Is the retail industry becoming more inclusive in 2019?

You may have noticed in the past few years, brands are catering for all types of people. It’s clear to see that fashion retailers have become more diverse and inclusive.

From adding a maternity section to their collections, to tall and petite clothing ranges becoming more common, we explore the topic further with QUIZ MAN, blazers for men retailer.

Progression in fashion

You can’t deny the fact that there’s been a shift on the runway. In fact, at SS18 shows, there was a record of 93 plus-size/curve model appearances and 45 transgender castings. There was more inclusion when it came to age too, as 27 models over the age of 50 walked the runways.

It seems as though high-street brands, such as plus size occasion wear retailers QUIZ, are taking the lead when it comes to diversifying campaigns and challenging convention..

Is social media having an influence?

People are becoming more opinionated on social media, and any bad comments could impact a brands reputation. Arguably, the way a business deals with an online complaint is more important than how they deal with one in-store, as it’s on a public platform for all to see. To avoid this destructive cycle, brands must be considerate of all their users.

If a customer feels as though they aren’t being represented, they will let you know — and social media has become the perfect channel for them to do this. They’ll likely gain a lot of support too if it’s something that other people have recognised.

Through user-generated content, plus-size influencers are becoming more popular and brands are having to recognise this. In the fashion world, a consumer simply needs to look through ‘tags’ of a brand or search for images that have been hashtagged with a retailer’s name to see pictures of people wearing their clothes. This allows buyers to see the products on ‘real’ people rather than models from the adverts. This again encourages people who are not a ‘standard’ size to purchase new clothes — motivated perhaps by a photograph of someone who is a similar size to them in the same garment — such as women’s straight cut jeans for example. Many fashion retailers encourage their customers to do this by offering them the chance to feature on the page if they use their hashtag.

Due to high demand and constant call-outs, some brands are beginning to stop photoshopping images. This highlights that there is more support for inclusive fashion on social media than ever before through the promotion of body confidence campaigns. This again encourages people to get involved and purchase clothing from that brands, resonating more with real models.

Consumer demand

Brands can’t be ignoring plus size consumers and are promoting the importance for ‘body confidence’. This is driven by brands and plus size influencers engaging with customers and encouraging them to embrace their curves and love their body. Online shopping is driving the market too. PwC identified that plus size consumers have a greater preference for purchasing clothes over the internet and the rise of ecommerce has caused this market to thrive further.

This has paved the way for ranges such as; wide-fit shoes, tall, petite and maternity. Although it’s predominantly in the womenswear market at the minute, some retailers have released male plus size and tall ranges too.

Did you know that the plus size market is worth £6.6bn? Women make up £4.7bn and men make up £1.9bn according to PwC. In fact, the market has been outperforming the overall womenswear and menswear clothing market in the UK — demonstrating the increase in industry interest.

There’s no slowing down for this market either. In their report, PwC forecast growth of the plus size segment to be around 5-6% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) from 2017 to 2022. What is leading this growth?

The retail industry is changing its ways — and we’re all here for it!