The Inspirational Force behind Universal Standard: 10 Things You Didn’t Know about Polina Veksler & Alex Waldman

They are the dynamic duo behind Universal Standard – the fastest-growing fashion brand catering to the often-ignored plus-size market. But there’s more to Polina Veksler and Alex Waldman than meets the eye. From their shared passion for size inclusivity to their unique business strategy, here are ten things you didn’t know about Polina Veksler and Alex Waldman.

1. They met through a mutual friend

Polina Veksler and Alex Waldman actually met through a mutual friend in New York City. Despite coming from different industries (Veksler worked in investment while Waldman was in journalism), they immediately bonded over their shared frustration at the lack of stylish, quality clothing for women above size 12. This meeting would eventually lead to the birth of Universal Standard.

Their shared frustrations evolved into an innovative idea and their enduring friendship continues to be a driving force behind Universal Standard’s success. From the beginning, they committed themselves to changing the narrative around fashion and inclusivity, and that mission remains the same today.

2. Their fashion venture started because Waldman couldn’t find a nice outfit

Waldman’s difficulty in finding an elegant outfit that would fit her for an informal event was the light bulb moment for the duo. Frustrated by the limited options available in her size, Waldman shared her concerns with Veksler, which sparked the conversation that ultimately led to the creation of Universal Standard.

This first-hand experience of the gap in the market gave them an insight that became their guiding principle: stylish, accessible fashion should not be a privilege of the smaller sizes. It should be a right for all women, regardless of size.

3. They envisioned to create a clothing line for sizes 00 to 40

Veksler and Waldman created Universal Standard with a simple yet revolutionary concept in mind: produce a clothing line that caters to women of all sizes, specifically sizes 00 to 40. They wanted to shift the fashion world’s perspective and redefine “standard” sizes, hence the name “Universal Standard.”

Their dream has opened up an entirely new segment of the market, with other fashion labels following suit. Their decision to cater to a broader size range has not only generated profit but also promoted inclusivity in the fashion industry.

4. They started with only four products in their line

When Veksler and Waldman first launched Universal Standard, they only had four products in their line, none of which were conventional “fashion” pieces. Instead, they focused on essentials – T-shirts, turtlenecks, tanks, and a shirt dress, aware that these were the basics missing in the wardrobe of most plus-size women.

Their minimalist approach kept their line accessible, and they paid extra attention to the cut, drape, and make of each piece to ensure it would flatter all body shapes and sizes. It was a statement that simplicity does not equate to frumpiness.

5. They developed a groundbreaking exchange program

A unique program Veksler and Waldman introduced is the groundbreaking “Fit Liberty” program. Recognizing that women’s sizes often fluctify, they enabled customers to exchange any piece from the Fit Liberty collection within a year of purchase if they go up or down in size.

This program not only recognizes the ever-changing nature of women’s bodies, but it also helps reduce waste generated by the fashion industry. The returned items are donated to charities, ensuring that every piece continues to serve a purpose.

6. They’ve collaborated with Rodarte

Veksler and Waldman’s mission caught the attention of the legendary fashion brand, Rodarte. They collaborated to create a Limited-edition line that, true to Universal Standard’s mission, was available in sizes 00 to 40.

Brands like Rodarte collaborating with Universal Standard goes to show how Veksler and Waldman are influencing the fashion industry and push for size-inclusivity in haute couture fashion as well.

7. They believe size inclusivity should be the norm, not a trend

For both Veksler and Waldman, size inclusivity isn’t about following a trend; it’s about normalizing a different kind of standard. They believe that fashion should be accessible to everyone, regardless of size, and focus on creating pieces that make women feel fabulous and comfortable.

They continue to challenge the industry and break the norms, demonstrating that size inclusivity is much more than just a trend. Their work is a reminder that every woman deserves to feel beautiful and confident in her own skin.

8. They’ve opened physical stores too

Despite the rise of online shopping, Veksler and Waldman recognize the value of a physical store. They decided to open showrooms in New York and Seattle where women of all sizes could try on their clothes, feel the fabric, and find the perfect fit.

These showrooms provide a safe space for women who often feel excluded and marginalized in regular clothing stores. It’s another step they’ve taken towards making fashion more accessible and inclusive.

9. They’ve discarded traditional mannequin sizes

Veksler and Waldman went a step further in their commitment to size inclusivity and revolutionized the in-store experience by using multiple mannequin sizes, showcasing a more realistic range of body types far from the typical size 2 mannequin.

This bold move once again reflects their ongoing commitment to transforming the fashion industry’s standards, creating a more inclusive, realistic, and accepting scene for women regardless of their size.

10. They have a direct-to-consumer business model

Last but not least, Veksler and Waldman decided to adopt a direct-to-consumer business model for Universal Standard. The brand operates mostly online, allowing them to bypass the traditional retail middleman. They believe it’s the most authentic, efficient, and transparent way to offer their product to all women.

This innovative approach keeps the cost down, allows for a broader customer size range, and enables them to interact directly with their customers, receiving feedback and continually improving their collection based on customer needs and wants.

Polina Veksler and Alex Waldman continue to redefine the rules of fashion. Through Universal Standard, they have created a brand that sees every woman and encourages the industry to do the same. They are the embodiment of innovation, disruption, and, most importantly, inclusion.

You can learn more about Polina Veksler, Alex Waldman, and Universal Standard here: Universal Standard Official Website