While many traditional fashion houses, especially brick and mortar retailers, are still ignoring the plus-size clothing market; the phrase ‘plus-size’ is appearing increasingly on social media platforms.

By Emma Sneddon

Thankfully, times are changing, and the clothing industry is moving towards a more diverse future.

Plus-size market value

According to the latest Bloomberg market report, the United States plus-size fashion industry is worth over $17.5 billion, with two-thirds of American women fitting into the plus-size category. And yet, plus sizes represented just 17% of women’s clothing sales in 2015.  Additionally, 78% of plus-size women said they would be willing to spend if only more options were available to them.

Designers and outlets

When a department store launches a line including plus-size clothing, it is rare to find trendy or fashionable pieces. Sadly, most designers prefer to work on with standard sizes. Likewise, major merchandisers rarely promote plus-size fashion lines. Big brands and industry gurus are yet to make a move–so how can fashion startups take advantage of the needs of plus-size customers?

It can be intimidating at first, as an extended sizing line involves more than just scaling up the pieces. Quality plus size clothing often demands different styles, cuts and fabrics. Startups will want to play it safe, but in doing so, they are missing out on a market which is desperate for their talents. It’s high time for fashion designers to be bold to start designing for curvy ladies–-the rewards could be substantial. As a safety net, insurance for retailers can be considered and organised to protect your investment and ensure the constant flow of revenue.

Plus-size shopping experiences

Physical stores offering women’s apparel often present a lackluster experience for plus-size shoppers. Most of the times curvy ladies face two problems; a lack of stock, and a lack of style. Thankfully, there is an alternative. Most online plus-size clothing stores in Australia are doing a fantastic job. They are passionately driving competitively priced, quality attire for plus-size women.

The attitude of industry leading designers and manufacturers

Now we have an idea about the worth, but what about the designers and the manufacturers? It’s really a bitter truth when you come to know their attitude, by no means it’s in favor of extended clothing sizes. Melissa McCarthy is an Emmy Award winner, a worldwide famous actress. Even, she had a hard time to find a designer for her Oscar dress. Make no mistake; she’s an internationally renowned star. Yet, she had to go lengths for her choice of dresses, only because she needs plus size dresses.

“I asked five or six designers—very high-level ones who make lots of dresses for people—and they all said no.”

Additionally, what are the designer’s thoughts on this? Julien Macdonald is a fashion designer who often appears as a judge for famous reality TV shows like Next Top Model.

He directly said that plus-size figures for a model “are a joke” by stating – “a catwalk model is a size six to eight. This is a serious show. You can’t have a plus-size girl winning – it makes it a joke.” (Source:

Why they hold an attitude like this? We might never know! But you get the idea, the industry is simply not friendly towards plus-size clothing. If the big fishes show ignorance towards something, how could the small players aka startups possibly can show interest?

In Conclusion

Though extended clothing sizes are showing a promising return on investment, most startups still consider plus size clothing to be risky business. As a result, more people are shopping online, and online plus-size fashion retailers are flourishing. If you are looking for a good business niche for your fashion a startup, plus size clothing is the way to go.

Emma Sneddon, a freelance writer and an independent blogger. She is a polymath who mostly writes about sustainable and alternative living solutions. She likes to write in the most effective ways to drive new sales and revenue for local business. You can check her out on Twitter: @EmmaSneddon90

Plus-size fashion stock photo by Alena Ozerova/Shutterstock