We consistently hear about a lack of plus-size models and clothing within the industry. What if the problem and answer to this situation started at the bottom of the design chain, with students?

Emme, the world’s first plus-size supermodel, started an inclusive educational program entitled “Fashion Without Limits.” Emme’s alma mater Syracuse University will offer coursework to teach design students how to create clothes for curvy women.

Retailers are missing out on $12-14 billion per year in sales from plus-size customers, Emme told Business Insider after working with market analyst Marshal Cohen. She believes it is due to a lack of designers who know how to create plus-size clothing.

“No longer is it one full-figured cut fits all,” Emme told Mashable. “We have to go to the initial place where you learn how to sew and how to drape and how to create patterns.”

Emme Competition Winner Nicole Wezowicz with Gown CVPA

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“Why don’t we include the forms of 16, 18 and 22, so that when a designer graduates college they’re that much more desirable to manufacturers,” she asks.

The program, which was initially planned for Kickstarter, allows students in their junior year to choose to work with a size 12-and-above dress form or size 12-and-below form. For individuals who choose to work with bigger forms, Fashion Without Limits holds a competition and names an Emme fashion award winner.

“This was the first time that fashion design students ever got their hands on a form that was above a size 6,” Emme says about the first year of the program.

Even more students signed up when they understood the vast opportunities when one graduates with a different type of skill set. “They realized, ‘I am going to get a better opportunity to work with with the manufacturer,’” she says.

Syracuse University is making a statement by being one of the only schools to draft up an all-inclusive program, Emme says. “This is a really visible first step to having design schools ask their own questions: What are we doing or not doing for our students?”

Emme hopes that once design students are fully educated, the problems within the plus-size industry will begin to be fixed. “With this effort in the educational process, we will then have more options for fashion opportunities, more offering within the fashion industry.”

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