke the Label, Rhiannon decided the 'large' labelling wouldn't exist and it would be replaced by 'curve'.
"It was trying to figure out a word that would not actually offend a woman but still have the education behind it that, oh yeah, this means that it's a bigger size without saying it," she tells us. "I was going through so many different words and phrases and everything and I liked 'curve' because it was feminine, but it also meant that you have a little bit more curve on you. But it wasn't anything mean or it wasn't badly labelled. So, instead of saying 'large' I just call women 'curve' and then I just put an X in front of it. And we've had pretty good interaction [with customers] about that."
Rhiannon also shared that because there is a lot of care taken to make the products, it took two years to get her products to the point where she was ready to sell them.
However, she did share that there have been some bigger brands that have tried to take her idea and run with it. And while she doesn't love the fact other people are trying to claim her idea as theirs, she says that she believes she's doing something right if she's being copied. However, it might feel inauthentic coming from a brand that has been slow to embrace the body positivity movement.
Unsurprisingly, shoppers have loved the 'curve' sizes with many items selling out in the Curve to XXXCurve sizes.
"Our main focus is making sure people feel included. That was one of the biggest things that my sister felt – the fact that she went to a store, she was 25 at the time and she wanted to wear something really nice and beautiful and she couldn't and felt like she just had to walk out," Rhiannon said. "I think inclusivity is massive, not just in sizing but just feeling like you're a part of something more than just a brand."
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