The demand for designer clothing to cater for the plus-sized has been increasing over the years. The luxury industry is notoriously known to cater heavily for the opposite end of the scale and at one point alarmingly backing a ‘size 0’.
Within the UK, it is reported the average women’s dress size is a 16, as a result, the plus size market constitutes 12.4% of all clothing sales (telegraph.co.uk) This is no longer a niche need; however, the luxury sector will generally only go up to a size 14 putting plus sizes in the niche bracket with designer labels.
Over the pond, American brands are already ahead of the game catering to the plus-sized through independent boutique brands as well as international brands. Fashion designer Isabel Toledo, who designed Michelle Obama’s 2009 inauguration outfit, says that it is her “duty” to provide fashion to plus sized woman. Other accessible brands such as Christian Siriano and Lane Bryant, collaborating with designer Prabal Gurang, have scaled up their designs to cater to a size 22 for the curvier fit.
Other wider known designers such as Michael Kors have three lines which cater to the plus size market, two that go up to a size 16, or XL, and the third up to a size 24. Although this is not broadly publicised, it is an option available. Ralph Lauren also offer the ‘Lauren Woman’ range which goes up to a size 28. Other brands such as Luxury Italian knitwear brand Missoni also cuts up to a size 16 and Max Mara offering up to a size 20.
Social media has bought about a new voice through the rise of bloggers who often use social platforms such as Twitter and Instagram as a tool to convey their message. As a result, brands are taking to social media to front new campaigns using plus sized models who have a strong following to push the latest ranges in the attempt to reach a wider audience and drive sales.
With 26.8% of women in the UK taking a plus size, according to the NHS Health Survey, the need for more choice is growing at a quicker pace than what the luxury market are catering for. This therefore brings up the question of why are brands not capitalising on this market?
Written by Rubee Variava. Follow the fashion team on Instagram @questfashionlondon.
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