We've been following Lane Bryant CEO Linda Heasley's efforts to "change the conversation" about plus-size fashion since she joined the retailer in 2013. The brand has collaborated with designers like Isabel Toledo, Sophie Theallet and Lela Rose and made waves last spring with its #ImNoAngel campaign. Starring models Ashley Graham, Candice Huffine, Victoria Lee and more, the multimedia ads shot by Cass Bird featured Lane Bryant's lingerie line, Cacique, with a clever poke at Victoria's Secret. It was smart, beautiful, elegant and set the tone for the brand's subsequent marketing efforts.
On Wednesday, Lane Bryant announced a powerful new ally in its efforts to elevate the plus-size market: Conde Nast's Glamour magazine and its audience of 10 million print readers and 10 million unique visitors online (stats according to the title). The long-term partnership will feature four different projects: two plus-size focused special Glamour editions presented by Lane Bryant, a Glamour.com video series based off the brand's latest campaign (see one below), "Styled By Glamour" in-store vignettes at Lane Bryant retail locations and, coming this fall, a Glamour x Lane Bryant clothing collection.
The first special Glamour edition hit newsstands Wednesday and will be available for sale until the end of June for a whopping $12.99, which we dropped to check it out for ourselves. It comes with 96 pages of evergreen fashion, beauty, inspiration and celebrity interviews with a spring/summer focus. "You won't find any old-fashioned fruit references," writes editor-in-chief Cindi Leive in the editor's letter. Lane Bryant is the only advertiser — there are only eight ad pages including the back cover — and its campaign star Ashley Graham fronts the issue in a flowing red maxi dress, but it's not technically branded content (just like that Kendall Jenner Vogue cover in which Estée Lauder is the only advertiser). According to a representative for Glamour, the issue is "a curated and original editorial product presented by Lane Bryant."
Much of the issue features republished or repackaged content, as is typical of Condé Nast special issues, which also means Lane Bryant doesn't have a bigger presence in the editorial credits than other brands (since the content was produced pre-partnership). The cover image itself is from last year, and readers will find interviews with Amy Schumer and Melissa McCarthy from 2015, Lena Dunham from 2014 and an editorial starring Christina Hendricks from 2011. The focus throughout is on body positive perspectives and fashion inspiration from models, actresses, bloggers and a diverse array of everyday women. There's also advice on swimsuit and denim shopping and universal beauty and seasonal trend coverage. Glamour also compares a 2014 survey on body image with one conducted in 1984. (Spoiler alert: social media isn't helping anything.)
Tailoring is a major theme, too, and addressed in a 2015 interview with designer Zac Posen by Glamour associate fashion writer and former plus-size model Lauren Chan. Leive writes in her letter that "many Glamour readers who wear size 14 and up tell us they don't see images celebrating their shape as often as they'd like." While it would have been nice to see more new plus-size content in the issue, this content will feel fresh to most readers who don't read every page of every Glamour, and yearn for the brand's perspective on plus-size style.
Another special issue presented by Lane Bryant will hit newsstands in the fall and the brand's #ThisBody campaign will appear in Glamour's April and May issues. The Glamour x Lane Bryant clothing line will also debut in October with eight to 10 new styles rolling out each month throughout 2016. It will be available for purchase at about 25 retail stores and online in sizes 14 to 28. The collection is the fruit of a "licensed royalty agreement with guarantees," according to a statement from the magazine, and was created in consultation with Glamour editors.
Will the fall special issue feature the Glamour x Lane Bryant collection? Considering the comprehensive and detailed nature of partnership's first stages, we wouldn't be surprised.
Note: This article has been updated with collection sizing information.