Sunday, 10 August 2014

Why are brands not promoting their plus size lines?

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Last week I ordered some bits from H&M home for the new flat, and when receiving my package inside was a new season catalogue, another great way to entice me in to spending more of my money. There is something so enjoyable about flipping through a magazine or catalogue and building an imaginary basket of things you want in your head, most of which you will never buy but still a girl can dream aye? As I was flicking through the pages I stacked up a large amount of things that I would love to have for Autumn, gorgeous boots, sweaters, shirts, leather jackets. Bummer for me that most if not all sadly wouldn't fit me. Don't worry this isn't what this post is about, having things not avaalible in my size is something that I am used to, trust me.  That said the fashion industry has come on leaps and bounds to providing fashionable trend led plus size clothing lines. Some of my favourites being New Look Inspire, Boohoo Plus, Simply Be and ASOS Curve. My question is why don't some of these brands choose to promote these lines more?

In the H&M catalogue full of 200+ pages of items only four were dedicated to their plus size range, as small as four pages is, this is still good to see, the pages included editorial images on models which I think is always helpful providing visual inspiration is key for me. Personally I'm not the biggest fan in general of the range, in my opinion the collections have always been a little dated, it's mostly made up of  basic clothing items such as jeans, tees and skirts but little on great print, different shapes or trend led fashion pieces. That said I really do like the printed logo sweater which you can see below. As for in store displays I feel very little effort is put on visual merchandise, the Regent street store being prime example of this. The last time I visited, the plus size section was on the lower ground and felt hidden away in a corner, nothing really caught my attention because, it all kind of blended together. I wasn't inspired or drawn to anything which is really kind of rubbish and often leaves you feeling rather deflated when surrounded by great items on other floors that are bright, and innovative. 

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Which brings me swiftly on to ASOS curve, a brand whose items are innovative, bright and inspiring. Curve is perhaps my favourite plus size brand because they sell trend led items, great prints on different styles from t-shirt dresses, playsuit, dungarees all the way to body cons. They are doing it right and I would happily give them my money. ASOS also happens to send out a monthly magazine, it is my favourite thing to read on my way to work full of great editorials, features of beauty, accessories items, great articles featuring bloggers from all across the world and really great eye catching lay outs. It is an all round epic magazine, sadly however there are virtually no curve items featured. Just this months mag only two pages of the whole magazine included tiny features from the curve range. For me this is disappointing, I am not expecting ASOS to feature pages and pages of curve, heck even half a page would do but it would be nice to have something in there to offer inspiration for outfits in the same manner in which straight sized clothing is. ASOS are missing out on a huge part of their demographic, with many women being over 16+ and over who want the same fashion options as their slimmer friends. It seems a waste to have make all these amazing clothes for plus size women then to not promote it using a key tool such as a magazine that reaches over 449,971 readers. 

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 On the opposing side there is an on going argument that buyers for brands simply aren't selling the plus size clothing as much as straight sized lines. Sarah Conley a blogger and retail consultant also spoke frankly in this article from Fashionista about the fact that even though many cry out for more relatable, bigger sized models to be used by brands, customer trends show that women still aren't buying the clothes. Some really great points were raised throughout this article about the issues running through the plus size fashion industry and whether or not plus size women play a role in the problems. 

When writing this, I was nervous about posting, I was questioning whether I was overreacting. Should brands have a responsibility to promote plus size ranges? Or as a friend pointed out, are they given the same air time as other ranges such as 'Tall' and 'Petite' and is that just fair game? Do you think that Fashionista's article, to an extent explains why brands simply aren't investing in their plus size ranges? What are your thoughts? Would you like to see plus size ranges featured more by brands,  in main stream print magazines and online features or do you think that brands don't have a responsibility to cater to everyone it sells to? 

30 comments:

  1. I went to the City Chic grand opening in Brea, CA .. . . . totally catering to the 14+ size range. Amazing clothes and options, sexy store, quality clothes at an affordable price (but more than H&M, etc.), but so worth it. The designs are amazing. I bought harem pants with mesh, high-waisted jeans, etc. I found out that they are carrying this brand at Nordstrom too . . . . I am also a big Rachel Pally White Label fan. What frustrates me the most is women complain about price and expect alot. If you want nice clothes that are designed to fit you, then you are going to have to pay a bit more - this goes for regular sized women too as they spend alot of $$ on their clothes too and don't complain about it. There are so many more options than years past . . . instead of complaining, embrace and find what is available. I forgot to mention Torrid and their cute tops, belts, dresses, jeans - I wore one of their belts with a maxi from Rachel Pally and received compliments everywhere I went yesterday.

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  2. Sometimes I feel that the plus size section for some brands is like their guilty secret it exists but they don't really want to tell people about it! New Look are also guilty of this the stores that actually stock the Inspire Range usually have it stuffed in a dark corner or next to the maternity wear as of course us fatties only shop by stealth!! I did read the article you mention and it made me think back to the comments that appeared on the Evans facebook page when the cut for Evans range was launched. There was some quite vocal opposition to a plus size retailer launching a more daring and bold collection which led me to think you are damned if you and damned if you don't! What worries me is that if retailers think there is no money to be made in plus size fashion then they will be less inclined to make the clothes that we do want and it won't encourage any other brands to start a plus size line. Maybe ASOS and H&M should think about better publicity, especially ASOS as to me they are at the forefront of plus size fashion- show the other brands that it can work! x

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  3. Hi Robbie, I am no disagreeing that there anent options out there for plus size women, I'm saying that they are not promoted enough. I have so many girls ask where I get my clothes from who have no idea some brands cater to plus sizes. Straight sized girls don't have to 'find whats available' it is sold to them through eye catching editorials or shown off on a mannequin on the front of a shop. You are right though that you have to pay for good quality and many of us do! x

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  4. It feels to me (and this is my own personal view) that brands who sell plus size clothes are quite happy to take our money, but don't want to widely advertise the fact they sell plus size clothes. We're a dirty little secret. I was at my aunt's yesterday and she buys The Sun (filthy rag, but I was bored). There was an article in it about Taking Shape and how it's making a killing over here and opening a new store every 3 weeks such is the demand. They had two people commenting on it - Natasha Devon from Body Gossip and that horrid troll man from Fat Families. He was basically saying that he goes up to people in the street to tell them they're fat and that fat shaming is good.

    With idiots like that about as well as the 'OMFG OBESITY CRISIS!!!!!!!!!!!!' shit going on (the extra exclamation points are to illustrate the media's obsession with our collective weight) it's kind of no wonder that the companies are selling plus size lines on the quiet, but someone needs to stick their head above the parapet and publicise it. More and more stores are taking their plus size presence off the high st altogether - Evans has closed in my town and many others - leaving a lot of us with online only. If none (or virtually none) of these companies advertise they sell plus size lines it leaves the onus on us - the plus size bloggers - to yell it from the rooftops.

    Well done for saying this, when we all know that adding dissenting voices into the mix can make us fall foul of companies who want to work with us. It needed saying, and you'[re bloody brave. Props, Call. x x x

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  5. P.S. H&M's plus line is so hideous. It's an afterthought, and not even half-assed. More like quarter-assed. I don't know why they bother to be frank.

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  6. Also to be fair to Callie, we can't compare what happens in the US to what happens in the UK at ALL. The US has been way ahead of the UK for plus fashion for years (which is why I bought it and took a huge hit from UK customs in import duty) and it's only really in the last few years that the UK has had any real choice. Great for you that you can get awesome on trend clothes in your size, but because you can it doesn't mean everybody in the world has that luxury. Now in the UK we are in an enviable position re: choice, but we are a long way from being as fortunate as some.

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  7. Yes to an extent I am beginning to wonder whether the real reason there isn't promotion is due to brands being ashamed to share. That if they did they would be deemed and promoting obesity bla bla bla. You are right one brand has to step up and set an example to brands to take that leap toward inclusivity! Thanks for your comments love!

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  8. My pleasure. It's something I feel strongly about.

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  9. Echoing other people's comments I feel like plus size is the dirty, guilty secret that few retailers want to own up to... except for when it comes for taking our money for stuff that is often more expensive than straight sizes, often only made from polyester, and often a season behind.


    I spend plenty (read - too much) on clothes each month and like you I hit up ASOS for the more trend led pieces. I would love it if their promo mag provided at least a few pages on key looks, styling tips etc based on items from the Curve range. Sadly having looked a few times though the magazine for such inspiration and found it seriously lacking I now just chuck it straight into the recycling bin. And don't get me started on the fact that so many high street retailers won't actually sully their shop floors with their plus size ranges... and New Look, Next and even M&S are receiving my care bear stare on that point.


    Anyway Sunday's are meant to be for chilling so I'll stop ranting now. Thanks for this post :)

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  10. I am a bit apprehensive when I review beautiful pieces for a few brands that have added the Plus Size sizing. When I review items from a fully identified Plus Size line they share it in their social network, comment on my posts or at least comment on my page(s.)

    The non established lines I feel like a dirty little secret they WANT to have as a "customer" BUT NOT as the "image" they'd like to share. I am not surprised that only 2% of a print magazine is dedicated to Plus Size.

    I've decided there's NOTHING WRONG WITH ME and EVERYTHING WRONG with THEM.

    I now lean more on reviewing pieces for those that see an interest and BENEFIT to my work as a blogger and APPRECIATE ME as a CONSUMER as I DO pay for every item I've reviewed.

    It's disheartening but I do it for my readers and the ladies and men that I inspire.

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  11. In regards to the article mentioned - I commented on it that we were shooting in the dark when it came to the actual Marketing reports on Plus Size. While there are 1,000's of marketing companies with reports from here to the moon on the general straight sized fashion but I've yet to find ONE that is compiling reports with HARD numbers on the full spectrum of the Plus Size Fashion Industry.
    Everything seems like here say when it comes to the Plus Size Monies but we haven't come together as a consumer other than individually INTERNAL reports.

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  12. I read the H&M catalogue with the exact same thoughts. :/ It's sad that there are only 2 spreads in the catalogue for plus size women, but I find it even worse how the plus size section is usually located in the very furthest corner of the store! It feels like going in to the shame corner! In our local H&M store they had it in the very end of the lingerie section, separated from EVERY other womens wear section! I had hard time finding the plus size clothes from there first. But now they've changed it a bit but still... could be so much better. I actually like many of their clothes and they are one of the very few I can actually buy in stores here in northern Finland, but the clothes are not presented very well. :/

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  13. Yes and at the same time, even in the UK the chances of buying plus size clothes are much better than many other European countries. I've always loved shopping in the UK as there's so much more plus size selection available. :) In small countries like Finland plus size stores are a rare exception and some of the biggest clothing chains don't have a plus size range at all. The internet has, fortunately, changed this a lot as I am able to order clothes from the UK - from New Look, Asos etc. I'm so happy about that!

    All I'm saying I totally agree there's so much room for improvement. Everywhere.

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  14. Elle-Rose Williams10 August 2014 at 13:16

    When I was in Las Vegas I went into the Forever 21 store - and ohmygosh their plus size range is HUGE. One of the best I've seen in a traditionally straight sized shop. It took up half a floor (maybe more) and it was great to see women flocking to this area of the shop to look around. The pieces were all gorgeous too, not all my taste, but all wonderful. I haven't seen the UK plus size stores (forever 21 included) embrace this yet in the same way. It's a real shame. x

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  15. I have to say that alot of this is new to me .. . I used to just go to Lane Bryant. I discovered Rachel Pally White Label while watching the Queen Latifah Show and I wanted the dress she was wearing. I hunted it down at Neiman Marcus - but of course they did not sell it at the store so online I went and have not looked back. But, due to her price point, retailers are not carrying her line (even though celebrities like Queen and Melissa McCarthy wear her clothes), but it is exceptional and so worth the extra cost. It literally changed my life and opened my eyes to what is out there. Macys does an excellent job in their stores. Eloquii is online only and their quality is exceptional too. I love Lucky Brand plus too . . . City Chic is new and exciting to me as well. Their quality surprised me too (out of Australia). I guess I have just learned to look at the fashion and adapt it to me if I love it . .. BUT, most of all I have appreciated the plus size bloggers! All of you have opened my eyes to a whole new world and boosted my confidence more than you know.

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  16. i too shop and love h&m's home range and as a result have more cushion covers than i will ever have cushions to fill them with but they have cute stuff and are always adding new things which while it fill my decor jones, looking at the plus size options irks my soul.


    i have done posts highlighting them from when they first introduced plus options here in the states in the store til recent "collections" and they have seriously gone to dullsville.


    Sure everyone needs basic pieces but that's not even the issue. what i roll my eyes at mostly are the drab colors and shapelessness of the pieces. Every once in a while they will drop a couple of items that I like but for the most part, snooze.


    Now ASOS Curve, yes we all love them and are able to find fab pieces and I do mean FAB so bravo to them but that does not change the fact that its a bit annoying that the presence in the mag is so minimal.


    So, I think you have every right to feel disappointment or whatever when these catalogs/mags arrive and plus size is but a mere mention here and there. You are not alone.

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  17. I love the ASOS Mag App, and I can only recall 2 issues where they are promoting the Curve range clearly. I think that they need to promote it more. Heck, I didn't even know H&M DID a plus size range!

    Georgie

    xoxo

    styleprincessdiaries.blogspot.com

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  18. Very true Nikki! Although I have to say living in London I tend to visit store which seem to have a fairly large section dedicated to their plus size in New Look! I totally agree with the damned if we do damned if we don't comment I would love to actually hear an honest response from a brand on this subject!

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  19. Yeh me too! I think it is fabulous! xx

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  20. Omg the cushion covers are the best! I bought SO many lol I absolutely agree with you about the quality and lack of imagination with H&M + lines in general! Glad to see I am not alone in feeling this! x

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  21. I think the US are way ahead of us in terms of inclusion for plus sizes I guess that is because simply there are more plus size people it would be great to see that here soon! x

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  22. Yup! I think that's where the section was in regents street, hidden away!

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  23. The Mallow Aesthetic11 August 2014 at 07:14

    "Sarah Conley a blogger and retail consultant also spoke frankly in this article from Fashionista about the fact that even though many cry out for more relatable, bigger sized models to be used by brands, customer trends show that women still aren't buying the clothes."

    Good article, one example given though is daft. So they put two models (one slim, one plus size) in the same outfit and the slim one sold more. I don't know about anyone else, but the problem I have with many plus size clothes is that they are often just upsized versions of smaller sizes, with no real allowances made for differing body shapes as you get larger.

    Now I'm larger than I used to be I don't want to feel like clothing for me is just being tacked on to a smaller sized collection, I want to know it's been designed with a larger body in mind.

    Otherwise there are some good points, I know I was following a conversation on the Simply Be FB page about the new Kelly Brooks line where they were being criticised for daring to create plus size bodycon dresses, because why would us fatties want to show off our curves right? Same goes for the fuss on Yours Clothing's page when they put up that gorgeous picture of Betty Pamper and Chantè B in playsuits.


    There's this idea that plus size has to be tent like and voluminous rather than dare show our bodies, and of course that stuff just doesn't look exciting. Fashion magazines and catalogues are so based on being aspirational, and who aspires to clothes that are designed purely to hide bodies?

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  24. Personally, I feel that these stores need to give us Plus size buyers what w want at a price we can afford. I am fifty two and I refuse to dress or look like I need to be home in a foo foo dress. H&M is a joke, they have plus size but you have to get a map to find it and that goes for Forever 21, Wet Seal, really all store's that aren't actually Plus size stores. It is time to step up and RESPECT the Plus Size buyers, we are here to stay and we love who we are. I love looking good and sexy for my husband and having others tell me how good I look in my clothes. So magazines step up to the plate and represent us like you would a size 2 buyer are money spends just like theirs only we pay more!! To all my plus size fashion bloggers thank you for representing us I love you all,

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  25. H&M likes hiding the fact that they even -do- a plus range. If you can call it a range since it's pretty damn limited. In the catalogs, you're lucky if you find those 4 pages, online, you find maybe 3-5 and it's always the white, the grey and the black, pretty much. In the shops, the plus size rack or perhaps TWO racks is always tucked away in the furthest corner, probably not even labeled - just waiting to be stumbled upon. :( Unfortunately, in most shops that offer plus size, this is all very common. Plus size selection is at maximum about a fifth of the whole line and always hidden somewhere. Ngh!

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  26. I love getting my Asos mag through my letterbox but it does sadden me when little to no plus size fashion is shown. I don't do a lot of clothes shopping out and about as anything in my size is either not available or hidden away to the point where my shopping experience is no longer a joyful one. I do feel like if more brands did plus size clothing they would be surprised how well it would go..maybe one day it will be as available as clothing for non plus size clothes.

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  27. Loved this post Callie! I feel like there's always going to be a demand for plus size clothing as there are few proper (on trend/fashionable) plus size retailers and many of us and with straight size shopping there's just so much choice in comparison so in a way we are a consistent source of income for them. So I agree there should be more light shed on us loyal shoppers especially for Asos which are strictly online retailers so advertisement is so important. In my work there's this other plussie who asked me where I shopped and got my clothes from and I mentioned Asos Curve and boohooplus and she had no clue they existed that they had a plus size range, she shopped at Evans and bhs and was completely oblivious to the online plus size shopping world so there you go. Great topic callie babe x

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  28. Today Fashion become a passion of life and those picture really great and specially
    your dress so much beautiful.

    Safety Footwear fashion

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  29. Hmmmm.
    I also agree with you.I also love this brand on this projects.
    Thanks.
    Plus Size Fashion

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