ModCloth Tuesday announced the site is retiring the “Plus” category from its website and fitting stores in favor of integrating all sizes of its clothing.
The move follows a survey by the retailer that found that 84% of women size 16 and above say they’d buy more clothing if more “cute and trendy” items came in their size. Some 79% of the women say the fashion industry is ignoring them, and just 25% say they can relate to women in clothing ads, the survey found.
In retiring the “Plus” label, the retailer has settled on “Extended sizes,” which it says could also include XXS, petite, tall, and other various sizing extensions beyond the standard range.
ModCloth has been keenly interested in providing its on-trend, pretty dresses and accessories for women of all sizes and in showing women of all sizes and body types in its advertising and on its website.
Now the retailer has decided that that inclusivity should apply to how it labels and sells its clothing. The move to eliminate the “Plus” label jibes with designer Isaac Mizrahi’s longtime campaign to provide women’s clothing in all sizes, without sizing silos. In his QVC-based sales and his retail stores, Mizrahi similarly provides clothing in a range of sizes rather than in size categories.
“I don’t want to speak to a plus-sized woman differently than I speak to a woman,” he told HuffPost Live last year.
ModCloth CEO Matt Kaness told Retail Dive that the retailer found that women coming into the retailer’s pop-up Fit Shop in San Francisco this summer shopped together regardless of size, and that the company wanted to replicate that all-in inclusivity online as well.
“In response to the ongoing dialog and the survey we did we made this change, but its probably specifically driven by our experience with our experience with the Fit Shop,” Kaness said. “Seeing friends come into the shop, different body types and shapes, looking at the same fashion, trying on the same styles, even wearing the same exact dresses and having it be very collaborative and fun was really impactful. It was like, wow, as an online retailer dipping its toes into offline, it’s kind of happening digitally. But to see it in a three-dimensional space, it changed the way we look at our traditional e-commerce business.”
Kaness said that ModCloth is not necessarily “out to change the industry because that’s not our objective, but we do think that there is an opportunity for the brand to engage and celebrate more women and more women to feel like they can use fashion in a positive way for their personal needs.”
But on its blog, founder Susan Gregg Koger did hint that the industry as a whole may be failing many women by treating “Plus” as a separate category.
“I think there is still an outdated notion in the [fashion] industry that ‘plus’ should be separate because it’s less aspirational, or because that consumer is less fashion-forward, or less willing to spend on herself,” she writes. “But what we’re hearing and seeing from our community is that it is simply not true.”