GO FIGURE: Gwen DeVoe launched Full Figured Fashion Week four years ago, a decidedly more modest affair than this week’s event, which includes a harbor cruise with a big-and-tall male fashion show. There will be a runway presentation on Thursday at Bloomingdale’s, featuring plus-size looks from Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Elie Tahari, Jones New York and Eileen Fisher. The plus-size clothing market is worth $17 billion.

Other FFFW events include a retailer and boutique showcase on Friday highlighting the U.K.’s Evans, Lane Bryant, Pretty Pair Bride, Ashley Stewart and Sonsi, an online marketplace for sizes 12 and above. At the independent designer showcase on Friday, DeVoe said 50 to 60 percent of the participants are from out of state or out of the country. “There are independent designers who are willing to produce a line for plus sizes,” she said. That doesn’t always hold true for more established designers, some of whom over the years have demurred when asked to make large sizes. “If you’re in this business for the sake of doing business, why are you excluding this entire community?” asked DeVoe. “We need to stop with the marginalization. I’m not asking for couture, but I demand the right to go into any store and buy a simple black dress.”

This story first appeared in the June 13, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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