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Demand for plus-size apparels growing in India
Jan '12
Apparel retailers in India are turning their attention to the plus-size segment and are introducing more designs and sizes to cater to the growing demand for extra-large clothes.

Plus-size clothing is meant for overweight people, who generally have waistlines over 36 inches.

In some metro cities, it is estimated that around 30 percent of customers are on the lookout for plus-size clothing. These shoppers want clothes that would make them look and feel good.

Delhi-based Biba Apparels Pvt. Ltd, which retails traditional salwar-kameez for women, was among the pioneers to offer a plus-size category for its customers.

Speaking to fibre2fashion, Mr. Siddhartha Bindra, Managing Director of Biba, said, “We have been in the plus-size category for more than 15 years. We already have a loyal customer base and around 10 percent of our sales come from the larger size clients. Our business in this segment is growing at about 35-40 percent.”

Price-wise, however, these clothes are a little costlier. Mr. Bindra informs, “We charge around 5-10 percent extra for the larger sizes because of the material used and cost of production, viz. fabric, embroidery, embellishments, etc., which increase the costs substantially.”

Ms. Mamta Rawal, owner of Delhi-based boutique Bella Ragazza, which caters only to plus-sized customers, says, “The need for plus-sized clothes is increasing these days. There is more consciousness about health and other aspects among people, but for some medical reasons or may be because of family histories, they tend be on the heavier side, which, of course, they cannot change.”

“Another reason for growing demand for plus-size clothes is that people who are on the heavier side also want to look good. They are also wearing more stylish clothes, irrespective of their sizes, as they too want to stand out in a crowd,” she adds.

However, designing clothes for a plus-sized customer is a challenge. Ms. Rawal says, “The challenge is to understand the body type of the client and make sure that the apparel does not make her look bigger than the actual size. We have to design the couture and camouflage the garments in such a manner that it gives a tapered look and make the client look slimmer.”

“Another important challenge is to get the job done rightly from the tailors. It is very easy to design for the leaner people but to design for plus-size people and to make them look slimmer by at least 10-15 percent is a big responsibility on the shoulders of a designer,” she explains.

Mentioning about growing demand for plus-size, she informs, “At my bridal couture store, there is a 40 percent rise this year in the demand for larger clothes, compared to last year.”

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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