Can the us versus them mentality be escaped? The mainstream fashion world periodically works itself into a tizzy about the skinniness of its models, but over the past few years, little has changed. Jean Paul Gaultier featured full-figured Beth Ditto in his spring 2011 Paris fashion show; Karl Lagerfeld shot plus-size burlesque star Miss Dirty Martini for V magazine's 2010 size issue. Such inclusion is the exception, not the norm.
But with strength in numbers and dollars, plus-size designers hope they can integrate into an all-encompassing fashion community.
"They're going to have to come around to us," said LaTresa Harper, co-founder and designer of the trendy, tailored label La'Dan's Closet. "We're a multi-billion dollar industry. We are a force to be reckoned with."
Ultimately, though, they're on their own mission.
"This is a separate community, we are larger women, but we want the same things," DeVoe said. "I don't understand for the life of me, as a business person, why people don't want to give us what we want as long as we're willing to pay for it. So if and when the mainstream fashion world does want to join forces, I'll be there front and center. And if they don't, well, we're just going to keep getting bigger and better."