Full Figured Fashion Week, where waifs are out of style

Fortune

According to the mainstream fashion industry, being a “fashionable” plus-size woman once meant hiding your curves under dark, loose-fitting clothes.

One look at the bright prints women wore at a luau party or the white, body-con dresses at the Curves at Sea cruise during Full Figured Fashion Week in New York this week proved those days are over. “This is our time,” says Denise Caldwell, a stylist and brand consultant. “Curvy is the new black.”

About 2,000 women are expected to attend the week of fashion shows, cocktail parties, small business seminars and panel discussions, which started on Sunday and runs through this weekend. Founder Gwen DeVoe, a former plus-size model and event planner, says 25 brands—including the main sponsor, Fruit of the Loom—and 12 independent designers are participating.

The plus-size market, typically defined as sizes 14 and up, is a bright spot in retail. Women’s clothing stores alone, stalwarts…

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