"Plus-Size" to Dominate 2016 Retail Market: How retailers are going to slice the Plus-Size Pie
The term "plus-size" carries with it a certain stigma in the beauty and fashion industry. Plus-size modeling has really only shown notable growth within the last 10 years when agencies started to exclusively represent plus size models. And it wasn't until last year that we saw the fashion industry make strides to cast several plus-size models and they took to the NYFW catwalk. We saw Project Runway's contestant Ashley Nell Tipton showcase her plus-size collection and Sophie Theallet and Marc Jacobs sent Candice Huffine and Beth Ditto down the runway. So with 2015 being one of the biggest years for plus-size women its no wonder the retail market took notice and we are seeing a large shift in what stores will have to offer in 2016.
As a staggering majority, 67% of women in the US are considered to be plus-size (which by the way is size 12-24) they have been overshadowed by straight-size models and clothing for decades. With a majority like that you would assume that retailers would have seen this as a great target market. And yet we come to find that if you head to your average department store most often it will take you a while to hunt down the "plus-size" selection of clothing they have to offer. Brick-n-mortar locations who carried a plus size selection would historically replace it as soon as other products such as accessories, shoes or bags starting driving higher sales.
"The fashion world’s refusal to acknowledge this important and growing consumer segment potentially means billions of dollars are potentially being left on the retail table."
So what's caused the retail industry to take notice and act? You have. The voices of many women pleading for more options. This market of women have been ignored for years and instead been told, "shoes and handbags always fit". With a limited selection of clothing to choose from which included only a boxy, oversized fit its no wonder women stuck to purchasing handbags and jewelry. But these women aren't just pleading for more options they are asking for equality. With social movements such as #PlusIsEqual and #ImNoAngel created by Lane Bryant the word is spreading that women should love their bodies no matter what size we are. And instead of just focusing on encouraging women to loose weight, instead lets love our bodies as they are...right now regardless of the size it says on the label.
“There’s certainly a market that’s just waking up, and instead of telling people to lose weight, the message is love yourself the way you are.” says CEO Gerard Guez of Sunrise Brands
Lane Bryant has been pivotal in cultivating this dramatic shift - encouraging women to 'reclaim' the plus-size term and making it a positive. With the support of many social influencers, actors, and advocates the plus-size women no longer needs to live in shame of their bodies and will have far more options that fit, are flattering and may just help her feel sexy in her own skin. Actresses such as Melissa McCarthy and Rebel Wilson have stepped and created their own lines to give more options to plus-size women.
Shop Plus-Size clothing right now:
- Lane Bryant; fun & sophisticated choices
- Seven7 (line by Melissa McCarthy)
- Ashley Graham x Addition Elle; women's lingerie line with busts starting at 36DD
- Torrid; (Actress Rebel Wilson supported) features juniors clothing size 12-24
- Ava & Viv (collection for Target); features extended sizing sold in stores and all under $100
- ModCloth (online retailer); retailer reworked their entire site to feature all sizes together
- Eloquii; fast fashion apparel for sizes 14-24
With many other retailers and designers hoping to join the ranks and with an estimated market value of $20B in 2016 plus-size women will have more options. And as retailers continue to tap into the Plus Size movement and creating an emotional connection with their audience we will continue to see this empowering voice be heard.
Business Insider : "Retailers Can't Ignore 100 Million Plus-Size American Women Forever" ; written by Margaret Bogenrief
Glamour Fashion : "Plus-Size Models Had More Than a Moment During Fashion Month, and It's About Time" ; written by Lauren Chan
Bloomberg Business : "Retailers Are Rethinking Plus-Size Fashion, Stylish shoppers are driving the push." written by Lindsey Rupp
American Marketing Association : "Lane Bryant: Creating a Body Positive Customer Experience" ; written by Vinita Bijur, Regina Muggenburg, Jeannette Stiles, Jacqueline Tsekouras and Elise Whittington