Despite the fact plus size people are often desperate to find beautiful clothes their interests are again infringed!
Fashion options for bigger persons are getting fewer by the day due to economic recession. Well-known brands including Ellen Tracy and Ann Taylor have eliminated or downsized production. Besides, department stores like Bloomingdale‘s have decreased space for the collections or even dropped them.
It’s almost as if certain retailers have said, “I’ll worry about losing these customers later on,” says Andrew Jassin, managing director of retail consultancy Jassin-O’Rourke Group.
Taking into consideration the fact an average American woman weighs 164 pounds and is a size 14, there are so many customers abandoned by retailers. I think this will provoke great discontent in public soon.
However, somehow we can understand the producers. Plus-size lines are expensive to make—as much as 10% more than standard ranges – because they require additional materials and special fit models and patterns.
Besides, like many other consumers, the plus-size customers don’t buy much now. And sales of big sizes (generally 16 and over) fell 8% for the 12 months from the year-earlier period, when the drop was about 4% (the information was provided by trend tracker NPD Group Inc.).
To compare, sales of regular women’s sizes fell only 2% for the last year, while the petite sector had just a slight decline.
They’re really bargain shoppers,” says Catherine Schuller, a plus-size expert and former editor at Mode, a magazine for larger women. “Many are homemakers who can’t spend considerable amounts on clothes and are willing to sacrifice their own spending for their families, especially now”.
Some time ago plus-size fashion industry was very profitable. Many world-famous designers started working in this sphere. Among those were such big names as Tommy Hilfiger and Donna Karan. Even glossy magazines specializing on fashion for plus-sizes appeared, for example, Mode and Figure.
But the tendency of growing interest wasn’t supported by style bibles as Vogue and the fashion began to disappear. Then it worsened again when Liz Claiborne began restructuring two years ago, and the clothier terminated Elisabeth, which focused on plus sizes. Last year, it also closed Sigrid Olsen, a popular line that had a dedicated plus-size collection, and Ellen Tracy was sold as well.
That brand, which is now a division of Fashionology Group, has given up the plus-size business this season due to the lack of orders from upscale retailers as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus for Ellen Tracy’s exit.
[The stores] felt it was not an area they wanted to support,” says Chief Operating Officer Kenneth Ragland.
But we cannot say that there is no future for plus-size industry at all. As a matter of fact many bigger people prefer to do shopping online and this allows retailers to develop business in a virtual way.
Ann Taylor, Banana Republic and Old Navy have moved their larger sizes to e-commerce. Saks still offers six plus-size brands in its stores but suggests more than 20 on its Web site.
And there are still designers who create for the market. For example, Eileen Fisher and Isaac Mizrahi for Liz Claiborne.
Moreover, fast-fashion retailers Forever 21and Target recently began testing plus size divisions which would be aimed at teens and women in their 20s or early 30s.
There’s nothing around that has a hip, cool feel to it,” says model and spokesperson Emme.
“There’s a size category that’s not being satisfied, and that’s the [plus size].”
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