With plus-size clothing hard to come by in Aotearoa, advocates call for change in attitude

We are all different shapes and sizes, and finding the perfect outfit can be tough for anyone. But when it comes to plus-size clothing, that search becomes much harder.

There are hundreds of places to shop for clothes these days, in stores, online and even on social media. But what if you can't buy the thing you want simply because they don't stock your size?

Plus-size advocate Jess Molina told The Project that is the reality for Kiwi women who wear plus-size clothing.

"It's really disheartening not to have that accessibility of clothes for me, and it's really quite sad when you think about all the fashion brands out there and how many malls and stores exist in Auckland alone."

The average size for women in Aotearoa is size 16. Most fashion brands like the hugely popular Glassons go up to size 16 - and that's where it stops.

"I don't know if I can really explain what it's like going into the store having that anxiety that not everything is going to fit."

Designer Sarah-Jane Duff has been making plus-size clothing for more than 15 years. Her clothes are catering to those women that fast fashion ignores.

"There's an unbiased prejudice. There's fat diet prejudice like we're all conditioned to change our body, so how are they not a part of that conversation."

Duff believes the industry has improved over the years but said it is still hard to buy reasonably priced, good-quality clothes if you're not what the industry deems a standard size.

"I feel like there's that idea of 'It's plus, it shouldn't cost more', but it would take someone longer to sew a piece that fits my body let alone the materials and designing it."

Whether it's a dress for a date night, work clothes or workout gear, everyone needs to be able to get their size when they need it. 

"I've definitely been in situations where I really want a piece to wear to an event or for a birthday or for a date and having to plan that way in advance because I know I can't go into any store and pick what I like," Molina said. 

Some companies are trying to break the mould like Miria Flavell, owner of Hine an activewear range that sizes from XS to 6XL.

"We have 10 sizes, which is very unheard of, and when I went around shopping for manufacturers and suppliers it was a huge issue for me to try and find a supplier who would do six sizes let alone 10."

And the demand is there - there are people and companies willing to make the clothes.

"I think definitely an attitudes change, so seeing plus-size people as people worth of really nice clothes," said Molina.