Alexandra Waldman used to work as a fashion journalist. But as a plus-sized woman, she often felt left out of the fashion industry.
"I was paid to tell people about trends, but I wasn't allowed to participate myself," she said. Plus-sized fashion is often fast fashion, she said. "The fit is terrible, and the style is often one to two years behind trend."
That's part of what led her to create Universal Standard, a fashion line catering to women wearing sizes 10 to 28. As part of Universal Standard's two-year anniversary, the line is taking a 12-city road trip, landing in Houston this weekend. Their pop-up shop will be open Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Texas Wine School.
"A lot of women in double digits prefer to shop online," Waldman said. The road trip is a way for her and her co-founder Polina Veksler to meet some of their customers in person. "We wanted to see who our customers are in a human way and not just behind the screen."
The pop-up shop will include the brand's full collection of minimalist-chic clothing and accessories, as well as some items that aren't available online yet. Much of the line is reasonably priced, with several items under $100.
Knowing that many of their customers find them online, one of Universal Standard's goals is to make shopping as obstacle-free as possible, Waldman said. That includes things like free shipping and returns and exemplary customer service.
It's also the idea behind the brand's Universal Fit Liberty program.
"We started to see that women were having this contentious relationship with the woman in the mirror," she said. "They either bought a size too small or wouldn't buy at all. We want you to buy for the woman in the mirror."
The Fit Liberty Program gives customers a year to exchange items for a different size in the event of weight loss or gain. Those returned items are then laundered and donated to organizations like Dress for Success, which often have trouble sourcing plus-sized clothing, Waldman said.
"They're really good quality clothes so they have more than one life."
Universal Standard Model Search & Pop-Up, Saturday, October 14 and Sunday, October 15, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Texas Wine School, 2301 Portsmouth St.