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It's the same story at Acqua Rosa, a conventional swimwear toms for cheap label that added a plus-size line in 2008. Now, plus-size purchases account for more than 70 per cent of the brand's total sales, said director Joao Macedo.
It makes sense. For centuries, large swaths of Brazil were beset by malnutrition, and in 1970, nearly 10 per cent of the population in the country's poor, rural northeast region was considered underweight, according to Brazil's national statistics institute. Sun worshippers: Business for plus-size brands, such as Lehona, are cashing in on a lucrative market that high-end bikini-makers are too snobby to attract
But the phenomenal economic boom that has lifted tens of millions out of poverty and into the burgeoning middle class over the past decade has also changed the nation's once-svelte physique.
A 2010 study by the statistics institute showed that 48 per cent of adult women and 50 per cent of men are now overweight. In 1985 those figures were 29 per cent for women and 18 per cent for men.
(Still, there's been no rash of plus-size male swimwear lines, as men here wear Speedo-style suits that don't impinge on big guts.)
Analysts attribute Brazil's rapidly widening girth to changes in nutrition, with chips, processed meats and sugary soft drinks replacing staples like rice, beans and vegetables.
Despite their growing numbers, not everyone is eager to embrace 'gordinhas' - or 'little fatties' - as chunky women are affectionately known in Brazil
And while the country's elite are widely known to be fitness freaks - and also discount toms shoes among the world's top consumers of cosmetic surgery - those recently lifted out of poverty and manual labor are becoming increasingly sedentary. A 2008 study showed that barely 10 per cent of Brazilian teens and adults exercise regularly.
Still, despite their growing numbers, not everyone is eager to embrace 'gordinhas' - or 'little fatties' - as chunky women are affectionately known here.
Many high-end bikini-makers have turned a seemingly deliberately blind eye to the burgeoning plus-size market. Rio-based upmarket brand Salinas, for example, offers five sizes, from extra-small through extra-large. But their sizing runs notoriously small and it's hard to imagine anyone over a U.S. size 6 actually managing to fit into any of the brand's minuscule two-pieces.Luis Rebelatto of Lehona chalked it partially up to snobbery.
'Some brands, they don't want their image to be associated with chunky women,' he said. 'Only the thin, the rich and the chic.'
While Brazilians' increasing heft is a public policy preoccupation for the government, growth in the ranks of the overweight population has given them increased visibility in Brazilian society. Extra-wide bucket seats for the obese have been installed in Sao Paulo's metro system, and on Sunday the city toms shoes outlet hosted Brazil's first ever Miss Plus Size beauty contest.
'It used to be that people would stare at me,' said Soares, the voluptuous sun-worshiper on Copacabana beach. 'Now when I come to the beach I see women who are much bigger than me - and lots of them are wearing bikinis - so I'm not self conscious any more.'God makes some people thin but he made me like this,' she said, rubbing down the well-oiled bulge of her stomach and thighs.


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Russell Brand is set to make mens north face jackets up to £20million from his divorce from wife Katy Perry, according to reports.
The comedian is in line for the huge lump sum in a 50/50 split of the couple's earnings even after just 14 months of marriage.
Brand, 36, and Perry, 27, didn't sign a pre-nuptial agreement when they married in October 2010 so under Californian law, he could be entitled to half of her fortune.
In line for a fortune: Russell Brand, seen here arriving at a London law firm on Saturday, could make up to £20m from his divorce from Katy Perry
Brand announced on Friday that the couple’s marriage was over after they spent Christmas apart and his lawyers filed divorce papers at Los Angeles Superior Court citing ‘irreconcilable differences’ between the pair who met at the MTV Music Awards in September 2009.
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Speaking to the Daily Star on Sunday outside The Savoy Hotel in London yesterday, he said: 'I’m doing good. Everything is going to be better next year.'
Dressed in a grey jumper and leather jacket, the star made a low-key exit from the hotel with his face hidden by dark sunglasses and a woollen hat.
Legal advice: Russell kept his eyes hidden behind dark glasses as he arrived at the law firm
Were you surprised about Russell Brand and Katy Perry's divorce?Yes - they made a lovely couple No - it had been brewing for some time VOTE POLL RESULTS
Close All polls Click to view yesterday's poll results On Saturday he was seen arriving at a law office in London through its rear entrance before he checked into the hotel.
The Star reported that according to Forbes Magazine, Perry is north face jackets for cheap worth £28million, a fortune that industry insiders said has rocked recently to at least £45million due to her non-stop touring and commercial ventures.
Brand, in contrast, has a net worth of about £11million from his stand-up tours and a string of movies including Get Him To The Greek and the remake of the Dudley Moore film Arthur.
Divorce money: Russell could be entitled to half Katy's earnings under Californian law
Other reports have hinted that Brand and Perry threatened each other with divorce several times recently after a string of arguments.
A former aide of the pair told the paper: 'I believe the filing of this divorce was as childish as many of their arguments. It was a case of "I’m dumping you before you can dump me", a total pride thing.
'I don’t think Russell liked that Katy was the bigger star. He’d pick her to pieces over the most trivial things.'
Hiding away: Brand is back in London and has been staying at the Savoy Hotel.
And website TMZ reported today that although the couple were north face 2012 completely in love when they married, the honeymoon period didn't last long.
The celebrity news site claimed that a source said the bickering between them started not long after they tied the knot and while Brand is more of a homebody, having given up his partying ways many years ago, Perry loved going out and they would row when he wanted to leave an event early. Miles apart: Many suspected the couple were having problems when Katy spent the Christmas break in Hawaii without her husband


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A few years ago she hit varsity jackets for girls the headlines for losing two stone in four months, but this time Mica Paris has lost weight a different way.
The 42-year-old was showing off her newly slimmer figure again today at Bluewater shopping centre - but it wasn't just healthy eating and exercise that she used to shed two stone.
The singer is a walking advertisement for XLS Medical Fat Binder - the first natural over-the-counter weight loss aid to be clinically proven.
Shedding the pounds: Mica Paris looked slimmer today (L) compared to back in October (R) as she launched XLS Medical Fat Binder - the first natural over-the-counter weight loss aid
On the day when over 2.5 million people in the UK begin their New Year diet, Mica was showing off her size 12 figure - which she achieved in three months - and proved to the public that they too can slim down.
'Like most women my age, I often found it difficult to lose that last bit of weight but XLS-Medical gives me a helping hand and even makes me feel fuller for longer,' she said.
More...Yummy mummy! Myleene Klass shows varsity jackets for men
varsity jackets off her famous bikini body as she holidays in Barbados with her two daughters
No sign of the January blues: Gary and Danielle Lineker look happy and relaxed as they stroll on a beach in St Barts
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Wearing a short sleeved bright pink dress, Mica obviously wanted to stand out from the crowd.
Keeping the weight off: In 2009 the mother-of-two slimmed down to a size 12 by cutting out alcohol and upping her exercise regime
The mother-of-two teamed the garment with a pair of black tights and sky-high stilettos as she posed with her hand on her hip.
Mica was keen to point out that although she has yo-yo dieted in the past, she wouldn't try just any slimming method.
'Unlike a lot of other weight loss products out there, XLS-Medical has been clinically proven to help you lose up to three times more weight than if you were dieting alone,' she added.
Yo-yo dieter: Back in 2008 there was a noticeable difference in Mica's weight throughout the year
Mica - who released her debut album in 1988 - has been very cheap varsity jackets for men honest in the past about her battle with her weight and while presenting What Not To Wear, she was touched by the stories of many women who appeared on the show.This led to the release of her book Beautiful Within: Finding Happiness and Confidence in Your Own Skin which was released in 2008.
A year later, Mica revealed that she had slimmed down again but did so by cutting out alcohol and upping her exercise regime.
'I’ve had a fair few nasty comments from people in the industry but I don’t let that get to me and know starving myself doesn’t work in the long-term,' she said.
Battling her weight: Mica looked curvier in 2005 (L) and at the beginning of 2006