Seattle and NYC-based, Universal Standard, is transforming the apparel industry for more than 67% of women in America. The size-inclusive brand offers fashion-forward, high-quality clothing for women sizes 10-28, who until now have had very limited choices for clothing. As someone who needs these size-inclusive brands, I applaud these women for helping me find clothes that actually fit and make me feel good!
I had the amazing chance to ask founders, Polina Veksler and Alexandra Waldman some questions!
Tell us about you! Where are you from, what was life like growing up?
POLINA: I’m from south Florida.
ALEX: I’m originally from Canada, but I live in NYC.
How does the Pacific Northwest lifestyle inspire you? What made you decide to create and design Universal Standard?
ALEX: I could never find the clothes I wanted to wear. It’s the bigger woman’s lament. We wanted to make clothes for everyday life that would allow you run to the store and still look like you loved fashion and understood style.
Walk us through how you design a piece for Universal Standard?
ALEX: I conceptualize pieces based on what I think the brand needs (tops, jackets, dresses, skirts etc) and how they fit together, as well as stand on their own. The rest is all about finding the right fabric, micro grading the patterns, numerous fittings, and then of course production.
What makes Universal Standard different from other plus size clothing brands such as Lane Bryant, ASOS Curve, Mod Cloth, etc?
ALEX: Universal Standard is not a fast fashion company. We understand that huge sales and super low prices have an appeal and can be addictive. But if your shirt costs as much as a sandwich, there is a problem. Somewhere along the line someone is paying the price. It may be a human cost, it may be environmental – but it’s very real. The world is changing and we mean to change with it. We want to make great quality, beautifully fitting clothes, that do more than follow a handful of trends. We want to break all the existing conventions of this business and start anew.
What are some of your favorite pieces in the brand and why?
ALEX: Our Geneva is probably the first thing that comes to mind. People refer to it as ‘that dress’. It’s been so perennially popular that we’ve made it in several different materials.
With so many people buying online these days versus in-store where they can try the clothes on, do you have any advice for women trying to find the right fit from an online store?
POLINA: Buying online is very easy. For our part, we remove all obstacles so that the experience is as easy as possible. Shipping and returns are absolutely free in the US. You can get two sizes and try them on at home without any penalty to your wallet or your will to experiment with the brand.
Where do you see Universal Standard in the future?
POLINA: We see Universal Standard as a fully articulated lifestyle brand. We want to move into many categories – from footwear, to athletic wear, and more.