Nice Rack! This Plus-Size Market Invites Fashion Lovers to Take Up Space

For sustainable fashion to be truly sustainable, it’s vital that it remains accessible to everyone who wants to engage with it. Sam van Zweden and Chloe Papas are the owners of A Plus Market – a place where “everyone is welcome to take up space”.


We are Sam van Zweden and Chloe Papas. We are advocates and creatives; community-builders and fatties. We are mates, dorks and rascals. We’re people with experience living in plus-size bodies, complete with all the casual unkindness the world can throw at you because of that. And we are people who are committed to taking up space and dismantling outdated ideas of what it means to be fat.

The experience of being ‘sized out’ is so filled with shame. All of a sudden, you simply can’t go shopping at a bunch of places – large shopping centres, in particular, can feel like hostile spaces because there’s simply nothing in your size. Or the only thing available something so hideous you can’t fathom putting it on your body. It’s difficult to feel like fashion is something that’s for you when you’re in a plus-size body – this is something we still grapple with, and know that our community does too. While there are far more options now for young plus-size folks than there were a decade or two ago, it’s still bleak out there. It’s hard to express yourself through fashion or test out different styles when most of your life, you’ve had to take what you were given. That’s why we’re creating spaces where plus-size folks can walk in and always find something – potentially lots of things – in their size.

A Plus Market is for plus-size people, by plus-size people. At our events, plus-size people can buy and sell fashion that fits, hang out with the community, strut the catwalk in our community runway shows, and occasionally jump into a workshop. One punter told us, “The most amazing part about the market was the great, liberating feeling of not taking up too much space. After only a few minutes, I was not self-conscious of my size.”

Over the last couple of years there have been so many standout moments: seeing so many new and old faces on market days; connecting with incredible plus-size folks; hearing stories from people who have found community, friendship and fashion in the spaces we create. We’ve collaborated with arts and culture organisations to spotlight plus-size voices, bodies and fashion. It’s also been fantastic to see local brands increase their size ranges based on the advice they receive from us, and the feedback they get from our market-goers. We’ve seen brands extend up to a size 30, others choose to offer custom sizing and designers begin consulting with our community for the first time.

If the reality of fatphobia feels like an oppressive gravity, we want market days to be moonwalks.

When people visit A Plus events, we hope that they feel safe, powerful and capable. A Plus is an opportunity to let your guard down and simply be – and also be told you’re hot by other babes in bigger bodies, because that’s a likely part of it. It’s really important to us that A Plus spaces – whether they’re in person or online – are inclusive and accessible first, rather than as an afterthought. There are so very many places where the world makes existing in a bigger body difficult already – theatre seating, massage and tattoo tables, almost everything about planes, medical rooms… we could go on forever. So we’re constantly making tweaks when it comes to accessibility, and learning from our community as we go. We look at everything from physical accessibility in our spaces and gender-neutral toilets to ensuring there’s something for all budgets and doing our best to make everyone feel safe and comfy. We just want A Plus spaces to feel effortless. If the reality of fatphobia feels like an oppressive gravity, we want market days to be moonwalks.

Head to Hot Fat Summer, the first A Plus Market of 2024, on Sunday 25th February from 10am-3pm at Coburg Town Hall. You can also check out the details for all upcoming markets on their events page.