The combined power of the pen and the purse with Plus size blogs
It is ironic that the complaints about a photo (above) of a seriously under weight model, published in Elle UK which reverberate across the media, are set against the backdrop of another, equally powerful fashion movement.
Plus size fashion bloggers and models have been causing serious disruption in the fashion industry recently. Although the debate rages about what plus size actually means (for the cat walk it can be anything above a size zero,) the plus size discussion has never been more vocal. In 1985, the average woman in the US wore a size 8. Today, she wears a 14. This size denotes the line between standard and plus-size fashion. Joined by videos on the negative impact of skewed body image created by a number of major companies, there is starting to be a strong backlash against the unrealistic images of women shown in the media which are projected on them.
Show me the money
Plus sizes represent about $16B of retail revenue and accounts in the US, that is 67% of the clothes purchasing population. Today plus size consumers are redefining the way retail and the popular high street commentators and bloggers position the plus size market.
In the past they have been badly treated and demeaned by the skinny obsessed fashion world, designers, retailers alike. Not only are they demanding realistic looking mannequins, these plus-size fashion consumers, models and bloggers are voting with their wallets, with a dramatic impact on the fashion and retail sector.
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I am not going to into the health issues associated with potentially being above a healthy weight. That is not my place here. But 25% of UK women are a size 18 (US 14) or above, it is obvious that the plus size revolt is upon us and the fashion and retail sector is finally paying attention.
There is no doubt that the plus size bloggers have been major catalysts for disruption, as the regular retail sector has been slow to recognise the purchasing power of this significant demographic. These bloggers have refused to accept the fashion industry’s reluctance to provide designs and fashion articles, that meet their needs and those of their audiences.
Power of social media
A key figure in the UK is Georgina Horne, the blogger behind ‘Fuller Figure Fuller Bust’ . A now influential voice she started her blog in 2011, and now has over 50,000 followers on Instagram. She has been featured in various high-end publications including Vogue Italia and LOOK! She believes bloggers are key to creating this new plus size trend.
“I think bloggers are key because we’ve got so many followers. Brands are starting to realise that if they tap into what bloggers have to say, they can see people are starting to say, ‘I want to wear what’s in that shop but they don’t make it in my size.”
Plus size bloggers have therefore bypassed traditional, slower routes and have created large followings mainly on social media to connect with the plus size consumer. In this way, totally tapped into the challenges and needs of these women, they can influence and direct their spending patterns, which in turn drive retail trends.
At one time the plus size shops were places of shame, where purchases were packed in unbranded bags. Now these plus size shoppers will be driving a whole new consumer dynamic, as supply shifts to meet their demands.
The plus size market is poised to boom, as plus size customers demand fashionable, well made and affordable items which they can buy in fun and cool environments.
Just like everyone else.
Here is a list of 10 plus size bloggers to follow.