By Mallory Schlossberg
It’s no secret that the plus-size market is underserved.
The category is worth $17.5 billion, according to industry-research firm NPD Group.
The deficit of stylish apparel that these women face is likely rooted in retailers’ and designers’ fear.
“I would argue that why many non-plus-size designers don’t go into plus-size is fear,” Amanda Czerniawski, sociology professor at Temple University, former plus-size model, and author of “Fashioning Fat: Inside Plus-Size Modeling,” told Business Insider this summer.
Many companies aren’t familiar with designing for plus-size clientele, so they might be intimidated by the investment.
But that doesn’t change the fact that women often feel as though they have limited options when it comes to stylish clothing. Lingerie, in particular, is an even trickier industry, as many lingerie brands’ advertisements are rooted in the notion that you have to be thin to be considered sexy.
Adore Me is one retailer that aims to change the way plus-size women are treated.
Sharon Klapka, Adore Me’s director of business and brand development, openly disclosed to Business Insider this summer that Adore Me aims to “slay Victoria’s Secret.” Victoria’s Secret is known for its thin models and limited sizes.
Still, that’s a lofty feat to accomplish, given that Victoria’s Secret’s parent company, L Brands, holds nearly 61.8% of the lingerie market share, according to IBIS World.
“We as a brand are reinventing the approach to fashion,” Adore Me’s CEO Morgan Hermand-Waiche said to Business Insider. “We want to be the brand that stands for everyone, and everyone means every wallet, every style, and every size.”
“I was shocked to see that every single brand, whether you talk about Victoria’s Secret or Abercrombie or Guess or Gap or Urban Outfitters — none of them is serving the plus-size customer,” he said.
In fact, capitalizing on this widely underserved market is likely one reason the brand is growing so rapidly.
Now the company is venturing into the plus-size swimwear sector with the hope of giving curvy women what they want when they prepare to go to the beach.
Hermand-Waiche said the swimwear market is just as grueling, if not worse, than the apparel market as a whole.
“The swimwear market is even worse than the apparel market as a whole when it comes to plus-size catering,” Hermand-Waiche said. “No one is taking care of plus-size women.”
The swimwear industry’s current selection for larger women is, according to Hermand-Waiche, “not necessarily sexy and interesting, and the price at which they have to buy [the apparel is] extremely expensive.”