Haute Couture...plus some more!
High fashion can afford to go plus-sized.
By: Shani Crooks
I’ll never forget this moment. I’m out with a group of friends from work. We were sipping on cocktails too weak for their price point, munching on greasy foods that we would regret eating in the morning, and listening to music that our parents would not approve of. Three men came over to the table, we all knew why they were there and it wasn’t to get married. And as a desperate attempt to make small talk, theyasked us where we worked. We all responded Saks Fifth Avenue. The men then told us how jealous they were, to which everyone at the table laughed and said their entire paychecks went to buying designer clothes. I couldn’t join in on the conversation. I weighed 197 pounds at the time and wore a size 13 in pants. Luxury fashion houses did not make clothes my size. I then vividly remember looking around the table and I noticed that all my friends were dressed as if they personally knew Donatella Versace. I however, was wearing a cheap polka-dot shirt and white capris pants from Rainbow. We were not equally yoked and it was obvious. I never felt more disgusted with my weight and more isolated than in that moment.
Fast forward to the present, and curves are in. More and more women are embracing their body sizes in fact, #bodypositivity is a daily trending hashtag. The celebrities that we idolize now have curves for days and junk in their trunks. While the plus-size fashion industry is booming, high-end fashion brands, like Prada, do not make or carry anything beyond a size 8 (if you get lucky enough you might find a size 12). While my bank account could kiss the feet of the designers who refuse to make clothing for plus-sized women, my intuition is telling me that it is time to make a change.
Brands like Lane Bryant, Torrid, and Fashion Nova have proved that there is a market for plus-sized fashion and curvy women are willing to pay big bucks for it. I understand that these luxury fashion houses have a brand identity to maintain, but upping the size of a pencil skirt won’t make it any less of a pencil skirt. Adding additional sizes to their repertoire won’t make them any less high fashion. Having a curvy woman in your dress won’t make it any less desirable.
A PR campaign is necessary for these brands to successfully transition into the plus-sized market. Here are the seven things they need to do to run a successful campaign:
1. Understand that all curvy women are not shaped the same.
2. Get top plus size models to be in your campaign, like Ashley Graham, Tabria or Majors.
3. Hire photographers that specialize in shooting curvy women.
4. Cater to women in their 30’s - 50’s. They have an eye for high-end fashion, can afford it, and their bodies are not what they used to be.
5. Run a print campaign (Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar are a necessity!)
6. Have a niche, never-before-seen runway show.
7. Use celebrities like Adele to wear these clothes on the red carpet.
If these brands execute this PR campaign well, they will gain pounds, British pounds. There is so much money to be made in plus-sized fashion and we are all anxiously waiting for the first brand to do it. Let’s face it, Popeye’s is about to re-launch their chicken sandwich, plus-sized women are here to stay and PR can help these brands get with the program.
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