The Plus Point!
Exploring the market for plus size clothing
Indian ethnic wear can be termed as classic outfits. The tradition of unstitched garments ensured that they could be worn by anyone irrespective of their size or girth. The rest was taken care of by the neighbourhood tailor or the housewife who tailored the clothes. There was a time when the neighbourhood tailor or local durzi was the designer and couture combined. Today, he is forgotten, most people prefer ready-made garments. It is easier to buy, there is a wide range to choose from, the fabric combination is excellent – lyrca with cotton, silk with lycra, the range is unbelievable and there is no headache of visiting the tailor again and again for alterations. Most importantly, one can try out the clothing and be satisfied before purchase. The market, today, has changed and there is an increased demand for western wear. With western outfits being demanded by women, fitting, styles and sizes have started playing a key role. The market
for ready-made garments in India is exploding. A recent report by Edelweiss Broking Ltd. puts the figure of the domestic ready-made garment market at US$ 27 billion. There is a significant increase in demand for apparel in men’s and women’s segment. Data notwithstanding, it is undeniable that the ready-made garment sector is here to stay. the next thought is for the sizes. So what happens to the sizes? The traditional buying pattern has always been ‘S’,‘M’, ‘L’, ‘XL’ and ‘XXL’. In India, clear cut definition of the measurements in each category is not there as in the case of international brands. A person may be used to ‘M’ in one brand, to be able to buy ‘XL’ in another. A standardised measurement is yet to evolve in model like figures is not the norm. Organised retail has wrought about a major change, along with it a growing realisation that plus sizes sell in India. There are many who call it the classic case of the ‘Indian belly’, fat waist onwards which saying that the normal man or woman does not in anyway measure up to the models who walk the catwalk, and marketers discovering that there are more plus size people, many brands have started special plus size lines. Now, there are more becoming competitive, it has become imperative that marketers target the niche areas. Plus size being one of the less explored territories, lucrative and growing in numbers. Unconfirmed sources put the plus size market in India at approximately
R11,000 crores and it is said to be growing consistently. Many still consider it at a nascent stage in comparison to the international markets where it is already established.
WITH RETAIL BECOMING COMPETITIVE, IT HAS BECOME IMPERATIVE THAT MARKETERS TARGET THE NICHE AREAS. PLUS SIZE BEING ONE OF THE LESS EXPLORED TERRITORIES, LUCRATIVE AND GROWING IN NUMBERS.
PLUS SIZES INTERNATIONALLY Plus sizes have been around overseas for a while now. Marketers discovered that there are a growing number of overweight, obese people who would require stylish clothes. Try this, an average adult today is 26 pounds or around 12 kgs heavier than in 1950s. This trend in all likeliness may continue. As per www.worldatlas. com, “Though America is not the most obese country in the world, North America still continues to lead the charts. While a majority of other countries that top the list are small and sparsely the list in recent years trading spots for number 1
SENSITIVITY IN MARKETING PLUS SIZES IS THE FOCUS. NO PERSON WANTS TO BE CALLED FAT. THE FACT THAT IT IS PLUS SIZE IS HINTED AT ALBEIT VERY SUBTLY SO THAT THE BUYER WOULD NOT FEEL SHY.
obese country in North America with 35 per cent over 30.0. Nearly 78 million adults and 13 million growing. Research says that the plus size market refers to women’s sizes which are 14 and above. In with a growth of five per cent. This is a good growth area especially for a niche segment which has largely been ignored. The market despite its volumes is just evolving and standardised measurements across the industry is not a norm yet. In fact, many brands camouflage the sizes calling it various other names which for the customer is confusing. The sizing system used by marketers is different and one system is not applied to, by all. This is reiterated by www. sizecharter.com, which puts the growth as, “These days, there are more plus size clothing it’s downright confusing when it comes to comes from the fact that plus size clothing manufacturers actually use several different sizing systems to describe their garments. Fortunately, understanding your proper size is as simple as figuring out how these systems compare.” MARKETING FOR PLUS SIZES AND THE INDIAN CONTEXT Internationally, the sizes start with a ‘W’ to distinguish it as plus size or as ‘2XL’ onwards. There is still a lot of confusion on what stands for what, so retailers in the segment would do well to put in the measurements especially when selling the products online. No person wants to be called fat. The fact that it is plus size is hinted at albeit very subtly so that the buyer would not feel shy. That is the key to
its success and marketing. Plunkett Research aptly puts it, “over the years, as more and more Americans have approached the overweight category, manufacturers have adjusted the way they describe their sizes in order to make them sound smaller. The trend is called ‘ vanity sizing.’ are stylish even if the person is on the heavier side. There is no reason to wear shabby clothes just because one is a few pounds more than the acceptable norm. There is a growing sense I do have a sense of style and I want to wear stylish clothes.” Gia, an offering for plus size from Westside talks of it as Plush Blush speaking of stylish prints and colours to flatter one’s body in plus size. It is as if the bigger size is just incidental companies actively cater to plus sizes only, such successful plus size women’s clothing stores. These also include Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug, wooing women with personal forms that give out their fit and style along with suited plus size clothing. in plus size apparel for women apart from the regular sizes. Pluss clothing, Amydus, Last Zivame are other popular Indian plus size brands. Each has its particular offering, some even have a availability to be able to decide which is good. The usual variety of colours and styles will not easily be available in the plus size category. There are very few players and only careful marketing can help a product succeed. However, it is a growing segment which apparel manufacturers to come.
IT IS AS IF THE BIGGER SIZE IS JUST INCIDENTAL AND THE FOCUS IS NEVER TO HURT THE SELF-ESTEEM OR SELF-RESPECT OF AN INDIVIDUAL.