In a sharp marketing maneuver, Simpson steered clear of using thin models to promote her denim line. She's also recognized that women with curves historically have had a tougher time finding clothes to accentuate the right parts of their body, Lutz says.
By some accounts, the plus-size women's clothing market is worth $26 billion -- and few designers have tapped into it. In other words, the plus-size market is a wide open field for designers because a growing number of women wear a size 14 or larger, Lutz adds.
Simpson isn't the only one who has caught on to this opportunity. Dove recently made headlines using "real" women sizes 6 and up in a national advertising campaign designed to sell products from its collection of lotions and creams meant to reduce the appearance of cellulite. The ads have been so eye-catching -- simply for avoiding the use of standard, but twig-like figures -- that other companies like Nike and Glamour magazine have started using real-size women, too.
So Simpson may not have known that Chicken of the Sea tuna is made from fish and not chickens, but she certainly seems to know how to make a buck.
"As fat people, we go into a store and say, `I want to wear a pair of jeans,'" says Andi Bray, a New York member of the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance. "If I can't find my size on the rack, am I supposed to buy a couple pairs and sew some jeans together myself? I don't think it matters who makes it. She's a beautiful girl. I think it's wonderful that someone so popular is acknowledging people of different sizes."