The Plus Point!

Apparel - - Contents April 2017 - Chi­tra Bala­sub­ra­ma­niam ex­plores the mar­ket for plus size cloth­ing.

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.

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