One of the longest standing pieces of feedback we’ve received throughout the years has come from our community of plus size shoppers about the lack of items available to them. We’ve always been dedicated to helping women of all shapes and sizes find designs that delight her and make her feel like the best version of herself. However, providing our plus size customers with the best possible product has proven especially difficult in an industry that’s often relegated any woman above a size 14 to dowdy styles and ill-fitting cuts.
The news today, though, is that we’re out to change that. Last week, we announced our pledge to revolutionize the plus size fashion industry. Learn more about how and why we’re doing it — and the amazing pop-up event, Elegance for All, we hosted to kick off the efforts and celebrate our community.
When we started digging into the data and the details about what it was our customer wanted – and how we could best bring it to her – what we found was pretty astonishing:
- More U.S. women report wearing a size 16 dress than a size 2 and 0 combined.
- â…“ of U.S. women wear a mix of what is considered standard and plus sizes.
- 57% of U.S. women wear at least some clothing in sizes 16 and above.
ModCloth is a company centered around its community, and from the start, our plus size shoppers have craved the same great styles that come in ‘regular’ sizes. So, why now – and not years ago?
“There are unique challenges in producing great clothes for plus size — and we weren’t going to go into plus for the sake of going into plus. We wanted to go into it wholeheartedly and do it right,” VP of Buying and Merchandising Lindsay told the crowd at our roundtable discussion last week, which was attended by prominent members of the blogging and media communities. “What we’re capable of today wasn’t available to us 18 months ago.”
Plus Size Buyer, Samara, and Head Merchant, Lindsay, hi-five to congratulate the recent success ModCloth’s had in increasing our plus size offering on the site.
In 2012, our Plus Size Buyer, Samara set out to find partners within the design community who could help bring better merchandise to the site. What she found? Of the 1,500 approved vendors we worked with, only 35 were set up and willing to do plus sizes.
We have since grown our plus vendor base to 100 (and growing!), much to the success of developing our own team of in-house designers who are working closely with vendors to specifically tackle the challenges that come with producing great fitting product for plus size customers.
“A lot of vendors will encounter a challenge when trying to design for plus and stop there,” Technical Designer Goretti explained. “You want to feel flawless. You want to put it on, zip it up, and go out and not deal with too large arm holes or restricting fabric. When working with designers, I get to be your advocate to make sure what’s getting made ultimately is amazing — and not letting the limitations of fabric or patterns get in the way.”
During our roundtable discussion, our team of experts dove into all the challenges and triumphs we’ve encountered in the past year as we’ve set out to grow our plus size business, from visiting customer’s homes to tour their closets and learn about what it is they feel confident or insecure about to building an in-house design team dedicated to taking on the challenges that come with producing great-fitting plus clothing.
In addition, bloggers like Jess of The Militant Baker, Gabi Fresh, and Nadia Aboulhoun attended and talked to our team about the unique challenges they’ve faced when looking for items that express their unique style — from having to be extremely creative when it comes to styling or often rigging clothing to get it to fit their unique body shapes. “Plus size women have been rigging our clothing forever, because we have to,” said Jess of The Militant Baker.
Anxious shoppers began showing up to the pop-up shop two hours before we opened the doors!
As the blogger and media portion of our event wrapped up and our team readied the space, a line began to form to attend our first-ever pop-up shop! The ModCloth team traveled from Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Los Angeles to give customers a hands-on experience, allowing them to shop product featured in a full range of sizes, from XS to 4x.
Over four hundred people attendees gained a sneak peek at our fall collection, shopped some of our latest styles, mingled with fellow ModLovers, danced to our custom Rdio playlist, shared their ‘fearless fashion moments’, and crafted DIY lace earrings.
Members of the ModCloth team get set to check out customers at Elegance for All Pop-Up Shop.
We asked shoppers to share their favorite fearless fashion moments with us – the answers were inspiring and smile-worthy!
The ModCloth team, after a long day of set-up, taking a well-deserved photo break.
We’re definitely just starting down this road to make plus size fashions a core part of our business – and always seeking your feedback. As we see it, ModCloth is a constant conversation that we want you to be a part of.
So tell us, what challenges do you face when shopping for plus size? And where would you like to see our next pop-up shop appear?