Last week, Walmart released Free Assembly, a new private label clothing line featuring affordably priced men’s and women’s clothing. The line was spearheaded by Dwight Fenton, formerly of J.Crew, Gap, and Walmart-owned clothing brand Bonobos. According to Walmart SVP Denise Incandela, Free Assembly is part of the company’s goal to offer customers more quality, stylish, and accessible fashion.
You’ll find “elevated style essentials” in the Free Assembly collection. Not sure what that means? Think similar to Target’s Goodfellow & Co. This means more modern cuts and quality fabrics. Take a quick look at the line’s current offerings and you’ll see a variety of flannels, oxfords, henleys, tees, and jackets, with nothing over $45.
Beyond that, why offer up to 3X in tops and stop at 38 waist. Most people who would wear a 3X shirt sport a waist size that is much larger than 38.
Free Assembly Big & Tall offers tops to 3XL with more than 30 items available, but the brand falls short when it comes to bottoms. As of this writing, the largest waist size the collection offers is a 42, and only two pairs of shorts are available in that size. There’s even a denim collection, featuring jeans in a number of cuts and styles, including athletic, but they all stop at size 38.
The problem? The average U.S. male waist size is 40.2 inches and growing. Beyond that, why offer up to 3X in tops and stop at 38 waist. Most people who would wear a 3X shirt sport a waist size that is much larger than 38. The company’s own George brand carries bigger sizes. Target’s Goodfellow & Co. offers sizes to 5X tops and 60 waist. Even Bonobos sells sizes to 4X and 54 waist, and Fenton formerly worked there, so it is surprising that this new brand didn’t launch with something similar. With Walmart’s bigger customer base and the affordable price point Free Assembly offers, it would make sense that these sizes would sell.
Also of note: You won’t find any items from the Free Assembly Big & Tall line in the actual big & tall section at Walmart.com. This seems like an obvious oversight.
The tag line you’ll notice on most of Free Assembly’s marketing reads “Inclusively at Walmart.” Like many companies in the wake of mass protests across the country this year, Walmart is making efforts to promote a diverse and inclusive workplace. The current campaign features ethnically diverse models, but no diversity in body types.
Brands like Target, DXL, and even Bonobos feature big & tall models with a variety of body types. Over the years, we’ve always maintained that part of diversity and inclusivity in fashion is using models with bigger bodies in marketing. Companies that do this see more product sales and build goodwill with the customers they are trying to target by offering extended sizes. Bigger people also want to see themselves reflected in the products that are being marketed to them.
With the focus on positioning Free Assembly as an inclusive brand, it is surprising that Walmart did not consider this.
Walmart’s Free Assembly Big & Tall collection just launched, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see more extended size products added in the near future. What do you think about the new line? Sound of on social media or in the comments below. Browse Walmart’s Free Assembly Big & Tall line for yourself here.