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Smart clothes for bigger women

By Zenoyise Madikwa | Aug 03, 2011 | COMMENTS [ 103 ]

GONE are the days when only being slender was beautiful and sexy. These days the fashion industry is opening its doors and welcoming plus-size clothing and modelling.

Gugulethu Gule is one of a few people who saw a gap in the market and decided to fill it.

In April 2005 Gule, who has a PhD in Demography, left a plum job as deputy director-general: population statistics at Statistics South Africa and started GG Boutique for plus-size ladies at the Brooklyn Mall in Pretoria.

She says while working at Statistics South Africa she had to project a certain image as a senior government official, but found it almost impossible to find stylish and elegant clothes that flattered her fuller figure and body shape.

"While on a trip to New York I met a clothing retailer who inspired me to open an exclusive boutique for fuller-figured women like myself. This was the fulfillment of my dream and passion to empower fuller-figured women to look and feel great," Gule says.

After the resounding success of her first store she opened another in the Gautrain Hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg.

Gule says her main reason for opening the store was to change the perception that plus-sized women cannot look as sexy or contemporary as their thinner counterparts.

"Over the years I have seen department stores and boutiques leave plus-sized women with fewer and fewer options. Designers were giving a few, if any, fashion options for confident, classy and curvy women. Many young, curvy women were belittled in stores, relegated to buying on-line or ignored," Gule says.

She says GG Boutique presents a welcoming and comfortable shopping environment for big women who are beautiful just the way they are.

"This is a way of telling all curvier women that they can't and should never settle for whatever the fashion industry throws at them - which amounts close to nothing most of the time," she says.

"A woman's style should never be defined by her looks but rather the other way around, which is why we created a business that offers plus-size women plenty to choose from," she says.

Gule says she wants to change the perception that plus-sized women cannot look as good as their thinner counterparts.

"We offer an exclusive, well-tailored and stylish collection of corporate and special occasion wear for women in sizes 38 to 50. We carry international designer labels such as Tahari, Jones New York, Studio 1 and Liz Elana and our own in-house label," she says.

"We also have a stunning collection of designer shoes up to size 10, handbags and costume jewellery to accentuate the looks of fuller-figured professional women," Gule says.

She says their services also include image consulting, wardrobe planning, alterations and personal shopping by appointment.

Gule says her high-profile clients include first ladies, ministers, government officials, business executives, entrepreneurs and women in the diplomatic community

"We also have customers from the SADC countries and overseas. People travel from as far as the DRC to shop at our stores," she says proudly.

"I'm interested in what women want to wear in everyday life without compromising comfort, style or originality."

Now even regular-sized women are attracted to Gule's boutiques though the clothes are way too large for them.

These women have even commented that they cannot find such attractive clothing anywhere.

"I think my business works because our stores cater for plus-size women who want to be able to not only buy fashionable clothes, but who also want to buy from fashionable outlets," Gule says.

"Also, my passion comes through in my business, which helps my business work.

"My customers know that I not only care about my business, but also about them "

Any advice to people who want to enter into the retail business?

"My advice would be, research your field thoroughly because you will then know exactly in which direction you should head. This will cut out all the guesswork of what will and won't work for your business.

"My other little bit of advice would be - always remain focussed and passionate about your business because if you're not passionate about your own business, then no one else will be," she says.

COMMENTS [ 103 ]

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whoever, whatever she is that has to deal with Khulubuse Zuma - i give her props. no idea how she could handle 4 tons on top of her.

Aug 03, 2011 11:7 | 0 replies

I still think the bigger the better, plus banyana ba di slender ba nale dikuku tse kgolo...

Aug 03, 2011 11:40 | 0 replies

mafungwashe
beauty comes in different sizes,thanks for caring for the fuller figures,open outlets in all provinces and supply contacts so that people can order from afar,all these designs are beautifull,keep it up
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and hope they are affordable too.

Aug 03, 2011 11:40 | 0 replies

@ Liberian gal

I totally agree with you *nodding my head*

@ CapitalO

I'm also shocked at how mean, insensitive and cold some people can be, it can only mean they are not happy with themselves and trying to make themselves better by bringing others down, people shouldn't be judged on how they look, if they are happy then so what! let them be, no need to get nasty

@ Galfriend

I'm great my sugarplum, life is good

Aug 03, 2011 11:41 | 0 replies

@tiblat.. I've heard guys say this, so clearly there is abit of truth to this rumour.. yah nne and they think they are better than us anyway more power to bigger, more curves nd jus bein beautiful as women!!!

Aug 03, 2011 11:43 | 0 replies

thank you @blackolive

Aug 03, 2011 11:44 | 0 replies

Y'all check out todays poll :-)

Aug 03, 2011 11:47 | 0 replies

tiblat-LOL HAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAA

I still say as a woman be comfortable in your body,skinny or fat,thats how God created you.And if you feel offended by what other people say about your body,then tough because the teasing will always be there and will never end!

I love my body and anyone with a problem with it can kiss my skinny a.ss!

Aug 03, 2011 11:48 | 0 replies

@Nwanawamukalaha
Are you for real

@Mellow: MsKinky i dont really think its a cost issue hey some of our beautiful african sistas have self esteem issues they try hard to impress and to fit in only to embarrass themselves if only one can acknowledge and accept their bodies and learn to love and dress themselves properly and honestly now g-string on a fully figured woman must be a real pain why will anyone want to torture themselves like that...its not what you wear but how you wear it, if done with class then surely you will look like a million dollar bill and feel good and sexy
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My point exactly, I have seen horrendous things from the "bigger" sisters..... whereby I would think to myself could she at least wear a a g-rope instead of a a g-string *LOL*

Aug 03, 2011 11:52 | 0 replies

I think the concept of catering to the larger proportioned women is excellent!!!
But in all honesty, do all larger women have the finances to pay the exuberant prices that some of these boutiques charge for their clothing; especially if they are catering to the rich and wealthy as uGugu is doing!
I think in large (excuse the pun) that is one of the reasons why some ladies end up wearing things which are sizes smaller - because let's be honest plus size fashion is more expansive than ordinary wear!!
Just to reiterate as one blogger mentioned: PLUS SIZE doesn't just mean FAT people!!!
@Nwanawamukalaha
How would you know bigger women aren't adventuress? Doesn't mean cause we're larger that we're less enthusiastic about what happens between the sheets. We could surprise you.

Aug 03, 2011 12:13 | 0 replies

Awwwwwu! Prudence come to papa......

Aug 03, 2011 12:17 | 0 replies