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Meet The Brands Designing With The Petite Girl In Mind

Designers
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein. Styled by Heather Newberger.

They’re putting in the legwork

The trials of a petite person are endless, but perhaps one of the most persistent—and potentially expensive—is that the fashion industry likes to pretend we don't exist. This isn't surprising considering that even Cara Delevingne, the stunning 5'9" supermodel, was once dubbed a “dwarf" by Marc Jacobs before she made it big (so to speak). And Delevingne is considerably taller than the average American woman, who typically tops out at 5'4".

So if even relatively tall women like Delevingne are maligned by the industry, where does that leave those of us who are actually shorter than average? Swimming in our clothes, for the most part. The less lazy among us take our clothes to the tailor, a boring activity that pays off for nearly everyone, but which takes extra time, money, and energy many of us either can't or don't want to spend. When so many of us are relegated to cutting three inches off our jeans and awkwardly shopping in the children's department, it's an absurdly missed opportunity not to capitalize on a segment of the market that is desperate to give up our hard-earned money for clothes that actually fit.

Luckily, though, designers are starting to take note.

Simone wear shirt by Missguided Petite, Pants by ASOS Petite, Shoes by Martiniano.

STATURE is a NYC-based brand for women 5’3" and under. Founded by Avani Agarwal and Camille Moroz, the online shop is a small, carefully curated virtual oasis of items specifically sought out for their suitability for the petite body. 

The petite market is considered a 'niche' one,” wrote Moroz in an email. “The industry standard of 5'9"-plus fit and fashion models only accounts for approximately 3 percent of the extrapolated population.” That disconnect, and the fact that more than 50 percent of American women are shorter than the average fit model, is what prompted the two petite women to start their own company. 

Lily wears top by Missguided Petite, pants by Wray, shoes by MM6. Maria wears shirt by A&F, pants by Petite Studio, Shoes by Rachel Comey/staturenyc.com, on right: shirt by Fila Petite, pants by Wray Collection, Socks by AA, vintage shoes via FengSway.com

Although it's well-known that fashion has long had a diversity problem, the industry is, remarkably, even more unfriendly toward diverse sizing. Pattern grading—in which an item of clothing, designed for the sample size, is “graded” up or down to accommodate different sizes—is so ingrained in design and manufacturing that designing for a non-standard size is incredibly difficult—and costly.

“Grading for non-standard sizing is uncharted territory for a lot of brands,” says Moroz, and “creating different design patterns and/or specs for petite—and plus!—sizes is an entirely separate set of costs that can be quite high.” This explains the hesitation many brands have towards diversifying their sizing: Designing from a smaller, or larger, sample size and adjusting from there is an additional cost that many companies simply don’t see as worth the effort.

Walysia wears earrings by Tapley, shirt by ASOS, shirt and skirt by by Eileen Fisher Petite.

The industry’s fixation on tall, thin women, however, is an exercise in futility. The number of short and/or plus-sized women is large enough that, if a brand is willing to commit to the research and development costs necessary for targeting such populations, the success can—and has proven to be—worth the work.

Lily wears shirt and pants by ASOS Petite, shoes by Doc Martin. Maria Alia wears shirt by Fila Petite, pants by Wray Collection via staturenyc.com, socks by American Apparel, vintage shoes via FengSway.com.

One of the amazing things about the petite market is that it really is like a network,” said Jenny Howell, founder of the new NYC-based clothing brand Petite Studio. “We've been really lucky to find that our customers are loyal and are becoming returning shoppers in the long term.” That loyalty speaks to the ingenuity of the founders of these brands, who will, it stands to reason, reap the rewards for putting in the elbow grease and building companies with little pre-existing foundation upon which they could rely. 

Chloe wears shirt by Petite Studio via petitestudio.com and skirt by ASOS petite.

Petite Studio, with its delicate, feminine looks, and STATURE, which skews more quirky and bright, are at the forefront of this new movement in fashion, but they are, thankfully, not alone. Mainstream brands like J.Crew, Abercrombie, Anthropologie, Reformation, and Ann Taylor LOFT and Lou & Grey all have sizeable (so to speak) petite collections at a variety of price points. One can only hope that more designers recognize the success of the enterprising first few brands so that we, small girls, can have as great a selection of clothes from which to draw our wardrobe as our taller sisters.

Chloe wears dress by Dusen Dusen, sized for stature via staturenyc.com, stylist's own shoes, Walysia wears shirt by ASOS Petite, dress by Abercrombie & Fitch Petite, stylist's own belt, shoes by Eileen Fisher, Simone wears shirt by In God We Trust via staturenyc.com, Pants by Abercrombie & Fitch Petite, shoes by Rachel Comey via staturenyc.com, Lily wears tops by Missguided Petite and ASOS Petite, pants by Wray, shoes by MM6, Maria Alia wears shirt by Abercrombie & Fitch, pants by Petite Studio via petitestudio.com, shoes by Rachel Comey via staturenyc.com.

Photographer: Lauren Perlstein assisted by Sara Maria Jones
Stylist: Heather Newberger
Hair: Felicia Burrows
Makeup: Tony Tulve at Kreative Kommune
Models: Simone @ MSA, Maria Alia @ Muse, Lily @ Ford, Walysia @ WeSpeakNY, Chloe Pultar


 







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Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

"In my head I thought, This is how it ends"

Kit Harington almost lost a lot more than the Iron Throne while filming the final season of Game of Thrones. According to an interview with NowThis News, the actor almost lost one of his balls while riding a mechanical dragon.

Harington revealed that the incident took place when he was filming the scene where his character, Jon Snow, takes a ride on Rhaegal for the first time in the Season 8 premiere. Since dragons aren't real (sorry), Harington was filming the scene, where Jon almost falls off the dragon and then swings around to pick himself back up, on a mechanical contraption.

"My right ball got trapped, and I didn't have time to say, 'Stop,'" Harington said in an interview. "And I was being swung around. In my head I thought, This is how it ends. On this buck, swinging me around by my testicles, literally." We see shots of the fake dragon he's riding in front of a green screen, and it does look pretty terrifying.

Luckily, his testicles remained intact through the near-disastrous event, and he's survived with quite the story to tell to unsuspecting journalists.

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FROM THE WORLD WIDE WEB
Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for goop

"I had to create a harder shell about being a woman"

In a panel discussion during Gwyneth Paltrow's In Goop Health summit, actress Jessica Alba revealed that she "stopped eating" to avoid unwanted attention from men when she was first starting her career in Hollywood.

According to People, Alba said that she "had a curvy figure as a young girl" and, as such, was made to feel as though her body was the reason that men may be inappropriate toward her. "I was meant to feel ashamed if I tempted men," Alba said during the panel discussion. "Then I stopped eating a lot when I became an actress. I made myself look more like a boy so I wouldn't get as much attention. I went through a big tomboy phase."

She continued, "In Hollywood, you're really preyed upon. They see a young girl, and they just want to touch you inappropriately or talk to you inappropriately or think that they're allowed to be aggressive with you in a way."

Alba also noted that she was raised in a conservative household. "My mom would say, 'You have a body, and it's very womanly, and people don't understand that you're 12,'" she said. "I wasn't allowed to have my nalgas out, which is butt cheeks [in Spanish], but I was born with a giant booty, and they come out of everything. So, I didn't get to wear normal things that all my friends wore."

She said that these reactions to her body really affected her attitude. "I created this pretty insane 'don't fuck with me' [attitude]," she said. "I had to create a harder shell about being a woman."

According to her, her relationship to her body only changed when her first child, Honor, was born in 2008. "[After she was born,] I was like, Oh this is what these boobies are meant to do! Feed a kid!" she said. "And that was the dopest shit I'd ever done. So, I came into my body as a woman finally and I stopped being ashamed of myself."

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Photo courtesy of Teva

Because of course

Teva, the most obvious lesbian footwear brand since Birkenstock, really knows its customer base. In time for Pride, the brand has teamed up with Tegan and Sara for a gay shoe to end all gay shoes. In other words, your Pride footwear is on lock.

The shoe isn't just your average Teva sandal. Tegan and Sara's design, the Teva Flatform Universal Pride sandal, is a 2.5-inch platform shoe with a rainbow sole. Tegan and Sara noted in a press release that they have been Teva wearers for pretty much their whole lives. "We got our first pair of Teva sandals when we were 16," they said. "This rainbow Flatform collab is like full circle LGBTQ+ Pride validation."

What's better, with each sandal sale, Teva will donate $15 to the Tegan and Sara Foundation, up to $30,000. The funds donated will go toward scholarships which will give young members of the LGBTQ+ community the chance to go to summer camps which will "help develop self-confidence and leadership abilities in a safe and nurturing environment." Tegan and Sara added, "Teva's generous support for our foundation will allow us to help even more LGBTQ+ youth."

Available today at Teva's and Nordstrom's websites, the sandal retails for $80.

Photo courtesy of Teva

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Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images

"Focusing on innovative materials will allow the company to explore new boundaries of creative design"

Prada Group has announced that Prada, as well as all of its brands, will now be fur-free. According to a press release from the Humane Society, Prada, Miu Miu, Church's, and Car Shoe will ban the use of fur beginning with the Spring/Summer 2020 collection (aka the Fashion Week coming up next). The list of fashion designers banning fur only continues to grow, with 3.1 Phillip Lim, Coach, Armani, Versace, Gucci, and more having stopped using the material in seasons past.

"The Prada Group is committed to innovation and social responsibility, and our fur-free policy—reached following a positive dialogue with the Fur Free Alliance, in particular with LAV and the Humane Society of the United States—is an extension of that engagement," Miuccia Prada told the Human Society. "Focusing on innovative materials will allow the company to explore new boundaries of creative design while meeting the demand for ethical products."

Following London Fashion Week designers forgoing the use of fur in September and the first-ever Vegan Fashion Week taking place in February, it's easy to imagine an entirely fur-free fashion future. It's especially easy, I presume, for the brands to consider a fur-free future, given that entire cities and states are taking a stance. New York is following in the footsteps of Los Angeles banning fur, with a bill proposed this March that would ban sales across New York State.

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Photo by Johnny Dufort

"Club leisure" is the new athleisure

Alexander Wang is recognizing clubbing as the workout that it truly is with his latest Adidas collaboration. In this fifth installment, he "changes gears," per a press release from the brand, taking the iconic sports brand to the dance floor.

For the new campaign, the collection comes to life in iconic choreographer Tanisha Scott's dance studio and stars dancers Noemi Janumala, Dakota Moore, Avi McClish, and Olivia Burgess. The dancers show just how far these clothes can go when you want to bust a move or stretch, but TBH, I'll leave these poses to the pros and just use my clothes for flexing on the 'gram.

The collection—which features six apparel items, three shoes, and six accessories—features, per a press release, "Wang's knack for pre-styling." Standouts from the mostly black-and-white items include a silver sneaker that was *made* for moonwalking, an airy windbreaker that has just the right dash of bright blue with the scattered Adidas trefoil design, and a towel hoodie that you won't feel bad sweating in.

Ahead of the May 25 collection drop online and in stores, peep the gorgeous campaign images below.

Photo by Johnny Dufort

Adidas Originals by AW, Sweatshirt in Black, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Towel, $80, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Joggers, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Turnout BBall Shoes, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas.

Photo by Johnny Dufort

Adidas Originals by AW, Towel Hoodie, $350, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Sock Leggings, $60, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Adilette Slides, $90, available starting May 25 at Adidas.

Photo by Johnny Dufort

Adidas Originals by AW, Futureshell Shoes in Platinum Metallic, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas.

Photo by Johnny Dufort

Adidas Originals by AW, Sweatshirt in Core White, $280, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Shorts in Core White, $120, available starting May 25 at Adidas.

Photo by Johnny Dufort

Adidas Originals by AW, Sweatshirt in Black, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Bum Bag, $50, available staring May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Towel, $80, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Turnout BBall Shoes, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Duffle Bag, $70, available starting May 25 at Adidas.

NYLON uses affiliate links and may earn a commission if you purchase something through those links, but every product chosen is selected independently.


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