A recent study by the NPD Group found that more teen girls than ever are buying plus-size clothes. (That continues to be bad news for brands in the junior market, but I have noticed brands like Charlotte Russe and Forever 21 have added plus size clothing line to their stores.
This isn't a result of the so-called obesity epidemic either; according to NPD Group chief industry analyst Marshal Cohen, it comes from the teenage customer's desire to be able to buy the same clothing as their friends, plus size or not.
"Teens are reinvigorating the plus-size market," he says. "Today's young consumers know what they want and won't settle for less. This energy will turn up the volume at retail for the plus-size apparel market overall, which is important but sometimes overlooked."
The report says these customers are more likely to feel that "brands design plus-size clothing as an afterthought" and "plus-size clothing should be offered in the same styles available for my smaller friends." With brands like Eloquii and Asos Curve offering up more trend-conscious clothing, it's not surprising that the plus size market — previously relatively ignored — is starting to gain traction.
I personally believe that this is a great advancement in the fashion industry because magazines have to cator to a plus size market.
"Our customer wants to feel on-trend," Eloquii CEO Mariah Chase told WWD, adding, "If it's a trend, it will sell." In line with that, she reports that best-sellers for the brand include wide-legged pants, ruffles, off-the-shoulder tops — and, yes, even the crop top, which might surprise some plus-size skeptics.
That fast-fashion mentality helped Eloquii grow its volume by over 165 percent last year in 2016, with more "triple-digit growth" expected this year; market estimates have that sales number at $20 million (Chase declined to disclose exact figures). Of course, the trick is that the teen customer has less money to spend, which means retailers can't depend on that demographic alone to push sales further.
Regardless of what is on the horizon, the future of plus-size business is looking brighter than ever.