When Belinda Jasmine, a surfer-turned-entrepreneur walked in to the Shark Tank with a revolutionary product that promised to make its customers feel good, and look good, we were all listening. However, her million-dollar idea was a ‘Skinny Mirror’ that slims customers down by five to ten pounds. Already skeptical, when it emerged that Belinda was selling these mirrors to retail stores, the Sharks quickly said what (I imagine) viewers were thinking. “It’s a falsehood” and the illusion of a slimmer reality shouldn’t be making curvier or heavier people feel better. It definitely shouldn’t be incentivising them to buy more clothes. And I have to agree. Even while I’ve struggled with body image issues all my life, I’d hate to wake up every morning and look into a mirror that promises I’m the ‘fairest’ of them all. Especially when I can hear the tiny voice in my head telling me that losing weight is hard work, a personal lifestyle choice and, ultimately, not an indicator of my worth. The Skinny Mirror has incited controversy since the episode was aired but luckily, closer home, a new fashion brand is looking at things a little differently.
Half Full Curve’s body-positive, confident spin on plus-size clothing is a breath of fresh air in a world that’s still grappling with the limitations of standardised sizing charts.
Fresh off a showcase at Lakme Fashion Week, Rixi and Tinka Bhatia are overwhelmed with the response to their show. Speaking to Rixi, she tells me, “We treated it like any other fashion brand would treat it but we wanted to show off the clothes on regular people, instead of models, because that would have defeated the purpose.” With the experience of having started two fashion brands (Attic and Quirk Box) before diving in headfirst and committing to the cause of inclusive fashion, Rixi says that her sister inspired the idea of Half Full Curve. “My sister, my business partner, has always been a curvy girl and she’s never found clothes that she wants to wear–everything that’s trending, like everyone else. However, there’s nothing available because there’s a negative connotation to being a curvy girl in India (and globally). As a result, you’re only getting clothes that are boring, cover you up, are shapeless. Most designers are now turning to anti-fit silhouettes and, for a lack of anything else available, curvier women are forced to buy them.”
Half Full label, with three collections to its credit, doesn’t do drab, conservative or formless clothing. Instead, expect sleeveless dresses, kurtas with a cinched waist, shorter hemlines, and a definite wave goodbye to traditional styling tips often reserved for curvier or heavier women. Form-fitting and flattering, one of the reasons Half Full Curve’s clothes have so many takers is because of their personalised sizing chart. Developed over a period of six months, Rixi explains that they felt the need for it since most Indian women don’t conform to the typical Size 6 or 8 as per the UK/US size chart. Designing specifically for Indian women, one of the key takeaways that came from the Half Full Curve size chart was the appeal of the under-bust cut. “One of the misconceptions people have is that the under-bust will make them look bigger but, luckily, consumers have been happy with the style,” Rixi tells me.
As part of my research into the availability of plus-size or body-positive fashion, it emerged that more and more female customers were happier to shop online, as compared to at brick-and-mortar stores. The feeling of being judged, the struggle of being in-between sizes and a lack of options are some of the reasons that the latter lose out to online stores. However, a seven-day delivery period is rather inconvenient when shopping for unplanned parties or impromptu date nights. Half Full Curve is available at retail outlets in Mumbai as well, and Rixi assures me, they don’t charge an extra fee for customisation.
The Half Full Curve aesthetic is marked by a happy splash of colour, an unabashedness, a sense of celebration. Across the board, each of their collections invites women to embrace their shape, and throw those ‘tried-and-tested styling tips’ out of the window! Rixi says, “You should know what works for your body and accentuate that. Show off your hips, the shape of your body, let some arm peek out, don’t cover yourself up. Accessorize, wear a belt and just have fun with your clothes.” After all, the biggest hurdle to making fashion in India is a rigid mindset. “It’s not just with size, even things like certain skin colours are not as widely accepted,” Rixi says.
However, this brand has us looking at the glass half-full and with lots of hope as well–change is definitely coming.
If you enjoyed this article, we suggest you read: