Twenty years ago (or even fifteen if we’re being honest) the sheer visibility and inclusion of plus size fashion and models into the mainstream was virtually unheard of. There are so many things to be proud of in terms of just how far we have come in the plus size fashion world, but as with anything, there is always room for improvement.
Thankfully, more and more brands and retailers are extending sizes, producing more modern designs and featuring plus size models of various body types—this is a step in the right direction, but it’s certainly not the end of the road.
But as plus size fashion draws the eye of mainstream media, it is important that as we grow into a 14 billion industry, that plus size brands and retailers understand what we are still pining for and what we need, and to help, we have a few places where these brands can start!
Here are a few ways that Retailers & Brands Can Knock it out of the park for 2018
- Give Us Diversity in Model Representation with Sizes, Shapes, and Race
For every celebratory plus size swimwear collection or plus size lingerie line, there is a plus size retailer that only favors plus-size women who have an hourglass shape, while ignoring those with apple or triangle physiques, for example. Gwynnie Bee and Kiyonna do a great job of showcasing a variety of plus size women.
ALSO, instead of adding sizes below 14, they should add sizes above a 3X to at least a 32 and feature more women of color to be the face of campaigns and clothing lines. Going to a 4X/5X should be the norm- not the exception. Contrary to popular belief, we do love to get dressed, and some of us do not let our size dictate our style… but we need options!
- Don’t be scared! Add Style Variety, Take Risks
It seems like when a trend is hot, some retailers will ride it until the seams fall off. Many plus size retailers design and sell the same styles repeatedly, including popular styles like bodycon dresses, cold-shoulder tops, slashed denim or bodysuits. While we love a great staple, we do need variety in style, color, and print.
You want to affect your bottom line? Head into 2018 with an outlook that strives to provide plus size customers with fashion forward clothing that celebrates all facets of the plus size silhouette and avoid operating in the extreme, i.e. clothing that is overly sexy or overly dowdy.
Give us structure, shape, innovative silhouettes and have a little fun with it! Do no water the style down. Paired with fuller plus size models, we can see how these items will look o nus and will be inspired to buy.
- Make Sure Mainstream PR Companies Know and Respect the Plus Size Media That Exists
Additionally, listen to and collaborate with more plus-size fashion bloggers, influencers, and media is a step in the right direction, as they often have their eyes to the pulse of what’s going on in the real world and know what we want—not what retailers think they need.
While it is nice for plus size fashion to be included in mainstream media, we default to the media that has built up the industry- the plus size media. The Curvy Fashionista happens to be one of the plus size media brands who has their finger on the pulse, but there are sooo many plus size blogs PR can engage and get to know. Not only with clothing, too!
- Be Present in Local and National Plus-Size Events
Make your presence known in the New Year by getting out and supporting your local plus-size community. Attend local events, connect with influencers and bloggers within your area, while also supporting the bigger events on a national level. This is not only a great means of support, but it’s also an easy way to network if you are looking to collaborate with others. You cannot assume that everyone knows your brand, where you are located, or if you even care about the community… Get out and say hi!
There is more plus size inclusion than ever before and if we as a plus size community want to keep it that way, we have to firmly, loudly and repeatedly demand what it is that we need more of… Right? Right.
Tell us ladies, what do you think plus-size retailers can do to make your shopping experience better? What are some of your favorite brands that always get it right?
Let us know in the comments!