In Demand: Plus-Size Apparel

Suppliers are launching plus-size apparel lines to meet client demand.

Plus-size apparel is a multibillion-dollar business, and it continues to grow. Last year, U.S. sales of women’s plus-size apparel, including for teens, was $21.4 billion, a 6% year-over-year increase, according to NPD Group, which also reported that the plus-size segment is growing at double the rate of overall apparel sales.

Consumers today demand fashion-forward plus-size clothing, and they have the green to spend, says Marie Denee, creator of style blog The Curvy Fashionista. “As the segments start to diversify in plus-size, the designers, retailers and manufacturers need to take note and do the same,” she says. “We have access to more styles, and the space to explore our personal style and gain attainable inspiration in fashion like we’ve never had before.”

Fortunately, suppliers in the promotional industry are catching on. This year, Hanes Branded Printwear (asi/59528) introduced its Just My Size collection, comprised of imprintable cotton T-shirts ranging from 1X to 5X. “The plus-size consumer has been underserved in the wholesale market,” explains Marcus Davis, manager of product development for Hanes. “Customers lose business when they don’t have styles that are appropriately sized and flattering for a variety of shapes and sizes.”

Meanwhile, Alternative Apparel (asi/34850), which was acquired by Hanes in October, introduced its Extended Sizes collection, which includes an assortment of its best-selling items in sizes up to 2X in women’s and 3X in men’s.

“We’re constantly in conversation with our customers, getting feedback on what they love and want to see more of,” says Nurain Alicharan, marketing and social content manager.