Nikki Muffoletto is a plus-size model who hopes to make a documentary on fashion and sizeDominica Lim for Al Jazeera America
According to the Center for Disease Control, the average weight for adult women in the U.S. is 166 pounds, with roughly a 37-inch waist. More than 60 percent of American women wear a size 12 or 14, the beginning of the plus-size range. Yet with most designers catering to smaller sizes, your average American female can feel left out of the fashion loop.
The exclusion worsens for black women and Latinas.More than 80 percent of African-Americans and 75 percent of Hispanic women are considered plus size (14 and up), compared to 60 percent of white women.
Miller, who wears an 18 or 20 herself, can empathize.
"My whole life, I had seen beautiful clothing, I had touched beautiful clothing but I couldn’t wear it,” she said. “In design school, all of our dress forms were a size 8 and all of my classmates got to wear all the projects that they made, and I still had to make a size 8 and then it would be essentially, garbage.”
Marketing research group NPD found that 62 percent of plus-size women report having trouble finding plus-sized clothing styles and 79 percent would like to be offered the same styles as their smaller sized friends.
Miller's line is called Cabiria, named after director Federico Fellini’s 1957 film “Nights of Cabiria,” and was launched through a crowd-funding campaign using Kickstarter, an online fundraising platform. While her clothes are a first for Fashion Week, others in the plus-size demographic are also raising the profile; New York hosted the industry event "The Full Figure Fashion Week'' in June.
"When women wear my clothes, I want them to feel gorgeous,'' Miller said."Like they’re the most luxurious women walking down the street and so empowered that they can have anything they want."