As if we didn’t have reason enough to consider Universal Standard the American brand of all brands when it comes to inclusivity, the company’s latest ultra-covetable collaboration with the luxury label Erdem has given us a new reason to celebrate its commitment to fashion equality. Launching today, the irresistible eight-piece collection is anchored in a dreamy Cycladic-esque palette that takes form in the shape of polished white jeans and indigo-blue boiler suits along with blouses and dresses with all the ruffles you’ll need to twirl into the season ahead.
This adventure is one that started with the ultimate union of craft and creativity: British’s own Erdem Moralioglu is the design muscle (which explains the delicate flurry of prints) whose vision was brought to life thanks to Universal Standard’s expertise in fabrication — because if there’s one thing Waldman and her team do best, it’s the engineering of garments that fit properly across the world’s most inclusive size range, from 00 to 40. “This collection represents inclusivity not just in terms of size, but it’s also quite democratic in terms of the price,” says Alexandra Waldman, Universal Standard’s co-founder and chief creative officer. “So the idea that somebody can own an original Erdem piece for much less than what you would normally pay for this high-fashion brand — it’s a fashion adventure in a way, and it’s really nice to know that everybody who wants access can have it.”
“I wanted to focus this collection on denim because I know it’s something [Universal Standard] does so beautifully,” Moralioglu tells us. “We had been talking for a long time, and whenever I’m considering a collaboration, I want to explore something that’s new to me and something I can learn from. Universal Standard and their approach was so interesting and new to me.” This comes at a time where plus-size retail has taken a major hit due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the American company Loft being the latest of a slew of brands to announce the discontinuation of its extended size options. But where the industry falls short, Universal Standard is ready to step in, bringing with it some of the top players in the fashion game. Erdem x Universal Standard marks the retailer’s fifth collab — following the likes of Goop, Adidas, Rodarte, and more — launched to push the boundaries of design at every level, and in every direction. Waldman hopes these partnerships can function as a blueprint for a more promising and broadly inclusive future in which fashion molds itself around the individual, not the other way around.
“Any brand coming in as a pure plus-size play I think it’s doomed. It’s like a band launching their first song on a cassette tape,” Waldman says. “What brands should be doing is extending sizes to include as many women as possible, and not designating a vast majority of American women to some sort of specialty clothing business.” Universal Standard’s latest venture proves that this is possible, with each piece representing style as a fundamental right for all women, regardless of shape or size. The collection retails for £110 – £185 and is available now on Universal Standard’s website. You can also shop all eight pieces right here from this story and discover for yourself what fashion equality looks and feels like.