Barrie natives Kayla Alexander, Nicole Murphy and Kesia Alexander have a lot in common — they all grew up with a love of basketball and a loathing for clothing shopping.
For years, Kayla and Kesia, who stand at six-foot-four and five-foot-10 respectively, and their longtime friend Murphy, who stands at six foot tall, have struggled to find clothing that fits them properly. After years of being forced to either shop in the men’s section or make do with pants and shirts that were too short, the trio decided it was time to find a way to help other tall women find fashionable and comfortable clothing that fit them properly.
Murphy told BarrieToday she had finally had enough when out walking her dog last year and being frustrated that her wrists were always cold.
“My pants and sleeves are always too short and I was walking and thinking there’s got to be a better way for us to find clothing that actually fits us,” she says. “I am six foot tall, which is considered 'not that tall' and I can squeeze into most American Eagle jeans, but I thought of Kayla. If I have this problem at six feet tall, I figured she had the issue as well.
"I called her as soon as I got home from that walk," Murphy says.
Ever since that day, they have worked passionately to find a solution to the problem they — and every other tall woman — faces when trying to find properly fitting clothing.
“We didn’t know what the solution was at that time; we just knew it was a big problem that needed to be solved. Growing up as a tall woman, there are a lot of confidence issues that come along with that, so when you are able to find clothes that actually fit you, make you feel good or sexy — or whatever you want to feel — it can really help improve your body issues in general,” Murphy says.
Their first idea was to create their own clothing line, but after a few months of research, they realized their lack of a fashion background would be too big of a hurdle and decided to change direction. They ended up creating an online platform that brings a variety of different sites together where women can shop from directly.
“This way, tall women don’t need to think about it. They just come to TallSize.com and know when they’re shopping with us that (these companies) have been vetted by us and are created specifically for tall women,” Murphy says.
The site, Kayla told BarrieToday from Russia where she's currently playing basketball, is the first ever marketplace designed for tall women to shop clothes and shoes. And the response so far has been overwhelmingly positive, she says.
“They’re discovering new brands they didn’t know existed. I know for me, I absolutely hated shopping. Going back-to-school shopping… I would always come back with a T-shirt or jewelry because I could never find things that fit,” she says. “For tall women to be able to go to a marketplace and discover all these new brands that have fashionable clothes that actually fit them… brings the joy back into shopping.”
The site currently serves Canadian and American shoppers, but they hope to eventually expand to Europe and Australia, Murphy says.
“We’ve been growing steadily month over month, which is great from a business perspective, but I think just the comments we’re hearing from people about how badly this was needed is huge,” she says.
Similar to plus size, the trio wants tall-size clothing to be normalized among retailers, noting their goal is to make shopping accessible and fun for tall women so they can feel beautiful and confident in their own skin.
“Tall women exist and we are out here in the world,” Kayla says. “We want to be fashionable and cute and sexy, too. We have a sense of style and we would like to present ourselves nicely as well, but for whatever reason (the fashion industry) always assumes the bigger or taller you get that means you don’t want fashion.”