In 2014, friends Polina Veksler and Alex Waldman went clothes shopping at a major department store. To Polina’s surprise, Alex’s options were quite limited, and tucked away in one of the store’s less-traveled upper levels: the ‘plus-size’ section.
This unnerving realization that women could have such completely different shopping experiences at the same store drove Polina into research mode. She found that about 70% of women in the U.S. wear a size 14 or larger, but less than 20% of clothing is made in those sizes. Meanwhile, much of the double-digit-sized clothing available is fast fashion: not particularly well-fitting or built to last.
Alex and Polina decided to create Universal Standard: a clothing brand where size was irrelevant – where any woman could shop and ask herself, “do I like this?” – not “does this come in my size?”
This week on How I Built This Lab, Guy and Polina discuss the $100 billion opportunity to serve women of all sizes, as well as the challenges that come with building a size inclusive clothing brand.