Since I created my first plus size related website back in 2004 thousands of blogs and websites have since popped up. Most of these recently developed sites are fashion related. If you Google “Plus Size Fashion Blog” over 20 million website results are returned. I can remember when it was less than 5,000. Its been some what of a Curvy Fashion Revolution over the last 8 years. Maybe its just me but doesn’t it seem like every day a new website or blog is created dedicated to plus size fashion? If you start to surf through the over 20 million websites you’ll notice one constant message; Plus Size women are demanding more clothing choices and more fashionable clothing. Blog after blog complains about the lack of support for plus size women in the fashion industry. Most of those blogs exist for that sole reason. With the outpour of complaints have the retail industry actually listened? I think not!
The fashion business is about looking good and money. So let’s talk numbers. According to the 2006 census, United States, has over 300 million people with 155 million being female. Recent studies also tells us more than 62% of american women today are a size 12 and above. Thats about 96 million plus size women. Wait, think for a second, it means for every 10 women that pass you in the mall at least 6 are considered “plus size”. All puns aside thats a very big number that you can’t help but notice. 96 million and all but only 5 actual plus size retail chains exist; Ashley Stewart, the Avenue, Lane Bryant, Torrid, and Catherine’s. Combined those 5 brands have over 1200 retail stores to serve 96 million plus size women! If you do the math its about one store for every 80,000 women. I’m pretty sure that is the reason why I can never find anything in my size. Yes, we can now shop H &M (sometimes), Kmart, Macy’s, Target, and other stores but its just 5 solely dedicated to plus size with a selection mediocre at best. But I’ll get to that in part two.
Here is the kicker combined it’s over 12,000 retail stores dedicated to the 59 million women under a size 12. Actually its a much larger number i’m sure. I just got tired of researching after I hit 12,000. Did I forget to mention when you search “fashion blogs” over 120 million results are returned? I know I’m reinventing the wheel right now. I’m sure the entire plus size community is well aware we are very over looked in retail. I just wanted to give you hard numbers on exactly how MUCH the plus size woman is over looked. In this economy the retail industry is bleeding. We can blame the economy on the recession, Obama, Bush, Al Qaeda, and tons of other excuses. But when you are only marketing to less than 40% of women, its really no one to blame but yourself. I can’t make it any clearer to you how valuable the plus size woman’s dollars is to the retail market. Keep that thought in the back of your mind as I explore the reasons why plus size women are not catered to.
For sake of argument and embarrassment, I’m choosing to not disclose company names with the following statements. Most of the below statements were disclosed to me in personal conversations not as VP of Blah inc. Here are the top 5 excuses I have heard first hand from plus size and straight size retail execs.
1. Plus Size women say they want one thing and go do another.
2. Plus Size women do not spend money
3. Plus Size women say they want high end fashion but do not buy it when its’ made available.
4. It’s very hard to mass manufacture clothes to fit plus size women. They come in all shapes and sizes with no master fit.
5. Some designers just do not want to see their clothing on a plus size body.
5a. By high end designers making plus size clothes its’ like they are encouraging obesity
Pay Like You Weigh
Digital Marketing Expert (15yrs+). Editor of CURVY Magazine. Award Winning Producer. Geek. Stylenista.