Prepare for a Chanel-inspired stampede. This autumn, Saks Fifth Avenue will become the first major US retailer to stock plus-sized clothing from all of its high fashion brands.
Goods from Alexander McQueen, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Oscar de la Renta, Valentino, and yes, Chanel, will soon be available up to size 14, with some brands extending to size 20. And rather than being segregated into a different section, plus-sized garments will be displayed on the same rails as straight-sized stock on Saks’ high-end third floor.
It’s astonishing that something so obvious, lucrative and longed-for could take this long. The plus-size clothing sector is worth $27 billion globally, according to data from New York-based buying firm Global Purchasing Group.
That’s partly due to prevailing health trends, but also a result of increasingly arbitrary sizing—the US doesn’t have any clothing size regulations, so a woman who wears a size 8-10 at a mainstream store might find that McQueen thinks she’s a 12 or 14.
The customers who will flock to Saks are likely to be established professionals with money to spend, a group thus far underserved by luxury fashion.
Saks will stock one of each size in most items until executives gauge the success of the expanded size offering. Our prediction? Sell-outs, wait lists, and advance orders galore.
Thinking even bigger, this could lead other stores to adopt size-neutral buying policies, and could even mean the end of one-size-only model booking. Can’t you just see catwalks where the models truly reflect the consumer base? In our heads, at least, it looks beautiful.