Dear Fashion Retailers
I was recently on your website shopping. I was excited to see you offer apparel in plus sizes. My level of excitement quickly diminished when I saw your selection of models. Seriously, your talent search agency couldn’t find a plus size model to model your plus size clothing line. I applaud your company for offering plus size apparel for ladies like myself. Also pleased that your company recognizes the global market, demands, and revenue plus size women make up. However, I have reason to believe, you don’t truly get it.
Let’s travel back to Marketing 101 and Communications 101, shall we. The main lesson taught is “KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE”. What is the message you want to convey? What points do you want your audience to remember? My hope is that if you are selling plus size clothes. Your audience should be plus size women and the message is we value your business and want to dress you in our fashionable garments.
Please note that is not the message being conveyed when you use a size 2 (thin) model and list available sizes as all plus sizes. Your website is designed to have a separate tab/link for plus sizes. Sending messages that your plus size line is an afterthought. You don’t value me as a customer. Your clothing line will not fit and/or flatter me as well as other plus size clothing lines. Also, you don’t want to see me in your clothes or else you would have chosen a model that actually fits the garments in your plus size line.
While shopping online, I prefer to see how the shirt, skirt, dress, etc. looks like on person that looks like me. There is really no way a size 16 woman can visualize confidently the fit of an outfit when she sees a size 2 (thin) model wearing said outfit(s). Note, I have a vivid imagination. I also believe in quality over quantity although your store has an economical line. That is not what sustains me as a customer. You probably know that all clothing lines are not created equal.
In response to my open letter. I'm sure your staff will argue that you are meeting the industry standard. It is apparent that they are not up to date on a recent movement and outcry for the use of more plus size models on the run way as well as in print. H&M recently made headlines for using a plus size model in their national marketing campaign. Lane Bryant has a long history of using plus size model. I could point out additional examples but I will leave that to your research team.
If you want appeal to plus size consumers like myself, youthful, sassy and fashionable, you need to start conveying that.