recently, the plus-size made a rare reference in the scheme of exports and
imports of many countries, but this seems to be changing. Internationally, plus
size clothing is not a recent phenomenon but the concept is now gaining
momentum in India. Many apparel labels and retailers are realizing the
potential of this growing segment and cashing in on it. Earlier, healthy people
in the country found it
difficult to find clothes suiting their body-types but now retailers and brands
like Revolution, aLL by Pantaloons, Gia by Westside, Mustard and Royal Classic
Polo took fashion to a new level by introducing a different segment for plus
size apparel. PLUSS, XMEX, Geetus and Just Your Size are offering plus-size
merchandise and opening separate outlets for extra-large clothes. They are
constantly adding more sizes and designs as the segment is showcasing great
Retailers say almost 30 per cent of customers look for plus-size clothing, a
segment driven by economic growth and labels such as Bangalore-based Mustard.
The chain has nine stores in six cities that offer up to nine sizes for a
design. Waistlines above 36 inches are considered part of plus-size clothing.
Up till now, heavier customers resorted to neighborhood tailors or stores
abroad for their needs. But now things are changing.
Though, creating the right design and making it look good in large sizes to
satisfy the end user is a challenge, stores are going the extra mile to cater
to this growing demographic. With the number of people seeking large sizes is
witnessing an increase these retailers now enjoy a large dedicated customer
base. Biba, for instance has added sizes up to 46 inches in their mix-n-match
section, where customers can buy the pant-like salwar or churidar separately,
and match these with clothes, kameez or kurtis, of their choice. Bibas section
of pre-matched salwar-kameez sets already has 42, 44 and 46 inch sizes. The
chain is growing at 35-40 per cent every year and the plus-size category is
keeping pace with that.
to these companies offering the plus-size concept, there is tremendous
potential and growth prospect because the supply is less than the demand. Even
Indias largest listed retailer, Pantaloon Retail citing opportunity this
segment represents launched stores under a separate clothing brand, aLL, in
2005, for its large customers. The retailer now operates 17 standalone aLL
stores, besides also stocking this brand at Pantaloon stores.
The plus size market is still growing, and in the next five years it is
expected to continue growing as more brands respond to its demand. Plus size
apparel market (Rs 11,000 crore) still remains untapped. As per the India
Apparel Report 2008, Plus size apparel contributes approximately 188 crore to
the Rs 122,400 crore domestic apparel market. Currently, plus size clothing has
a share of 0.15 per cent of the total Indian apparel market. With an obesity
rate of five per cent in India, the plus size population in the country is in
excess of 150 million, creating a huge scope for plus size clothing. More than
12.1 per cent of males and more than 17 per cent females are overweight,
according to the Third National Family Health Survey 2006. Forty years ago, the
average size of a woman was a size eight, but now the average is seen somewhere
around a size 14.
According to the industry experts, what has really been holding the growth of
this market is the absence of a proper study in body sizing and adoption of
standardized measurements for the entire country. Also the prices are higher
than smaller sizes. Easy availability of such clothing option is another factor
which boosting the market. As more boutiques, retail chains and online stores
are catering to this segment, the rise of the revenues and growth of the market
This article was
originally published in 'The Stitch Times', May, 2012.
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