A rise in obesity levels is being reflected in the UK’s fashion market, with retailers expecting the sales of plus-size clothes to hit £4.9billion this year.
Retail analyst, Verdict, suggests the market for large sizes, particularly those aimed at young women and teenagers, is the fastest-growing on the high street. Plus-size clothing is expected to account for 23% of total womenswear sales in 2011, compared to 18% in 2006.
‘Our research has revealed that it is the plus-size market that offers the biggest opportunities for growth,’ says Carly Syme, an analyst at Verdict. ‘While a large proportion of the plus-size market is made up of older shoppers, there is also an increasing need for more fashionable plus-size items for younger shoppers.’
Recent research suggests UK women and young girls are the biggest in Western Europe, but with successful pop artists such as Britain’s Adele becoming icons for a new generation of young women, both catwalk designers and the high street are tapping in to the reality of modern women.
Designer Mark Fast caused a stir when he used size 12 and 14 models during London Fashion Week and Topshop boss, Sir Philip Green launched STYLE369.com for young women going up to a size 26.
As obesity takes hold among British women, Carly says: ‘Retailers are looking to expand their niche collections such as petites, maternity and plus size to ensure growth and increase revenue.’