Browsing the web for plus size clothing can be ... an interesting experience. Since many retailers only offer their plus size assortment online, these photos are often the only tool we have to determine if that garment is the best option.
Brands like Lane Bryant and IGIGI use plus size models to illustrate the structure and fit of the pieces, while brands like B&Lu and LucieLu display their merchandise on dress forms. At the opposite end of the spectrum, brands like Roaman's and Silhouettes use models considered "plus size" by the modeling industry (which really means they are anywhere from a size 6 to 10) to sell their merchandise.
This affects the way you shop more than you think.
A recent LA Times article examines the hurdles the fashion and retail industry have faced when designing and selling plus-size clothing.
Though it represents the largest population segment, the plus-size market accounts for only 17 percent of sales in the $107-billion women's apparel market, [Marshall] Cohen [chief analyst for NPD] said.
What really contributes to the lack of sales? A recent study claims that 65 percent of the American population is overweight, but if they are only accounting for 17 percent of the clothing sales, something is inherently wrong. While overweight doesn't necessarily mean "plus size," it is a safe assumption to believe that the majority of that 65 percent would be classified as plus. Where are these people purchasing their clothing?
Perhaps mass market brands have yet to understand the plus size consumer's needs. "If you build it, they will come" ... or will they? Entering the plus size market isn't easy, but it's vital that once you create a product, you communicate the availability to the consumer. Key marketing tactics, like shooting campaign or product images with fuller figured women, are paramount.
The plus size community is very supportive of (and sometimes obsessed with) models like Fluvia Lacerda (as seen above on a previous cover of Plus Model Magazine), Mia Amber, and Ashley Graham, whose wide-ranging successes are helping to promote positive images of fuller figured women (and boost sales) everywhere.
Does the model's appearance impact your purchasing decision? Share your thoughts in comments below!
Image via DKNY Jeans