Fashion has not been kind to plus-sized women. Although recent runways have been more progressive in terms of racial and trans diversity, plus-sized model showcases have plummeted for the first time since 2016. Despite this, we continue to celebrate female entrepreneurs like fashion and beauty vlogger, Helen On Fleek, who is the brains behind the exclusively plus-sized clothing line, hof +!
In an email interview with Cosmopolitan Philippines, Helen discussed her brand and what she thinks of plus-sized fashion in the Philippines today:
What made you decide to create your own plus-sized clothing brand for women?
I've been a beauty vlogger for over two years now. However, I discovered that my audience is not just made up of girls who love makeup—it's actually mostly plump girls who are into fashion. I would receive comments from them and I discovered that we share the same thoughts when it comes to being plus-sized, and experience the same struggles with the limited styles of clothes that are locally available. This is how hof + was born.
I want to share my passion for fashion with the goal of making my clients feel that they don’t need to hide their curves behind fabrics. For every hof + piece, my clients embrace body positivity—that they should love their own bodies and carry them confidently.
What do you think about plus-sized fashion options in the Philippines right now?
To be honest, I sometimes think that being plus-sized in our country makes me feel restricted because of the (lack of) availability of not just sizes, but of different styles. Most brands available locally offer sizes up to just XL, and there are few who offer beyond US 10! (Like Forever 21!)
What's your inspiration behind the brand and its aesthetic?
I can describe its aesthetic as hubadera with class—I always wanted to radiate confidence and body positivity to my clients. Building a clothing brand wasn’t my childhood dream, but I’m the kind of person who always wants a solution to every problem. My followers really inspired me, especially the ones who have a hard time to look for clothes that are trendy, would cater to bigger sizes, and are budget-friendly. I see fashion not just for vanity's sake, but as a way of making people confident and empowered.
I always look up to brands such as Forever 21 and Chromat. I want to inspire my fellow plus-sized women and give them something to look forward to when it comes to designs, and not limit them to just wear their usual dark-colored, loose, baggy clothes. I want them to wear pieces that are comfortable yet daring—show some skin, flaunt their bodies and emphasize their curves, because those curves are what makes them unique and beautiful.
What reactions have you gotten from people who found out that your brand caters exclusively to women sized XL to 5XL?
So far, my team and I are so grateful for the positive response we've been receiving from our clients. I also thank my fellow plus-sized women who are in the same industry (beauty, fashion, vlogging) who gave their love and support for my brand. My heart is so glad that there are plump girls who are sending me messages, thanking me for hof +. This is just the beginning. And since we just started, there is still room for improvement, more pieces to produce, and more plus-sized women to cater to.
What can we expect from the next hof + collection?
For our next collection, my team and I are coming up with a variety of styles—playing with brighter colors, comfy fabrics, and hubadera styles that can still keep you warm enough for the colder weather—I cannot wait!
Since it’s already the -ber season, we’re focusing on not just casual wear, but also smart casuals. Plus, we’re producing bigger sizes. We are so excited to release my personal favorites which I think most of our clients would love to wear during the upcoming busy holidays!
*Answers have been edited for clarity.
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