Size inclusivity has become a recent trend in the last few years. Similarly to the green-washing movement, it’s starting to get a bit of notoriety and backlash. It’s no longer enough for a brand to just claim they’re size-inclusive – the same goes for claiming sustainability. So what does it actually take?
Case Study – Chromat
One of our favorite brands in the market is called Chromat. They are an amazing swimwear brand that’s been at the forefront of body inclusivity in the most radical and profound ways in the industry, featuring models of all sizes on their runway as well as models who may have injuries, disfigurations, or other qualities, which show true diversity and inclusiveness – and this isn’t just a gimmick on the runway.
Chromat then translates this body positive image onto their e-commerce platform by featuring models and women of all sizes, as well as highlighting diverse models on their Instagram feed. They’re not just saying it, they’re actually doing it. Their size range is one of the most inclusive when it comes to the swimwear category.
From a pricing standpoint, they’ve done an exceptional job of leveraging standardized pricing across their sizes and products. This kind of standardization isn’t available from enough brands – another reason Chromat stands out from the rest.
What kind of financial resources will you need to invest in?
Take a look at your financial budget and your investment. You’ll need to consider a completely new grading system. Beyond a size XL, you’ll have to see size grading in a totally different way. Women’s bodies change along with proportionality as you move into larger size ranges. Consider investing in new size grading and patterns, and understand what it’s going to look like from a margin standpoint as you plan yardage for materials.
What about the manufacturing process?
It’s not the same as moving from a size medium to a large, where you simply increase inches across the size grading. There’s actually a totally different shape and form as you move into these larger sizes. Take the time to find the right pattern makers and make sure you invest in product development so that those products actually fit. Merely adding inches isn’t going to do the larger sizes any justice.
What’s really amazing is that a lot of brands are deciding to launch within this space, taking the steps necessary to be able to include larger sizes, and spending time on product development. As you follow suit, you have to account for these line items in your investment strategy as you expand your collection.
How do you know what will work for you?
You need to be testing in the market. Make sure you go through a few different rounds of having your garments sized and fitted. Make sure you have multiple rounds of sampling done and that you use fit models of a few different body types and proportions when it comes to those larger sizes.
How exactly should you figure out demand?
One trend we support is the strategy of adding the sold-out functionality to some larger sizes in order to see what the wait-list demand is for them. It’s a bit of a hack, but this tactic is extremely helpful to understand what your customers are looking to purchase. Whether or not there’s enough demand will determine the need to design for those different sizes.
What do proper garments look like on larger size models?
Another trend we love is the hashtag #MakeMySize. Here, we see a lot of influencers using Instagram to show what actual brands are looking like in plus size fit. A lot of companies are claiming to make XL or double XL, but when it comes to actually translating these sizes onto a woman’s body, companies are finding that a lot of measurements, shapes, and forms fall flat, which certainly disappoints the customer. So, be sure to study the #MakeMySize movement on Instagram in order to see what key products and trends are really driving the conversation.
What will the margins and profitability look like for your business?
Just because it costs more money to make the product, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should charge customers more money to buy it. As you take a look at your profitability and margins, it’s important to understand that with this type of investment, you must plan for a lower margin and profitability and take it as a cost you incur in order to expand your market horizons.
Having a body-positive collection and moving into larger sizing isn’t as easy as slapping on some extra sizes. It takes a methodical approach – plan for it. Make sure you’re working with the right vendors and partners, and that your P&L and profitability ultimately lead to attracting more customers, despite the hits your margins may take.
To find out more, keep an eye out for our article on five ways to make sure your launch toward body inclusivity goes the right way. For a deeper dive, check out the Scaling Retail Empathy Map. You may want to take a look at what your empathy map tells you about your existing – or possibly new – target market.
For further guidance on investment, product development, and profitability, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.