As several fashion brands continue to ignore the pressure to offer expanded sizes, subscription styling companies like Stitch Fix are beating them to the punch.
Stitch Fix announced that it will begin offering plus-size apparel at the end of the month, incorporating clothing in sizes 14W-24W, as well as 1X-3X. The new service, dubbed Stitch Fix Plus, includes a team of stylists who specialize in curvier clientele, as well as specially designed looks by buzzy brand Eloquii, which has been making waves for its stylish plus-size offerings that have captured the attention of “Saturday Night Live” star Aidy Bryant.
The announcement comes after the plus-size subscription service Dia&Co published a full-page advertisement in the New York Times earlier this month, urging fashion designers to design with all body types in mind in advance of New York Fashion Week. While designers like Christian Siriano, who has been lauded for his emphasis on body positivity, showed a diverse range of models, most designers have yet to follow suit, leaving the estimated $20.4 billion plus-size fashion market relatively untapped.
According to Stitch Fix’s research, 39 percent of plus-size women don’t enjoy shopping and indicated they are dissatisfied with options both in-store and online. Stitch Fix Plus will feature 90 brands, including City Chic, Junarose and Slink Jeans, and plans to encourage other brands to expand their offerings.
“Some of our existing partners are really eager to get into plus-size offerings as a result of Stitch Fix extending its service,” said Lisa Bougie, chief merchandising officer at Stitch Fix. “Stitch Fix can use every piece of feedback that we receive from our consumers to inform better decision-making over time. One of the cool things for vendors that are interested in extending into plus is that we share all of that data transparently. It will be a catalyst for other brands extending their size range.”
The new vertical comes on the heels of Stitch Fix Men, the company’s foray into menswear which launched in September 2016. Stitch Fix Plus officially launches on February 27. It currently has a waitlist of more than 75,000 women who plan to receive customized boxes of clothing, which are composed based on user-submitted data and style algorithms, as well as picks by personal stylists.
“If it helps foster increased customer demand, we’ll see increased industry support — be it the designers serving the customer, or the customer who is ready to shop as more industry players and multi-brand retailers come into the [plus-size] space,” said Eloquii CEO Mariah Chase
Christine Hunsicker, CEO and founder at plus-size rental service Gwynnie Bee, said Stitch Fix’s effort will continue to highlight the demand for stylish plus-size looks and encourage others to expand their offerings.
“The more businesses that have distribution that want to serve this customer, the more straight-size brands will want to develop styles for these consumers,” she said.