The brand that can predict the changing trends and fashions is the one that will survive these constantly changing times.
As the acceptance of body image takes over, more and more brands have been forced into creating solutions for real women and men, instead of the unnatural models shown in their advertisements. A decade ago, plus sized models were absolutely unheard of, even though, majority of the targeted women were plus sized. Now we see a shift in the branding and advertising culture, where models are not stick thin and emaciated looking. They are more real. The consumers have found their voice, and they are criticizing the industry for promoting an unhealthy image of people and women in particular. Products have now also been altered to cater to majority, instead of to only what is ideal. We have recently seen the rise of plus sized models, flaunting beautiful plus sized swim wear, lingerie and bikinis, which previously, were not even produced. Brands that did not produce clothes over size 8 now have plus sized stylish clothes available in all outlets. Same way, Active wear has also gone through a makeover.
It seems like common sense that the women who will be gymming or working out will be the ones who need to lose weight. Then why were all the brands making gym wear which was only fit for women up to size 6? When you look back, it makes no sense. If a woman is size 6 or lower, would they be the target market for active wear or the women who are on the heavier side? The brands have now realized their mistake and they are moving on to creating plus sized activewear, for real women.
In a recent study, 67% of the women wear a size 14 or larger. This is such an eye opener for the brands, who are now designing their lines according to the average size, instead of the 0-6 size niche. The body positive movement has to be taken into account by all brands if they want to stay in the business. The activewear plus size lines have been designed to fit people of size 8 and above.
The designing and branding of the plus size line has to be different. The garments for plus sized customers need to be designed to fit their preferences, it is not just a size change, it is a style change. It is a whole new range, with different designs and color palette. A lot of research has been done to come up with these to pin point the preferences of the majority of the target market. The plus sized lowers are more mid length capris or straight pants, rather than skin fitted tights and leggings. The designs are created to be more flattering for the plus sized customers. For example, the uppers are wider, with better support and fitting than the regular line. The color palette is also slightly different, with more blacks and greys and darker colors in the plus size variants than the regular ones. The darker colors tend to have a slimming effect, therefore they are preferred by the plus sized consumers, as compared to the off whites and neutral pastels used in the regular line.
From the mannequins in the showroom windows, to the advertisements on TV and billboards, all of them feature plus sized models. The body positive image is being promoted by individuals as well as the brands. This is a major shift in the industry, and it still has a long way to go. There is immense opportunity to grow in this industry.
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