By Yahaira Jacquez
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Plus-size retailer Torrid made its New York Fashion Week debut on Tuesday featuring 40 full-figured models.
The Spring 2018 collection featured the models dressed in Bohemian-inspired dresses paired with leather jackets that gave the collection a touch of edge.
“Over 60 percent of the women in America are plus size (or) considered plus size,” said Elizabeth Munoz, head of product and design for Torrid. “The fashion industry can keep passing and keep saying I'm not going to acknowledge that but there's going to be a point where we can't ignore the fact that most of the available population to sell to is a size that they don't make.”
Torrid, which sells clothing, shoes and accessories for women sizes 10-30, also used the show as a stage to present the 10 women selected from its third annual model search, which will give one model the opportunity to become the face of the brand.
Torrid 2017 Model Search finalist Maria Gimena got the courage to try out after seeing plus-size models like Ashley Graham, who she said have similar features as her, booking campaigns and walking the runway.
“I was very doubtful to try out and then finally my friend was like you have to do it. I did it,” Gimena said confidently. “And here I am.”
Munoz said the retailer, which has over 500 stores across the United States and Canada, did not have trouble finding full-figured women to model for the collection.
“But there is not a lot of girls,” Munoz said. “I think there is opportunity to have many more girls in this business and sometimes it’s hard to get them all at the same time.”
Reflecting on her journey, finalist Seairra Thompson from Las Vegas, Nevada said people made her believe she did not deserve to love fashion because she was a size 10.
“It took a lot of self-discovery and a really big journey for me to realize that I love fashion,” Thompson said. “I love everything about it. And I should be a part of it. There's no reason for me not to be a part of it.”
(Reporting by Yahaira Jacquez and Elly Park; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)