There is a tug of war right now in plus size fashion. On one hand you have articles touting the spending power and untapped market of the plus size shopper and on the other hand, you have articles like the one Fashionista penned this past week, highlighting the woes of advertising, media, and the plus size woman.
Which had all of us here, thinking.
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Call it disrespect, a willful ignorance, or a purposeful slight. But all of these apply one time or another coming from the marketing and media side of things. Yes, we have designers who refuse to make clothes bigger than a size 10 or 12- I am not talking about those…
We have designers and retailers who make plus-sizes but SOMEHOW forget or choose NOT to promote them. No plus size on their respective sites, no inclusion in their campaigns, no sight seen of plus in their advertisements. These are the same retailers that wonder why their plus-size lines aren’t flying off the shelves…
It doesn’t make sense to me. It raises all kinds of questions…
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Photo from Fashionista.com via Madison Select
Old Navy does commercials regularly and they are usually memorable. But, you won’t find a plus size model in them modeling their plus-size line. Target runs ads everywhere yet again no plus-size mentions. Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, I seriously could go on…
I have only seen one other company run commercials- One Stop Plus… YEP.
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Do you remember the Ashley Graham and Lane Bryant commercial? Back in 2010, ABC refused to air Lane Bryant’s tasteful lingerie ad saying it “bared too much cleavage”, but Victoria’s Secrets’ racy ads can be shown all day. Too much cleavage? This to me is code for too fat.
Magazines are slowly attempting to include plus-size clothing in their pages, but magazines like Marie Claire and InStyle dedicate one measly page to this- although this is a gracious start. Essence Magazine is the only magazine I’ve come across that does a decent job of including a more diverse array of models throughout its issues.
This in part is why it is important to support your Plus Model Magazine, Daily Venus Diva, Volupt2, Slink, Dare Magazine, and Pose Magazine among other plus size magazines AND Plus Size Fashion Blogs delivering plus size fashion…
Photo from Simply Be
What do you think? If you saw more plus size fashion in ads, commercials and in mainstream magazines, how would this affect you?
i adore magazines, online media and shopping. The only thing i love more is clothing. My children are raised and i spend more of our expendable income on clothing than my husband would prefer that i did. I’m a 50 year old heavy woman. As it is, i score media for new and interesting outfits, follow ads to websites and follow links from there, searching out something interesting, new and different. I say ADVERTISE! If someone doesn’t want to see it, they turn the page, scroll down or what have you. I have look through merchandise aimed at them to find what i want, all my life!
Two snaps! Hopefully we can see change happen here as well! 🙂
I probably would look to purchase more; however, that being said, I would like to see plus-size clothing on models larger than a size 12-14 who aren’t 6 feet tall and perfectly proportioned, just larger than what fashion says is “normal.” Some of us are short, round and not perfectly proportioned. I can’t judge how an outfit will look on me from the models generally used and I live out in the sticks so have to order most everything. Yes, the plus-size companies should advertise! A lot of women are still buying clothes in Walmart because they think that’s all there is. How are they to know if the companies don’t advertise their wares? And why make them and not try to sell them? That’s ridiculous business sense. You mention Target. Target has the crappiest and smallest large-sized department of any of the major retailers.
Baby steps… I suppose… 🙂 And yessss to Target, I sooooooo want them to be and do better!
Target makes me so mad! I’ve sent them several ranting emails over the years.
There are so many issues in the plus size industry that I simply do not understand. I do not understand why plus size brands (who can afford to advertise) and retailers do not take the time to or put any effort in advertising their plus size collections. I do not understand how that could be a good business strategy. How do they expect to make any money from the “untapped market.” It’s just unbelievable.
For example, Calvin Klein has made a noticeable change in what is offered to the plus sized customer, but was there any advertisement or promotion of this change anywhere? No. So, what can they expect when all of those beautiful items end up on the clearance rack. I just don’t get it.
My question is what can we do as bloggers and consumers to make a change in how the plus size community is treated?
I think what we have been doing is forcing the conversation… as more and more have the platform or traditional media, we use that to address certain issues and shed light on the positives within the community… We are trying!
I definitely agree! I’m confused as to what it will take to get them to wake up and take notice.
I mean for reals…
This drives me crazy. Some of the lingerie suppliers that sell lingerie up to 4x and 6x have NO images of their products on plus size models. How can I sell or advertise that I sell 6x lingerie and ONLY have images of women in a size 8? Maddening!
It is an interesting one, I tell you!
The Wet Seal near me put plus size clothes in their store and then took then out citing poor sales. The thing is that whenever I went in there they had it hidden on two small racks with barely any advertisement.
I never knew Wet Seal sold plus sized clothes.
There are so many catch-22’s here. Mainstream companies hear about all of this disposable income and the huge potential for a plus size market, but as of yet, it’s not been “proven” because the big retailers are just dabbling. 2 T-racks in a store does not constitute an effort to provide plus size clothes (talking to you, H&M, Target, Wet Seal, etc). They are scared to spend the millions needed to advertise in mass media to get the exposure needed, yet they’re the only ones with the cash flow to be able to do this. So then the lines fail and they conclude that this whole plus size market is bull and they exit (hello eloquii).
On the flip side, the niche players who are actually creating plus fashion lines get reamed by consumers for being too expensive. Yet unless they charge those prices, they will never be able to sustain (and further more, scale) their lines. Forget about traditional advertising. That’s pipe dreams. I’m in this predicament right now as I am working on a line (can’t talk too much) and to think about being able to get any sort of mainstream media out of it makes me break out in hives – the money required to really do a huge scale launch is so far out of most designers reach that we get stuck in this perpetual cycle.
If you were right in front of me, I would hug you. HUG YOU.
This right here.
Everyone wants to see themselves represented. I take pride in looking fashionable, but it makes me a bit sad when I am frequently asked almost as if the person is surprised & shocked, “Where do you buy your clothes?” Lack of advertising plays a large part and why people are surprised that a grown woman who happens to be fuller figured wear fashionable attire.
I think there is a concept that if you ignore it will go away. The plus size market is seen as a necessity because there is a demand for it but I think brands still see it through “Abercrombie goggles” that it may taint their reputation. In terms of sales, obviously if no one knows about it how can they buy it? I know Wet Seal advertises plus size online, but I plus size girls like to try on their clothes too before they purchase it and not have to lose the 10 dollars they spent on shipping and handling when things don’t fit right.
It takes a community to see equality in beauty and go beyond industries giving us the materials we “need.”
I’m bothered by the fact that I can’t see clothes I want to buy before I buy them. I don’t get inspired by what I do see out there..”Lucky” magazine shows clothes for thin people, Vogue shows clothes for thin people..even “More” and similar more “real” magazine rarely show plus sized clothes..and when they do, they make a huge big deal of it and it’s only a few pages! If half of American women are over a size 12, how come all we see is size 4-6? As for Victoria’s Secret and Lane Bryant…I used to work for Victoria’s Secret. I modeled for them and then I worked for marketing. I will tell you this: back in the day, they did have some chubby models. It wasn’t about being stick thin with enormous breasts. And they did feature more ample women in their advertising in the store. It was when they began marketing to 12 year olds that they changed. The plus sized woman is actually a woman, not a child, and this doesn’t agree with the way marketers want women to think. I’d love to see ads for places like Macy’s or Nordstroms–large department stores-on television, selling their plus sized lines. As it stands, one must go in the store or online and guess what things look like. I could go on and on about this topic!
Thank you so much for sharing the exact same frustrations and reiterating the issues that make it difficult for the community… I think this conversation we have more and more will eventually help affect change… I hope.
This is a good post! I wish these people would stop being afraid to advertise with us. There is nothing wrong with using a plus model. This shows how long society has to come when it comes to accepting bodies that look like typical moms, aunts, daughters and sisters. This is typically why I don’t even go into malls anymore unless it’s lane bryant. I guess i’ll never understand why these brands are being so chicken to expand.
Yeahhh this ish doesnt make sense to me…
Lately I’ve been shopping QVC, almost ever item goes to 3x, and on the live shows they generally have several models in various sizes and one is almost alway a true plus size.
YEP! I love seeing these shows because of this point exactly! 🙂
I am always surprised not to see Asos Curve in the ASOS newsletters.
Great post…sharing it with my Curvy Girl community now 🙂
I have been puzzling over this myself…how can the fashion marketing world afford to ignore half of the female population? Do they really believe that we all want and need to shop at Wal-mart? Do they think they will lose their skinny shoppers if they admit to associating with plus size? Really? I shakes my head.
I hear so often that there’s ‘no demand’ for stylish plus size clothes and therefore it would be a waste of money to advertise for them–but I can’t go a day without reading about the ‘obesity epidemic.’ so wait–everyone’s fat, but fat people don’t need clothes? Something isn’t right.
Old Navy is the worst. I NEVER knew they sold plus size clothes because they don’t sell them in store, and I just happened to hear from a friend that they sold them online. I’m not just going to periodically walk into stores that don’t sell plus size clothes and see if they changed their minds.
This is what bothered me about the demise of Eloquii. No one knew it existed because it wasn’t advertised at all–and then their excuse for going under is there wasn’t enough demand? How can there be demand for something no one knows exists? ARGH!!
The Old Navy near me has a Plus section and carries up to size 18 in their stores. For sizes 20 and up you have to go online, but they advertise this on literally every single door in the fitting rooms. It says “Can’t find your size? Check out OldNavy.com for additional styles, sizes and sales!”
Also, Old Navy runs big by at least one size. I can always wear at least one size down, sometimes two, if I shop at Old Navy. When I was 18 I could wear their 14, now that I’m a 10 I can comfortably wear an Old Navy 8. Old Navy isn’t “the worst”, they do a lot of vanity sizing, but unless you’re severely obese, they’ve got clothes, in store, that will fit most people.
It’s nice that they advertise on the doors of the dressing rooms but that isn’t enough. A woman who wears a size 26 isn’t in Old Navy stores because they don’t carry her size and she knows it. I don’t know a single plus size woman who doesn’t wear a size that overlaps with the misses range (14, 16, or maybe an 18) who routinely sets foot in a store that doesn’t carry plus sizes. Since she’s likely to be snickered at, stared down, and still not find anything to fit, why on earth would she? If she’s shopping for a husband, kids, skinny friend or whatever then she has no reason to be in the dressing room because she isn’t trying anything on.
Advertising plus sizes inside a store that is known not to carry actual plus sizes is exactly the same as not advertising.
Yeah so, there are at least two brands that I had no idea did plus size until I read the comments below, and I usually think of myself as savvy on what brands do and don’t. So I believe they should send you cheques for advertising ’cause they just might have a new customer (if they ship over the border.) 😉 Yes its seemingly true that the best form of
advertising is word of mouth, but they need to first inform those who talk a bunch that there’s something to talk about. *facepalm*
This quietly placing plus size clothes in the back trend that I keep reading about just seems like they want to fail. They want to prove there isn’t a demand for such clothes. If they can’t sell the clothes through all the obstacles they throw at us for them, then they can turn around as say, “Oh there’s no market for these.”
And to answer your questions, it would affect my bank account ’cause I would finally know where I can spend my money. 😉
I’ve been heading a project OFFERING a group of us “Plus Sized” ladies to feature their designs on our bodies and blogs and the response has been like pulling teeth!
I’m an avid shopper and half of the companies I have contacted I myself didn’t know they carried Plus Size clothing.
I will continue to head projects to bring more media out to us all and hope that somehow it will be much more flowing soon.
This is why I support you and many other bloggers, models, ROLE MODELS and magazines that have been dedicating their work to us Plus Size Goddesses.
Much Love to you and them!
well in Italy even brands who specialize in plus sizes never use plus size models, their models are not more than 1 size bigger than average models, sometimes they even fear working/collaboraing with plus size bloggers wearing more than a us size 18. On the other hand some wonder why the few plus size bloggers who post their outfits are really appreciated, the fact is that plus size people here don’t have any other example of pictures of a plus size body wearing plus size clothes.
My frustration is I wear 34/36 , thinner /toned arms, 5’8″ tall, 51 and love fashion and style. Trying to find something that doesn’t look like I am ready for Bingo or Bowling is a pain ! I read all the fashion magazines, show mostly online, but i still want to see a beautiful cashmere sweater in 5x, or tailored jackets that arms are not same size as my leg. I will dream , but your blog makes me have hope.
This is so true. I can’t tell you how many stores or brands I’ve come across that have a plus-size selection but never advertise it. Like, hello?! We want to know where you guys are? Also, some major plus-size retailers do a measly job of advertising. I still believe this is why Eloquii never made it which is so sad because I liked a lot of their stuff.