Mintel Senior Fashion Analyst Tamara Sender said :
"Rising levels of obesity mean that plus-size consumers are increasing and the shoppers are looking for improved choice. Given the numbers of not just plus-size women, but also men, these consumers can no longer be considered a minority or niche sector and retailers need to wake up to the potential of this market."
Courtesy of Daily Mail
The plus-size market is one of the most lucrative, it is the fastest growing market for fashion chains, it is worth £3.8 billion a year in the UK alone. According to the "Global Purchasing Group"* plus-size clothing for men, women, teens, and children is now a $27 billion business, and it is the biggest untapped market in the fashion industry. Yet despite these monumental numbers, many designers remain unconvinced of plus-sized consumers, and continue to focus on their slimmer consumers. Designer Miuccia Prada said she didn't want to make her clothing past a size 10 because it would make her "clothing look hideous". The limited selection among designer brands, also along with higher prices, has forced many larger women to shop at plus-size chains such as Lane Bryant, Evans, and department stores such as J.C. Penny and Sears.
Plus-sized consumers are treated unjustly, and Ed Gribbin, president of Alvainsight* said:
"One of the biggest challenges is that the plus-size woman doesn't want to be a plus-sized shopper; she wants what her slimmer counterparts have. She doesn't want a separate department with less section and higher prices."
Majority of retailers have failed to meet the needs of the plus-size market, many plus-size consumers are unhappy with the choices available. More than four in ten women size 18 and over believe that plus-size clothes tend to be less fashionable. The Mintel survey says :
"Plus-size women must often make do with 'one-plus-size-fits-all' apparel that is unflattering and/or ill fitting. Nearly half of women responded saying they often buy clothes that are too big in order to fit specific parts of their bodies. Moreover, 43% say stores are often out of their size"
Mintel also found that more than four in ten shoppers are unhappy about the differences that exist from store to store.
However hope may be at hand, as there has been talks that the fashion house of Marc Jacobs will be considering launching a plus-size range start from size 14 upwards. Saks Fifth Avenue has also been in the limelight, as they plan on stocking plus-size designer garments from designers such as Chanel, Armani, Donna Karan and many more.
While the plus-size market has come a long way, it is apparent there is a still a long road ahead, before the plus-size market can be treated and viewed equally as the overall fashion market. As this market continues to thrive, perhaps it will become the most refreshing and sought out industry to date.
* Global Purchasing Group - a clothing buyer for 100 independent specialty stores nationwide.
* Alvainsight - a division of size and fit specialist Alvanon which holds the industry's largest body-scan database.