Alex and Polina, founders of Universal Standard, established their label because they “wanted a size 26 to shop in the same way as a size 6 – using style as her only filter”. Frustrated by the lack of options on offer for women of different shapes and sizes, the pair launched with an eight-piece collection that sold out in just six days. Since then, the brand has gathered a large and loyal following, although at the moment they don’t ship to the UK or Europe. Great news, then, that the brand has just formed a new partnership with J.Crew, creating a collection of clothes that are designed to fit every body – from sizes XXS-5X, which equates to UK size 0-32.
The collection, available on the J.Crew website now, is being hailed as the “first of its kind”, given that it is not a "plus-size" range, nor is it designed for any sort of specialist requirements. It is simply a collection of midi dresses, tops, jeans and skirts that are designed to fit, whatever your size. It’s a depressing state of affairs that this is, in 2018, a fairly groundbreaking concept. But so many brands still refuse to cater to women over a certain size. Some major high street brands, for example, only go up to a size 14 which, considering the average UK size is a 16, is cutting out the majority of potential customers. In contrast, J.Crew and Universal Standard have fitted the collection on actual women of all sizes, rather than just scaling a single set of measurements, promising that “[the] clothes (finally!) feel tailored to you, thanks to expertly-placed darts and seams and just the right amount of room to move.”
What’s also nice is that the clothes are genuinely pieces you’d want to wear. Fitted maxi dresses, slouchy Bretons, side-stripe trousers and wide-leg jumpsuits make for a stylish capsule collection that actually feels wearable. The prices are in line with J.Crew’s mainline ranges, meaning that the pieces sit on the higher end of high street, though each piece is made from either poplin, cotton or a comfy jersey. Also, if these clothes really do feel tailored, as promised, then it sounds like an investment worth making. Lisa Greenwald, J.Crew’s chief merchandising officer, said: “We’re honoured to have partnered with Universal Standard on this collection, which kicks off a much larger roll out of extended sizes, new fits and fabrications across the brand. We’re on a mission to make great style available to everyone."
The first drop landed online today, with more coming very soon. But what the Universal Standard for J.Crew collection does, beyond offering clothes to fit each and every customer, is to allow us all to dream of a future that doesn’t involve any dedicated “plus-size” collections, or any high-street collections that just stop at a size 14. It allows us to dream of a world in which every woman, or indeed any person, can walk into a shop or visit an online store, safe in the knowledge that they won’t feel excluded, humiliated or disappointed because they can’t find clothes to fit them.