How do we even define “plus size” fashion model vs another?

If, In the fashion design industry, sizing is unregulated and inconsistent across the board.

In fact; in fashion schools, students are still learning and teachers are teaching and illustrators often perpetuating the use of— proportions that don’t exist in human form, then where do we decide we are in the range of “plus”?

When I design or sketch, or teach fashion design or fashion illustration, to some extent it is ALWAYS “plus size” just because in real life,the legs are not longer than the torso! ******Design principle: the shorter something is, the wider it looks.

plus size fashion model drawing by Laura Volpintesta
Plus size clothing could refer to a specific set of size measurements. What interests me in Plus size or any size fashion sketching is that we are drawing true to the model / client/ customer’s body without distorting it.

Plus size fashion sketching benefits

… from you getting very familiar with the body you are sketching or designing for. That’s why I keep Pinterest boards of plus size and all size figures in standing poses to sketch and study from.

For this purpose, I particularly value leotard and yoga wear images so I can study the plus size body itself, how it moves and how it looks from all angles, and I practice drawing it until I’ve “internalized” that figure . To me, that means that it lives and breathes in my imagination as well as my hands!!

The sketches you see on this page were all created from observation: I sketched while looking at photographs. If you repeatedly do this, you will find yourself at the point where you can sketch a figure at will from your imagination, because it has become a skill and a habit!

plus size fashion model drawing by Laura Volpintesta
I sketched these figures during a Model Drawing Magic session – my weekly sketch meetup that I host on zoom to a cozy group. Join us if there is still room!

When I worked in plus size fashion design

I was really surprised to see the process when I worked in plus size. The company I worked at did private label for juniors and plus size. I was the fitter for the sampling process. They would create the styles in junior size, and the GrADE The patterns up to plus size!

You can just imagine how inefficient it would be to design that way.

I believe that “plus size” fashion deserves its own style and designs on its own dress forms so the design has a real integrity to it, not as an afterthought. I believe in finding images and examples (and draping, sketching and creating) garments that are already fabulous and letting THEM be the basis of the plus size fashion. Easy fit, volume, and large prints are some elements that I find incredibly beautiful in plus size fashion design.

plus size fashion model drawing by Laura Volpintesta

I remember that the African fashions that I saw in Paris when I lived there in the 90s was so beautifully tailored to the plus size fashion model aesthetic that I always wished I had the body for it… that’s how evolved and gorgeous the fashion was for a full figure body type.

plus size fashion model drawing by Laura Volpintesta
Digital iPad Plus Size fashion sketch- yoga wear- Laura Volpintesta

Plus Size fashion sketching

Plus size model sketching croquis posed by Laura Volpintesta
Sketches by Laura Volpintesta One way to get fluid with Plus Size Fashion Sketching is to use one of these figures as a croquis template and sketch right onto her figure!

and design have integrity when you take that figure and design on it and for it. I also believe that we design best for the body we inhabit ourselves!!! We know what it needs, how it’s shaped, what flatters, feels, functions and looks good for all of our needs.

Give yourself the luxury of feeling into the human figure in a way that is relevant and sincere for you.

Your design and integrity come from listening to your inner voice above all else- you are smart and you have the eye. Be sincere I. Your creation!

Plus size fashion model sketching by Laura Volpintesta

Remember to think of your sketches as dress forms in action- the dress forms used in draping and patternmaking for plus size fashion should relate easily to your sketches, if that is the body your client has!

Now it’s your turn!

Sketch!!! Let me know how it goes.

Love, Laura

Learn fashion illustration and design online with Laura Volpintesta
Laura Volpintesta, creator, FashionIllustrationTribe

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