plus size fashion

A model at the Madison Plus preview event. Courtesy photo.


Madison Plus founders Aimee Cheshire (center) and Erica Young (right). Courtesy photo.

The plus-size fashion market is an underserved demographic.

But if MadisonPlus.com's Erica Young and Aimee Cheshire have any say, they will fill that void.

Their site, which started as a straight blog, was relaunched earlier this year as a full-service site that functions as a fashion mall for plus-sized resources as well as providing extensive editorial.

"What we offer is hand-curated – it's the best of the best out there for plus and we've taken it out of context," Cheshire told StyleList, explaining how the site features brands in editorial contexts, sorted by looks and trends. For example, "Lane Bryant is where my mother shopped," she added, with the connotation of being dated, but that doesn't mean her site wouldn't show a great piece from Lane Bryant in a trend story and get a positive response.

The site also offers editorial features like "Model of the Day," which focuses on one of the plus models that are becoming household names, and "Street Style," which looks at the style of chic women on the street, a first for the plus customer. "We're not used to being on display," Cheshire admitted, but the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

The duo hosted a spring preview earlier this week; here are some of the labels they introduced:

Stefanie Bezaire
, sustainable fashion from Canada

Svoboda denim, a premium denim line based in San Francisco, offers sizes from 8 to 28 in different washes including resin coated denim with glitter added for a subtle sparkle

Fashion to Figure, the "H&M of plus sizes" Cheshire said, with items averaging $30

Simply Be, a collection of clothing and shoes from the UK that offers wide width shoes

Monif C, high-end swimwear

Anna Scholz, a company from the UK that is considered the Diane von Furstenberg for the plus market

Rani Zakhem, a high-end designer from Lebanon, who learned about the challenges of being plus-sized from his mother, who wore Chanel dresses made of two small-sized dresses stitched together, Cheshire shared.

Cheshire and Young met while they were both studying fashion merchandising at LIM, a specialized fashion college in New York City. Both took jobs working in the plus industry, but they quickly recognized how these companies were missing the mark and started their own blog. "The blog took off so quickly," Young said.

"It's been a lifelong dream of mine," to see these options for the plus market, Cheshire said, admitting that she was much heavier growing up than she is today. "I even want to go back to the weight loss camp I spent eight weeks attending every summer (Camp La Jolla) and put on a fashion show."

"This is an under-tapped market," Young said. "The plus size customer was needing a space and there's so much potential – she's so hungry for it."