6 Size-Inclusive Indie Fashion Brands for Fat Girl Summer

Model wearing long-sleeved green mini dress

Alpine Butterfly Swim

Despite the plethora of designers, brands, and retailers available today, finding clothing that fits you and makes you feel good is as frustrating as ever. Doubly so if you fall into the “plus size” category.” The oft-repeated statistic goes: “The average American woman wears a size 16/18.” And yet, only 8% of brands even make clothing in extended sizing.

This is where independently-owned brands come in. Smaller brands have always been at the forefront of plus-size fashion, offering fat bodies the kind of garments we had been yearning for long before mainstream fashion was interested.

Indie and emerging brands are more likely to be helmed by women and people of color, so patronizing indie brands is a great way to support diversity, which the fashion industry sorely needs.

The real upside of indie brands is that they offer fat bodies more: More sizes, more designs, more styles, more sustainability. We know that the options in plus-size fashion can be… a bit limited, but indie designers and brands aren’t afraid to make the pieces we want.

I have rounded up a few of my favorite indie brands for every type of fat babe (disclaimer: Indie brands do tend to be a bit more pricier; think of these as investment pieces, meant to be worn over a number of periods). Below, check out six brands that are ready to embrace your style.

Loud Bodies

Model wearing a purple midi dress in front of a pastel watercolor background.

Loud Bodies

For the Whimsical Summer Cottagecore Babe Who’s Half Bridgerton, Half Garden Fairy

Do I spend my days frolicking in a lush flower-filled garden and live exclusively on milk and honey? No. Can I dress like it? Yes. Cottagecore has been a recurring theme every spring and summer the past few years, and there are a few amazing brands making the pieces to suit your fanciful dreams. Loud Bodies is an ethical, sustainable, and truly size-inclusive brand that I have loved for years. Their spring/summer collection is a mashup of '70s flower child and fairytale princess; all available in sizes XS-10XL.

Honorable Mentions: Selkie, Dynasty George, and Ava Gowns


Two models wearing flowing smocked dresses.


For the Non-Binary Baddie Looking for Sustainable, Gender-Inclusive Pieces to Smash the Patriarchy In

There is a hyper-feminization in plus-size fashion that we rarely talk about. Lots of florals, cuts to emphasize the waist, and bodycons for days. I learned about Sotela, an indie Latinx-owned brand, from one of my favorite fat nonbinary fashion icons, Lydia Okello, and have been digging them ever since. They offer made-to-order pieces from their Los Angeles-based shop, in sizes 0-30. 

Honorable Mentions: Copper Union Apparel, Free Label, and Dapper Boi

Fashion Brand Company

Two models wearing a red latex puff-sleeved gown.

Fashion Brand Company

For the Avant-Garde Fashion-for-Fashion’s-Sake Hottie Who Truly Believes the World is Their Runway (Because It Is)

When a company’s slogan is: “We only make clothes for lizards,” there’s a fair chance you’re in for a wild ride. And FBC delivers, and up to a 5XL at that. Founded by artist Penelope Gazin in 2018, the brand churns out pieces that, to be frank, I am just not seeing other brands make for fat bodies (like a pair of pants with a third leg that’s serving Total Recall in the best possible way). They’re also dedicated to producing clothing ethically and sustainably, on top of donating thousands of dollars to nonprofits like the Center for Reproductive Rights and Asian Women’s Alliance.

Honorable Mentions: None. Seriously, Penelope and Co. are out here doing some wild stuff… and I love it

Tamara Malas

Four models wearing colorful prints in front of tropical plants.

Tamara Malas

For Someone Who Just Loves a Fun Print

“Tamara Malas pieces are for anyone that enjoys being unapologetic in their style and isn't afraid to attract attention or compliments when wearing our bold designs,” shares the designer of her eponymous label. Couldn’t have said it better myself; Tamara Malas creates lively, colorful, punchy prints that are truly the stuff of fat joy. The collections are available up to a size 32 (with plans to expand!), and they’ve never failed to put a smile on my face.

Honorable Mentions: WRAY 

Alpine Butterfly Swim

Model wearing a green long-sleeve mini dress in front of city buildings.

Alpine Butterfly Swim

For the Fat Beach (or Pool) Bunny

The first time I encountered Alpine Butterfly Swim, I wasn’t entirely sure if they were making bathing suits or couture; it turns out, they were making both. Every season, the folks at Alpine toe the line between poolside goddess and next-level street style, and honestly, we stan. They offer daring string bikinis and swim-ready skirts and tops (because we’re all at different places in our body acceptance journey) in sizes XS-5XL. There’s something for everyone at Alpine.

Honorable Mention: Chromat


Two models standing behind a lemon tree.


For the “She’s an Icon and She Is the Moment” Curvy Instabaddie

It’s seldom that a new plus size line comes out and I am 100% on board with everything they’ve got going on. That was the case with GIA/irl, a recently launched brand of sexy, chic, and sumptuous dresses and skirts by plus-size model and influencer, Gia Sinatra. I love a beautifully tailored piece in a muted color that can be worn everywhere and that’s what Gia/IRL offers. “I design for curvy & plus-size women who want chic and sexy pieces that are good quality,” Sinatra shared via email. “Women who don’t want the ‘typical’ plus size options,” she continued. I can personally attest that the quality, color, and, fit is giving sexphistication (a portmanteau for “sexy sophistication” that I just made up).

Honorable Mentions: Zelie for She, Christian Omeshun, AFRM, and Desireé Iyama the Label (Nigerian-based designer Desirée makes the most gorgeous dresses)

There is a world of beautifully-designed, high-quality plus-size options out there, but they can be difficult to locate. And there can be more, but designers have an uphill battle when they decide to go plus. “There is a lot that goes into creating and running a plus-size brand,” Sinatra shares, “To do it well, each piece must go through multiple fittings and samples to [ensure the correct fit].”

When you add sustainability to the mix, the labor and expectations get a bit more intense, according to Malas, “I think some people have really high expectations of ‘slow' fashion brands.” I truly believe brands like Tamara Malas continue to rise to the occasion, bringing freshness, excitement, inclusivity, and fun to a chronically under-served market. The weather is getting hot, but with the right indie brand, you can be even hotter.

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