As we all know all too well, finding comfortable, stylish, well-fitting clothes can be a challenge. That challenge can be even more so for plus-size individuals. That is why Paris Passu, CEO and Founder, Shanna Goldstone, made it her goal to solve this problem. Goldstone worked with Melissa McCarthy on the launch of her shirt-lived fashion brand and saw first-hand just how difficult it was to shop for plus-size garments. Goldstone analyzed over 7,500 3D body scans of her target customers to better understand their body shape and fit their needs. From her research, Goldstone identified three distinct and unique body shapes. Shape B is the curviest body type. The waist and bust are smaller than the hips. Most of the weight is carried in the thighs and bottom. Shape C is the most underserved shape. This body type carried more weight in the belly with thinner arms and legs. Weight is distributed towards the front of the body. And shape D is the modified hourglass. The bust and hips are roughly proportional and the weight is equally distributed between the front and back of the body. Using this data and having a wealth of knowledge about her customers, Goldstone created a shape focused sizing system, including seven different sizes for each of the three body types. That’s 21 different sizes in total! She even developed an online fit tool so that customers can figure out which is them.
Forbes spoke with Shanna Goldstone about the brand and her vision. Goldstone said, “I started work on Pari Passu back in 2017. It took 18 months to launch and a little over a year to develop the technology behind our fit system. Retail brands use a set dress form based on one “typical” body type. But because we wanted Pari Passu clothing to truly fit real women—of every shape—we created three totally unique dress forms. That meant finding enough recent size data, analyzing it, going through two rounds of prototypes for the dress forms, and then building the fit system from there. It was a labor-intensive process that took investment and focus over months of time. In a nutshell, it tells you why most brands don’t bother trying to fit more than one shape: it’s a ton of extra work just to get the dress forms to a point where you can make high-end, beautiful clothing that looks like it’s been custom-tailored to each client. But obviously I believe it’s worth it.”
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Goldstone continued to explain her mission further. “I worked on the branding and retail launch for her clothing line, Melissa McCarthy Seven 7, which debuted in stores in 2015. That experience was what powered my desire to launch Pari Passu. When I was working on Melissa’s line, it was right beforeGhostbusters, arguably the pinnacle of her career thus far. She’s one of the highest-paid actresses in the world, she has enough of a budget to buy anything she wants, yet she couldn’t find clothes that fit. It was such an “aha” moment for me. I thought, “If it’s this challenging for a Hollywood star to get clothing, then what about the rest of us?” Working with Melissa opened my eyes—not just to this market opportunity, but to the total injustice of the offering. In America, the average woman is a size 16, what’s historically been called “plus size.” Most “plus size” clothes are cheap, terribly made, and hidden away from the “straight size” clothes. And so for millions and millions of women the experience of shopping is demeaning at best and humiliating at worst. It makes no sense from a business standpoint and it makes no sense from a human standpoint.”