How my sister and I launched an ethical plus size clothing line during the pandemic

Ever since we were little, my sister Danielle always struggled to find clothing she loved. Being a size 18-20, meant Danielle was often excluded from the fun of fashion, as stores generally only stocked up to a size 16.

Size inclusivity is getting better, but for many plus size women, boutique shopping and finding beautiful brands that stock over a size 16 are hard to come by.

With 63 per cent of Australian women wearing size 14 and over, there is still only 20 per cent of apparel which is made and sold in these sizes in Australia.

The beautiful Danielle in the Mia Dress

So we launched a marketplace for plus size fashion, Insyze.com. The aim for Insyze was to help women find plus size clothing more easily and connect with ethically made and sustainable brands.

Insyze has swelled to more than 25,000 users and we quickly identified that people were searching for sustainable and ethically made clothing, as well as styles that were plain colours, feminine yet modern.

Armed with this data, we created Dani Marie – a slow fashion plus size clothing line that serves customers in size 14 – 30 with ethically made, yet affordable clothing, as we quickly realised how hard it is to find ethically made plus size clothing brands.

Launching a brand during a global pandemic has its challenges! We worked with a local designer to refine the ideas we had and bring them to life. Then our styles were produced by a family run factory that we found in India. We had to do a facetime video tour of the factory so we could check out the facilities and meet the team virtually.

The beauty of every Dani Marie piece is that they are all designed without zips, buttons or fastenings because women’s body shapes and weight fluctuate all the time and therefore need items that can adjust to their changing bodies. So we did multiple sampling rounds with the factory before the items were ready to be manufactured.

We had to wait weeks on end for the samples to arrives with us, while the flight shortages caused by Australia’s closed borders affected global freight and supply chains.

But it was worth the wait, as our brand priorities fit and feeling good.

As a slow fashion label, we wanted to also make sure each piece can be worn in any season.

Our latest Santorini collection is all about bold and confident pieces. The versatile long sleeve top, available in black or deep blue features exquisite detailing around the neck and flattering sleeves. A classic cream dress oozes stunning shape and form and is complete with beautiful sleeves to the elbow. This dress, like all featured at the label, can be dressed up for more formal occasions or are perfect for a more casual setting.

Another head-turning design is the blue and white paisley dress which has the versatility to be worn off the shoulder. The wrap around dress in a subtle peach hue celebrates outdoor living and is a great look for all seasons. There are a number of beautiful black dresses on offer which are the ideal fit for a more corporate look or can be slipped into for an evening adventure.

Stunning paisley dress

Every Dani Marie item, which is made in India by a family-owned factory, is designed to be timeless and classic, so they can be worn for years to come.

The factory also pays above market wages and provides excellent working conditions which we wanted as a priority.

We have both worked very hard in creating a clothing line that is affordable and has longevity, in its quality and timeless elegance. Each piece we design has been workshopped so it can be carried over to a suite of seasons – a characteristic that rarely exists with fast fashion.

Visit – www.danimariethelabel.com.au.