“Two decades have passed since I opened this store in Manchester, yet the available choice of quality fashion clothing for plus-size women in this country remains abysmal,” said the businesswoman who founded her store when a thyroid condition caused her to gain weight.
“When I opened my boutique for sizes 18-32 back in 1993 I quickly learned that the only way to stock it with fashionable, well-made, plus size clothing was by travelling to Germany several times a year and buying garments from a huge selection that were simply not available anywhere else.
“Germany has led the world in the production of plus-size high fashion and as I wanted my customers to have access to the very best quality clothing, it made sense for me to source my stock from there.
“After the launch of Lady Bountiful, one or two plus-size stores began to appear elsewhere in the UK and I assumed the growing demand for clothing for bigger women would eventually convince British designers and manufacturers to take the significant plus-size sector seriously.
“However, despite the passing of two decades little has changed. I still make my trips to Germany, several times a year, to select my Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer collections because the offering of size 18 – 32 garments from the UK’s designers and manufacturers is virtually non-existent.
“Actually it is scandalous that this section of society is ignored by the vast majority of designers and manufacturers, because the number of plus-sized women in the UK is significant. You could argue that we are victims of a form of discrimination. Why shouldn’t larger sized women have the same range of choice in clothing as slimmer ladies?
“Perhaps the designers and manufacturers haven’t realized that many of the ladies who buy their clothes from Lady Bountiful are successful and affluent individuals who are prepared to pay significant sums to ensure they look superb.
“Why leave this valuable trade to the Germans? Can’t British designers and manufacturers compete?”
Alice believes it is time for plus-sized ladies to make their voices heard.
“They should complain when they can’t find what they want,” added Alice. “They should demand a better level of service and equality for plus-sized fashion lovers. Let’s hope things have improved by the time we celebrate Lady Bountiful’s 30th anniversary.
For further information about Lady Bountiful click onto: www.ladybountiful.co.uk