Ian Harris: Fashion is for everyone

Ian Harris takes inspiration from his own experience in the plus-sized community. After spending the past two summers interning at Cake Plus-Size Resale in Minneapolis, Harris learned the importance of having a place that focuses on community building for plus-sized people.

Ian Harris

“One of my favorite events that we did every year was the Fat Splash, a pool party where our motto was ‘suns out, tums out.’ I wanted to translate that experience into a really fun collection,” says Harris about his clothing line.

“My idea is that design should bring light and joy into the world. And I hope that people can see these plus-sized bodies who aren’t normally represented in fashion in a really fun and bright light.”

Referring to the fashion show’s theme, Harris says “amplified” means being a voice for your community.

Harris says that sizing is a huge problem in the fashion industry. He believes everyone should have the same access.

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“This is a problem across the board in fashion—for little people, for plus sized people... Bodies are so different—we’re squishy, and we have things that move, and we’re not perfectly proportioned, and when you limit someone’s options...it’s just not fair.”

“For me, that’s the Twin Cities fat community. That’s the people I worked with at Cake, that’s the customers who come in. Interacting with them … it made me feel not as alone, as somebody who’s struggled to find clothing that fits them and is in style.”

Harris says that sizing is a huge problem in the clothing industry. “I can’t walk into a store and buy something off the rack,” he says.

One of Harris’s favorite companies is Minneapolis’ own Target. He’s had a mentor there and interacted with their design teams through the U of M’s apparel program, offering those teams his unique insight.

He believes that fashion should be for everyone.

“Clothes are something that we all wear,” he says. “They protect us and they are a way to express our personalities, and if the options aren’t there for everyone, they don’t get to protect themselves in the same way, they don’t get to show off their personalities like everybody else does.”

He calls his clothing line Moi, and it features bold, bright statement pieces that showcase fabrics, textures, and embellishments in interesting ways for the plus-size customer, reminding us, he hopes, that fat is not a bad word.

“It was important to me, and I think for a lot of our class of designers, that the communities we serve were a part of Amplified, our show's theme.”

Meet the other fashion designers