As manufacturers pay more attention to consumer needs, offerings of plus-size fashion are becoming increasingly abundant. In the lingerie and swimwear industries this is especially promising, considering the ‘slim white’ ideal which mainstream designers in this niche are guilty of upholding.
Not only are size ranges expanding, but there are also many more fashion-forward, body-positive designs available to plus-size customers. A brilliant example of this is Alpine Butterfly, a mid to high-end plus-size swimwear brand.
Olga Caro launched Alpine Butterfly in August of 2017. After discovering how difficult it was for her plus-size niece to find stylish swimwear, she was inspired to begin research into designing for plus-size bodies and eventually founded the company with young women like her niece as the target demographic.
The inspiration is clearly conveyed by the incredibly contemporary designs. While Alpine Butterfly has a wonderful offering of sporty, strappy pieces and details, they are also unafraid to embrace classically feminine shapes and patterns.
Current designs on offer include bikini tops and bottoms, one-pieces, and beach cover ups. All designs are available in sizes L-5XL, some up to 6XL, and range from $60 up to $197 for a vintage inspired swim dress.
There is so much variety in Alpine Butterfly’s offerings, demonstrating an acute awareness of the fact that plus-size bodies come in many different shapes. As well as this, they are obviously committed to creating swimwear for people with many different senses of style.
The bikini bottoms come in a range of cuts, from high cut string ties, to a traditional bikini cut, to more full-coverage high-waist styles. Similarly, tops incorporate cropped, wrap styles and risqué lace and cut-out details, alongside ruffles and corset ties.
Some of my favourite designs are the long-sleeved bathing suits, which serve as a sexy option for any who may not want to bare so much skin. All of the designs co-ordinate with Alpine Butterfly’s offering of beautiful cover-ups, many of which I think could easily be incorporated into outerwear.
Through all of the designs, the product imagery, and their social media presence, Alpine Butterfly consistently come across as a wonderfully body-positive brand. The models and social media influencers they choose to work with show real diversity, and Caro has been outspoken about the brand’s commitment to showcasing all shapes of plus-size women – not just the typical hourglass shape that is often deemed to be the only socially-acceptable distribution of body fat.
While their price range is not the most accessible, the brand does market themselves as “luxury” and I do think it’s important that Alpine Butterfly are giving plus-size customers the option of owning higher-end pieces.
From researching the brand, it also seems that they have put a lot of effort into hiring experts in designing for plus-size fashion, and have incorporated specific supports and design elements into their swimwear to reflect this. Therefore I can understand why things like this would lead to costs being higher than your average high-street retailer.
All the same, many of their designs come in at under $150 for a full bikini or one piece swimsuit, and that seems a very reasonably price for gorgeous swimwear like this. I just love that their designs take into account so many different preferences, and particularly that they are producing swimwear for plus-size women who know they shouldn’t have to cover up their bodies if they don’t want to. I sincerely hope other fashion brands begin to do similar.
If you’re plus-sized, do you find swimwear shopping an off-putting experience? And if so, does Alpine Butterfly offer aspects which other brands don’t?