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Beyond the catwalk

Forget skinny malinks and clothes horses – the UK's first Plus-Size Fashion Weekend promises to show a different side of the industry

The words 'Plus-Size Fashion' might not collocate that easily, but an event in London this weekend promises to challenge your expectations and change perceptions of the demographic.

The event, which features catwalk shows, talks and stalls from plus-size retailers is the brainchild of young entrepreneur and London College of Fashion graduate Remi Ray, who at 25 founded her boutique, Trapped in a Skinny World, which specialises in larger sizes of vintage clothing.She's of the opinion that, with more than 60 per cent of the UK's adult population overweight, it was high time they were recognised by fashion retailers and the media.

Consequently, the line-up for the weekend, which is based around two venues in Shoreditch, includes famous faces Gemma Collins of The Only Way is Essex, who has recently launched a successful range of plus-size clothing with the specialist retailer Simply Be, which caters to sizes 14 to 32.

Rebecca Hannon, a contestant from last year's Big Brother, will also be on hand during the shows, where plus-size models will walk the runway to show how much the market has diversified from the ill-fitting smocks and tunics of yesteryear.

There will also be a panel discussion featuring model Velvet D'Armour, the first larger model to feature in a high-end fashion show when she walked for Jean Paul Gaultier, and Anna Shillinglaw, who is CEO of Milk Management, a modelling agency that specialises in furthering the cause and careers of plus-size models in a media age that is unused to dealing with them.

Organisers hope the event will raise awareness of how important the plus-size market is to a fashion industry during straitened times. This is a significant customer base for brands, and plenty of them simply don't feel catered for currently.

Plus-Size Fashion Weekend is on 15-16 February, bpsfw.com