Melissa McCarthy launches a fashion line and calls for the end of separate plus-size departments.

Actress, comedian, and Ghostbuster Melissa McCarthy can add one more talent to her resume — fashion designer.

McCarthy announced her new line, Seven7, an collection of leggings, tees, and denim, each $150 or less, for women sizes 4-28.


Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images for HSN.

For McCarthy, this is more than a typical celebrity clothing line, it's a childhood dream realized.

We know her as a gutsy comedic actress, but McCarthy grew up with a passion for fashion and actually started her career making costumes for a dance company. (Which may explain why she consistently slays on the red carpet. Haters take note.)


McCarthy greets fans at the 84th Academy Awards. Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images.

In her twenties, McCarthy took a chance and moved to New York to attend the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology, but the rush from a few open-mic nights drew her in, and her career path changed for good.

McCarthy at the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards. Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal via Getty Images.

Well, for good ... until now.

In addition to making comfortable clothes and accessories for women, McCarthy is using the launch of her line to break down barriers in the fashion industry.

McCarthy told Womens Wear Daily she's been, "every size on the planet," adding, "...when you go above a size 12, you don't lose your love of fashion."

As champion for body positivity, McCarthy denounced the label "plus-size" in a recent interview with Refinery29:

While current data estimates the percentage of women over a size 14 is closer to 65%, the numbers are still tough to ignore.

In fact, McCarthy is working with retailers to ditch the "plus-size" label and the clothing departments that only sell clothes 35% of the population can fit into for good.

" I have a couple of very big retailers that I think are going to help me chip away at that in a very meaningful way, and I'm really excited about it. I'm not ready to announce them yet, but they agreed to just put me on the floor. I said, 'Run the sizes as I make them and let friends go shopping with their friends. Stop segregating women.' And they said, 'Okay.'"

Ditching separate plus-size stores and departments is a small step that could change the way millions of women shop.

Despite a majority of women falling into "plus-size," it's still hard to find great clothes in a store because many retailers like Gap and H&M only sell their larger sizes online or in outlet malls. Specialty retailers like Lane Bryant and Torrid exist, but there is a stigma associated with shopping there. This leaves many women caught in the middle, with retailers refusing to listen despite the fact "plus-size" women spend more on clothes and accessories per month than their "standard-size" peers.

It's a $9 billion business, and McCarthy's star-power may be what it takes to get retailers to pay attention.



A customer shops at Lane Bryant in New York City. Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Lane Bryant.

McCarthy's Seven7 debuts in August 2015 in major department stores and online retailers.

McCarthy's collection will be available at Nordstrom, Macy's, Bloomingdales, and Lane Bryant and is available right now on HSN.

Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images for HSN.

An affordable fashion line for women of all sizes that's not strictly animal prints and unflattering muumuu tops is definitely something to cheer about.

And judging by the number of sold out pieces, I'm not cheering alone.

Me too. Me too. GIF from "Bridesmaids."

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

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Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

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