8.14.16 Marketing

Lane Bryant: Changing the Conversation on Plus-Size Fashion

By: Lindsey Carman

The retail market for plus-size women has grown 17% since 2013, making it worth $20 billion today, yet many retailers don’t offer apparel for full-figured women. However, plus-size apparel brand Lane Bryant is determined to get more retailers on board to provide curvy women the fashion they love.

Empowering Women Through Plus-Size Options

Teaming up with 12 students at Otis College of Art and Design, Lane Bryant developed a new sportswear line (sizes ranging from 14-32). With the goal of empowering women of all shapes and sizes, Lane Bryant has set out to improve the perception of plus-size fashion — even at the design level.

“This collaboration is an important step in our continuing mission to change the conversation regarding plus-size fashion,” said Lane Bryant President and Chief Executive Linda Heasley. “At a foundational level, we want students and future designers to see the possibilities of creating great design for all women.”

A photo of the Lane Bryant team

Lane Bryant partnered with 12 students at the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, California to create a sportswear line that launched on February 2.

Last year, Lane Bryant launched two campaigns — #PlusIsEqual and #ImNoAngel — that featured curvy women of all skin colors strutting in Cacique lingerie, throwing a punch at Victoria’s Secret’s “Angels.” This marketing move spurred a social media frenzy of curvy women all over the U.S. posting photos of themselves using Lane Bryant’s hashtags.

The Plus-Size Movement: Catching On Like Wildfire

Other brands were inspired to launch their own plus-size collections, such as Forever 21’s activewear line headlined by curvy model Ashley Graham, and Rebel Wilson’s line with Torrid. Even Barbie is getting a makeover, with Mattel now selling tall, petite, and curvy Barbie dolls.

A chart of growth in plus-size apparel sales

For the past three years, plus-size apparel sales have exceeded total women’s clothing sales, according to research put together by Bloomberg.

According to Melissa McCarthy, who is launching her own plus-size collection with Seven7, 70% of women in the United States are a size 14 or above. Most apparel brands design for women who are up to only a size 10 or 12 because there is more variance in body shape at larger sizes, according to Bloomberg. 

However, offering fashion for full-figured women is a smart move, and retailers that are recognizing that curvy women still enjoy shopping and following fashion trends stand to profit from the largely untapped market of today’s plus-sized apparel landscape.

It’s Only the Beginning for Lane Bryant

As for Lane Bryant, launching new campaigns and collections means much more than just driving sales. The brand’s new designs and social media efforts will continue to encourage the fashion industry to embrace the plus-size community rather than leaving full-figured women out.

With the movement picking up steam, Lane Bryant will keep changing the conversation, one empowering outfit and social media hashtag at a time.