I get a lot of e-mails asking me to promote clothes that aren’t made in my size. I received an e-mail last week asking me to support a Kickstarter Campaign for a product called The Undress. It’s a dress that is designed to help people change clothes in public.
I thought it was an incredibly cool idea – this is something that I would totally use in lots of ways – between workouts outside, after swims, at photoshoots etc. So I clicked and found out that it didn’t go up to my size. Sigh. So I replied to their e-mail and let them know that I would love to use the Undress but unfortunately they weren’t making it in my size. I suggested that since they were starting from scratch it would be super cool if they could plan to include as many people as possible from the start and offered to support them in doing so. I don’t know how many requests they received like this but I was pleasantly surprised to get an e-mail back:
Go girl go!! So excited for your IRONMAN event! Woooo Ragen! I’m so glad you brought up different sizes and that’s something that we are definitely working on and are embracing. You are absolutely right about including as many women as possible as that is our mission to provide The Undress to as many women as possible- no matter what size they are participating in athletic events. Thank you for bringing that to our attention. This Kickstarter campaign has been a huge learning opportunity for us to see what people want, what athletic people are interested in, etc.
Let me circle back with my team and keep you posted on further developments with The Undress. Thank you Ragen!! Be in touch soon!
Today they let me know that they had extended the line up to a size 28. (This sizing happens to include me but obviously doesn’t include all people and I’ve sent another e-mail.) It is a step in the right direction, and I spend so much time discussing companies that engage in fatphobia (and who, when we point it out and ask them to stop, double down on that fatphobia), I’m excited to be able to talk about a company that made positive changes in response to a request. (Just to be crystal clear I haven’t received anything to blog about this – no money, promotional stuff etc.)
In a world with so much bullying, shaming, and stigmatizing directed at fat people, and especially in the world of fashion where brands use their exclusion of fat people as a way to show how “cool” they are it can seem almost impossible to make change. But we can, and we are, and we will continue to, create change that makes the world better for fat people. Nobody is ever obligated to engage in activism, but if you want to, the first step is often to ask.
You can check out The Undress kickstarter here.
Or find them on Twitter @the_undress or Facebook
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26 thoughts on “Undress Success”
Out of curiosity, what size did they go to before your email inspired them to expand the line?
While this obviously isn’t perfect, it certainly is nice to at least hear about a company that (a) takes this kind of feedback seriously, (b) does something about it right away, and (c) seems more concerned that there’s an aspect they hadn’t considered than that fat people might use their product.
If I had a few bucks to spare, this would make me consider giving them to this company.
Our original size range was S-M-L. As you can probably imagine, as a very brand new Kickstarter idea we didn’t know if anyone in the world would even care about our product at all, so we restricted the size range. BUT- we were blown away to see that we have had such an amazing response worldwide!
One of the most expensive and logistically daunting things a clothing brand can do is add sizes, colors, and options- so the smartest thing for us to do as a brand new idea without a track record (at the time) was restrict our offering to something manageable for our little company (and pocketbook). It literally cost thousands of dollars to add/inventory, new sizes and colors!
But, the request for larger sizes (and also X-small, btw) has been overwhelming, and we couldn’t ignore that. As a brand new small business, this was a challenging decision to make. We absolutely, positively, want to provide The Undress as an option to as many women as possible, but honestly we were afraid of the financial setback this *may have for our new company.
Two weeks ago, we were determined and committed to finding a way to make it work- no matter the cost.
Despite the obstacles, we worked hard for over a week, meeting with manufacturers and agents to find a viable solution, and proud to say we found a way!
As for current size range, we asked for size suggestions from our backers, and they requested that we carry a size range up to size 28, which we responded to and gave exactly what was requested! We’re proud of that! 🙂
Also, we will be releasing a video soon of showing how LIBERAL and generous that sizing is for The Undress (due to elastic, flexible fabric, and adjustability). For example, size small is stated as 0-2-4, but we have test fitters up to size 8 testing it and loving it. You can see a photo on our Facebook page of three women at the beach- all different sizes testing the Small (www.Facebook.com/theundress) This flexibility was also why our original size range may have *seemed* limited (but of course, we knew that the dresses fit more than just the typical S-M-L sizing)
Thank you for your positive and constructive comments, we are doing everything we can, as fast as we can! We appreciate all of you!
Hope this helps!
-Dennis Caco (and April!)
Thanks ever so for the further information. It really s both refreshing and encouraging to see a company talking so candidly and working to meet the needs of potential customers.
Nearly ever person who has ever commented on this blog can tell horror stories of clothing companies ignoring us or actively insulting us when we just ask if there might one day be a way to get their clothing in our sizes.
If I had any money to spare, I would definitely contribute to your Kickstarter. I only wish I did have some spare cash. You guys have earned it.
I am a little concerned about their comment “our mission to provide The Undress to as many women as possible- no matter what size they are participating in athletic events.” Does this mean that they only support women of every size IF they participate in athletic events? Or are they wanting to support women of every size even if they don’t participate in athletic events?
Looking at the Kickstarter page, it appears that their product is geared towards those situations where convenient dressing rooms are not available, primarily outdoor activities/events such as cycling, running events, etc. that tend to have specialized clothing for the event. Many such participants value the lycra shorts and tops for the activity, but prefer something different for before/after the event.
At least, if I’m reading their project correctly, they are not snubbing women who do not participate in athletic events. It’s more that they believe their product will have maximum appeal for those specific situations. In such a case, it’s great to see that they are open to expanding their size range.
I need to send my wife the link to this Kickstarter. After some of the organized bicycling events we’ve participated in, she hates making any stops afterwards because she’s still in the cycling clothes. At many of the events, about the only place someone can change with any chance of privacy is in one of the rented porta-potties.
Hi pm Hoomi2!
Thank you for for the comment- and you are correct! Our intention was never to snub anyone! We are very happy to see that our original idea is much more expansive, and applicable to those beyond our original concept! We we’re obviously limited in our thinking and happy to be wrong about it.
I am an avid cyclist, and you are very very correct: “At many of the events, about the only place someone can change with any chance of privacy is in one of the rented porta-potties.”
I am glad you understand the need! After every ride, we (women AND men) are usually gathered around a parking lot figuring out the best way to change out of our kits. Some do the towel tango, others do the backseat boogie. Both can potentially be embarrassing or hazardous to ones health 😉
Kits/Chamois/Bibs are pretty gross to stay in throughout the day, and we hope if you gift The Undress to your wife, it really brings her the convenience she needs after every big cycling event.
Send us photos if you do! We’d love to see it!
-Dennis Caco (and April!)
I think athletes are their target demographic, but I can see so many other options for this. Non-athletes who are forced to change in P.E. classes is only one.
Cos-players at conventions and renaissance fairs, for example. People at the beach who just want to go from car to water, without looking around for a changing station that may or may not be available. Campers. Let’s face it – changing in a cramped pup tent is a pain in the neck, but standing outside to change is much better.
Anyone who contributes can make a comment, and they ARE responding to those comments, so why not contribute and make a comment about that. I’ve already commented twice, so I don’t want to comment again.
I love that you are asking this!
Originally this product was inspired by April and my own athletic activities, so we *assumed* that was how women in the world would use it.
But boy, we’re we wrong! (in a good way!)
We are receiving many, many emails from women telling us how and where The Undress would support their lives and activities, and we are happy to see that there are MANY more applications than that of which I originally intended.
I love how this invention has taken a life of it’s own- and now people all over the world are telling us how it can be used. It’s amazing!
So, to answer your concern, The Undress is NOT just for active women. It’s for any woman who has ever had been had the inconvenience of changing in odd places, without complete privacy, that would like a faster, more convenient (safer?) method to change than that which might be readily available.
We are even in the process of changing the main video on our webpage to reflect this shift in perception! (More work to do, lol)
And, we are shifting the message from “Athletic Women” to “Women on-the-go” which includes almost everyone!
Heck, even this statement above is sure to change as well as our new little idea develops, but it’s the best we have right now. 🙂
So YES, we support any woman, regardless of activity.
-Dennis Caco (and April!)
Ragen, you are a badass — and I’m not just talking about the Ironman. Thanks for sharing this. It helps immensely to know that size activism isn’t just so much spitting into the ocean.
It’s especially gratifying after spending on the internet, where one can easily become convinced that trolls are the majority rather than the vocal minority in the world.
Good for you, Ragen. And good for the company for being receptive to a suggestion that is good for their business as well as us potential customers.
Thanks for sharing this, Ragen. And good for you for encouraging them to expand their size options. Because, as we all know, one size does not fit all…….or even most.
Out of curiosity, is there somewhere that has an estimate of what percentage of women are what size?
I.E. 20% of women are size 10. 50% are size 16 and so forth.
I think the difficulty with that would be, *whose* size 10? Women’s clothing manufacturers are notorious for having inconsistent sizing, sometimes even within a single company. A woman may wear a size 10 from company ‘A’, a size 12 from company ‘B’, a size 8 from company ‘C’, and a completely different labeling that isn’t numeric at all from company ‘D’.
Well, that’s true.
So true! Did you ever see that movie “27 Dresses” about the woman who was always a bridesmaid? She starts the movie trying on a wedding dress, because the bride can’t make the fitting, and they’re the same size.
She said how it was so great they were both a perfect size six, or something like that. It’s been a while since I saw it. I just remember laughing my head off at that line, though, because dress sizing is already a crap-shoot, and wedding dresses are notorious for being even smaller than most.
I wish we could just go for a straight measurement, instead of size. Like men’s pants. But then you have to face off against women who would rather hear the number 2 than the measurement of their waists in inches, let alone centimeters. Because those bigger numbers are EEEEEVVVVIIIILLLLLL!
According to the comments, they are also looking at shorter sizing, and a future line for girls, as well.
Not too great a style if you want (need, in my case) to wear a bra.
Did you watch the video? They demonstrate how the Undress is used to even change the bra. It might not work with every style, but it doesn’t preclude those who need or prefer to wear bras. Wearing it as a dress might prove problematic with many bras, since the back does remain open, but for the changing aspect (one of its biggest selling points) it looks like it would work for a lot of styles.
My wife loved the idea, and I sent it to our daughter, who does Tribal Fusion Belly dance, as well. She loves the idea as both a cover-up for the dance costumes, and for changing under less than ideal circumstances
Add a shawl, and you can wear it as a dress with a bra.
May I ask a fashion-related question? My problem is that my waist is so large compared to my butt and hips. All my pants sag. Even stretchy pants start to creep down after a while. Can anyone suggest a solution? Thanks.
I have hips and waist about the same size, so I understand your problem. I have not found a solution though.
I looking around the internet, some women reported using maternity pants successfully. Some have decided to rock suspenders. Some gave up and just wore dresses.
I lucked out and found one pair of pants that don’t seem to slide much, I noticed they don’t have stretch fabric in them. They were on consignment though, so I can’t tell you the store the originally came from. If I’m standing or walking a lot, I’ll tighten my belt. I have to loosen it for sitting though, since my tummy pooches out.
Hope you find a solution you can live with.
I really appreciate your reply. Yes, I do have some maternity sweat pants that work ok. And, like you, I have to loosen my belt when I sit down. I can’t stand anything tight around my middle.
Great job Ragen. As a man I don’t generally run into the same clothing restrictions that women do. In fact the “tall and fat” concept has been around for quite some time.
But I can absolutely see where activism like you did can lead to great strides in society. As many roadblocks as there are in the way for us (and even more so for those of us in mobility devices…sorry bad joke) it is getting better and I definitely think we have people like you to thank for that.
That is not to say that we have a long way to go, the world should be open to people like me immediately, absolutely and without restriction. If I want to be anything from an architect to a Navy Seal there should be zero limitations based on my size. Today we started with a dress company seeing that they can make comfortable dresses for large (i.e. normal) women, tomorrow we may see an overweight (i.e. normal) CEO or general in the military and in 2016 we may see an overweight (i.e. normal) President of the US. Small steps, but we will no doubt get there in my lifetime.
I don’t think it’s something I’d buy, but I kicked in a buck to support them for expanding their size range.
I am so glad you wrote about this, and wrote back to that company about sizing. I am a very odd shaped woman, very large behind and one size smaller up top with B cup breasts. Today I joined 24 Hour Fitness just to use the pool, on advice from my doctor, to strengthen muscles. Knowing last week that I was going to do this, I went online to Woman Within, a company that specializes in sizes 12 to 52. I chose a pair of swim shorts and a separate tank top. The pictures looked great, and even though the models wearing the clothes were definitely not plus size women, I assumed that the swim pieces would look the same on me as they showed in the pictures, since after all this is a specialty site for plus size women. I ordered the shorts size 26, and the top size 24. The shorts fit great, until they got wet, and then they became very very baggy, even on me! The top! It is sooo tight! And it clings to my belly and does not go down to my hips like it showed in the picture. Until it got wet. Then the weight of the water made it stretch down a little. All this is very frustrating, but I am not going to send it back. I expect to lose a little bit of weight by going to the pool three times a week and maybe the top will fit better. At this time of year, no way I can find a swim suit in a store where I can try it on. But soon enough it will be March and my favorite plus size stores will have suits out, and I will get a new one right away before they sell out of my sizes, and I will be able to try it on. So what is my real complaint? The catalogue and website do not use PLUS SIZE models to show how their plus size clothing really looks on plus size women!! I wonder, do you think it would do any good for me to write them a letter about this? Would they really think about changing their models? ( some plus size companies consider a model to be plus size if she is a 14 and big boned. It’s just not the same as being FAT!) Thanks, Susan Hudson
I don’t do Kickstarter very often, but I did this one. It looks great! But what really sold it for me was their positive response to your request. The fact that they’re making it in the USA (Down with sweatshops and slave labor!), and the fact that it would make life in a locker room SO MUCH BETTER are just added bonuses.
Wow, this is a totally cool project. I’m seriously thinking of getting one. It’d be great just to have a space all to myself to change.