Growing number of fashion brands are focusing on plus-size fashion

World Today

There has been a disconnect for decades in what sizes the average woman wears and what is found on fashion runways, but that has begun to change as many brands see the plus-sized market as a major opportunity for growth.

CGTN’s Mary MacCarthy reports.

Fashion model Vanessa Lunnon’s career has taken off. She has been strutting the runways from New York to Los Angeles for 15 years, but her work is in more demand than ever now thanks to a growing interest in plus-size fashion.

“I’m a plus-size model,” Lunnon said. “I embrace that term.”

Industry numbers estimate that sales of women’s plus-size clothing in the United States alone now top $21 billion annually and that is almost a fifth of total clothing sales for American women.

A retailer that has always specialized in larger sizes, Lane Bryant, was recently voted the 2nd-favorite brand among American women and many other stores are trying to move in on the plus-size market.

Brands like Target, Old Navy, and Macy’s now carry extensive plus-size collections as do higher-end brands including J.Crew and Ralph Lauren.

“Plus-size is not a niche market. I think brands are recognizing that they can’t ignore consumers any more,” Lunnon said. “Women, and men, have money to spend. And they want to be represented. They want to go into a store, look at a piece of clothing, and find their fit.”

The sales of plus-size clothing is rising at twice the rate of sales of traditionally-sized clothing and there’s a growing awareness in the fashion industry that all brands – from low-end department stores to luxury boutiques on Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles – ought to cater to all sizes.

The Plus Bus is a Los Angeles boutique catering exclusively to plus-sized women – and at a time when many brick-and mortar retailers are shutting down, its sales are quickly rising.

“I really know the power that a great dress, or a fabulous-fitting pair of pants, has,” said Marcy Guevara, the owner of The Plus Bus.

“It’s very important to me that people feel good. So when we saw this need, my business partner and I really felt we could fit that. That we could help women.”