Why Won’t Brands Promote Their Plus Size Lines?

There are more plus size clothing options than ever. It seems like every day, we’re finding more and more brands that have added extended size lines to their offerings. Unfortunately, there are still companies that won’t promote these products to customers. Why?

On this week’s edition of the Heavy Conversation podcast, we take a closer look at why companies are downplaying their plus size lines and what we can do to change that. The New York Post recently published an article about this exact thing. The writer of the article reached out to a number of companies to find out why they carry extended sizes but don’t promote them. Surprisingly, they found that some of these brands and designers weren’t even willing to talk about the problem.

Photo: Rob Eves

Plus size apparel is estimated to be a $21 billion business. If you’re reading this, chances are, you’re willing to spend something on clothes that fit, whether fast fashion or luxury. You’re asking for options and some brands and designers are making them. Why aren’t they going out of their way to let you know about it? Here’s what the companies who are willing to talk are saying:

Charley Koontz in a suit

Afraid of Being Late to the Party

According to the Post article, some brands are afraid to emphasize that they weren’t carrying these sizes before. Chubstr has covered a number of big & tall launches, and I’ve never seen that as a criticism. The vast majority of plus size people simply want options. If a company decides to get into this area, it’s better late than never.

Large Lad Clothing Collection

They Don’t Want to Alienate Their Core Customer

Some brands are concerned that if a straight sized customer sees that they also make clothing in extended sizes, they won’t be as interested in buying from them. This is also why many brands are slow to include plus size models in their catalogs and marketing campaigns. Companies don’t want to take the chance that they could lose money from their sure thing by branching into something new.

There are a number of ways around this. First off, realize that the vast majority of people don’t care what else you sell, as long as they can find what they are looking for. Is your core customer a size M? They probably aren’t thinking at all about the fact that you offer a 3X.

Photo: Notoriously Dapper

Second, target the plus size audience specifically. Market to this audience through websites (like this one) that reach the customer you’re making the clothing for. Use bigger models in those campaigns, test the waters. Then, use those small successes to test out including your plus size offerings in your wider marketing.

For most marketing teams, this is a no-brainer. Fear of alienating their audience or trying something new stops this from happening.

Chubstr 6th Anniversary Party
Photo: Spencer Pablo Photography

Brands Don’t See Plus Size People as Aspirational

Some companies have come out publicly in the past saying they don’t want plus size people wearing their clothes. Most brands, however, simply won’t talk about it. Even 8 years in, I still talk to companies that won’t partner with Chubstr because they don’t feel like it’s consistent with branding. Not consistent with branding usually means that they don’t currently feature plus size models and don’t plan to in the near future.

Brandon Kyle Menswear

We want to see people who look like us being portrayed in a positive light. Looking great, doing awesome and amazing things. When customers see this, they are more willing to buy the products being offered to them and they are more apt to buy from that brand in the future. Models like Zach Miko and Kelvin Davis are helping to prove this, as are the people we’re seeing featured on other websites, and of course, here.

TCF Style Expo 2017
Backstage at the 2017 TCF Style Expo

We Tried Plus Size Before and It Didn’t Sell

Some companies have tried to get into the plus size market in the past and it didn’t work out. There can be a ton of reasons for this, like not promoting the collection, not offering a variety of sizes, or not actually thinking about bigger bodies when designing the clothing. Brands have to do the work if they want to get into this category and be successful. First and foremost, everything needs to fit.

What Do You Think?

Why won’t brands promote their plus size offerings? Hit us up on social @Chubstr or leave a comment below.