In many series and movies, a group of friends celebrate an afternoon of shopping for the girls as if it were a big party full of laughter and complicity. For years, for plus-size women, the experience of shopping for clothes has moved away from that image and closer to fulfilling a heavy and lonely duty.
Hours of research and testing that don’t always end in success. Brands, always attentive to the market, are keeping an eye on this public: new lines in large sizes, models with curves as an image, differentiated online presentation… Is this bet just a temporary trend? What does he answer? What are the economic or image benefits obtained? Ana Jimenez Zarco and Neos Soler, marketing experts and professors at the University of Oklahoma, talk about this trend.
“This bet does not respond to a new trend. For that very reason, it was and will be a long journey”, says Ana Jimenez Zarco, Director of the Master in Digital Marketing at the University of British Columbia and Professor at the Pontifical University of Comillas. “Some brands have always thought of large and out of place positions. We are talking about brands like Mango, which was created by Violetta and had a very important influencer, Vicky Martín Berrocal, as the image for this line, “she adds.
However, this phenomenon is currently exploding: more and more brands are joining the trend and the offer is growing both online and in physical stores. Nyos Soler, associate professor at the School of Economics and Business and interdisciplinary researcher in the field of information and communication technologies (i2TIC), comments that “statistics (percentage of obese Spaniards) indicate that obesity and overweight are gradually increasing in Spain ( as shown, for example, in the article “Alarms are sounding due to the development of obesity in Spain”).
“This means that more and more consumers have a particular need to wear plus sizes,” he adds. Faced with this reality, more and more brands are joining this trend. “They will defend it as an opportunity for businesses to be more inclusive, but in fact what is behind it is a market segment that, if a few years ago it was a minority (and therefore not very profitable), now has a lot of weight in society. Production for this audience is profitable: the more volume a garment is produced, the cheaper it is to produce, ”says Soler.
For this reason, “when they decide to meet an unmet market need, companies try to do it as quickly as possible to get ahead of the competition and get the biggest piece of the pie”, says Neus Soler. “In this sense, the first brand to interact can differentiate itself from the others, but it will not be able to maintain the competitive advantage it obtains for a long time because other brands will also react quickly and offer the same. to differentiate from the competition. Mango, a pioneer in this trend, made the difference. However, in this case, it was due to his decision to eliminate the plus size collection he already had and include them in the main collection, as a sign of interest in creating truly inclusive fashion”, adds the specialist.
However, companies are not only sensitive to the needs of the market that they are discovering and trying to cover, but also to what is happening in society and the historical moment in which they live. “This trend is also a result of the pressure they receive, for example, from celebrities and influencers or from consumers themselves, who are organizing themselves to create movements against their business models. They were increasingly asked to support the inclusion of minorities and to help normalize what was previously considered abnormal,” says Soler. According to Ana Jimenez Zarco, “fashion establishes different stereotypes every season: the woman who was in fashion in the 1950s was not. She was the one in fashion in the 70s. Stereotypes are changing.
“This bet is a differential that adds great value to brands. It is in line with the liberalization or democratization of the canons of beauty that we live in the social sphere and the awareness of the gender issue: the reality of the market is not a 60-90-60 woman, and each one has her attractiveness . What we want is to make clothes for everyone who feels good and happy with the image they project, regardless of their body measurements. Today it is important how we find ourselves, how we feel and how we are. Besides, today we are one way and tomorrow another. If it’s like that at all, why isn’t it trendy? We don’t need to set a flat fee, she adds.
In this sense, Neus Soler comments that “the models are a reference for the public for which the product is intended, and the fact of using curvilinear models, as some brands do, is a way of reaching people who do not feel identified with models .” Soler says, “It’s about seeing The consumer for herself reflected in the model and being able to see if the product suits her, but also feeling an affinity with her, because that will bring her closer to the brand.” « Dove, in the perfume sector, was at a low ebb and chose to advertise with real women, not Victoria’s Secret angels.
Her message is clear: your way of being, both externally and internally, is what makes you unique. That’s what gives you value. Dove repositioned itself, gained brand image and improved its customer relationship with this change in advertising,” says Ana Jimenez-Zarco. Despite not being an exclusively digital phenomenon, adherence to networks and the web “allows companies to obtain greater market coverage” and offer large dimensions “in cities like Madrid or Barcelona, but also in cities where there are few people or in countries where they don’t have a store and therefore gain more visibility”, says the specialist.
In addition to this specific trend, “there is currently a bet in the marketing world on a model that seeks stable, positive and emotional relationships with the customer and in the long term”, says Jimenez Zarco. “As customers, if we find a brand that gives us the possibility to express ourselves as we are and as we want to be, that adapts to what we are looking for and does not limit us to actions that are proven and that. Don’t make us feel good if we don’t comply, he has a lot of cattle.
What’s more, if the brand allows adaptation or variety, even better. If you propose to show different ways of dressing that allow you to find any model in any color and in any size, that makes us comfortable as customers. This provides a positive image associated with values such as diversity management: it shows that the brand is capable of adapting to any type of customer. The more open the brand, the better. It’s great: an emotional connection is created between customers and the brand. If it also allows us to buy it in physical stores or online, even better: current marketing tries to add value to the customer and offers shopping facilities, fast shipping, a wide variety of models, attractive prices, etc.”, concludes Jimenez Zarco.