Universal Standard, the popular size-inclusive fashion brand known for its elevated minimalist essentials and industry shattering 00 to 40 size offering, recently renovated their Belltown-based showroom (2228 First Ave.; 206.403.1818) to focus more on one-on-one customer service and community. This new concept, called 1:1, is built around the idea of fostering positive energy, which is fitting for a brand that creates clothing for all women and has denounced the era of plus-sized fashion. Shoppers can book private style appointments and group shopping experiences with a trained stylist who is “on your side” as co-founder Alexandra Waldman puts it. In addition, Universal Standard hopes that the light-filled, stylish showroom will be a space for the community to explore their own interests, with monthly programming and local community events.
The showroom, the entrance to which is nestled between Umi Sake House and the Amber Bar, features curated displays of the fashion brand’s clothing (that generally retails between $35 to $190 per piece). Waldman says that customers will not only be able to purchase but also try on clothing in the brand’s wide range of sizes, made possible by Universal Standard’s micro-grading technique. “Most brands will fit their samples to a size 4 model and grade up and down from there,” says Waldman. This industry practice results in unproportionate clothing that is unflattering, especially for women who wear a size 16 and above, which, as Waldman notes, is 70% of American women. Instead, Waldman and her partner Polina Veksler carefully fit their designs to each size that they sell, which means that commonly inconsistent fit nuances, such as jacket hemlines and armholes diameters, contour to the body in the way that flatters the wearer.
The formula seems to be working. According the Waldman, Universal Standard is growing 200% year over year and plans to have over 20 1:1 concept showrooms by next year. Universal Standard was launched four years ago with an eight-piece collection (it sold out in six days) and has since garnered critical acclaim for challenging the fashion industry’s lackadaisical attitude toward larger sizes and courting notable investors such as the founders of Net-a-porter, Soul Cycle and actress Gwenyth Paltrow. Waldman, a former fashion journalist who sat down with Seattle magazine ahead of the opening on July 19, says that the idea for the 1:1 concept emerged out of conversations with VIP clients at private dinners that Universal Standard hosted, where they noticed a community forming between women who were wearing their clothes.