Market for plus-size clothing booms

Demand for plus-size clothing soars as a quarter of British women are now size 18.

More than six million British women are now officially overweight, causing a boom in the plus-size clothing market.

In the last five years, there has been a 45% increase in plus-size clothing – compared to only 15% in the overall womenswear market – as now a quarter of British women are a size 18 or more.

‘Given the numbers of plus-size women – with a third wearing XL clothes or bigger – these consumers can no longer be considered a minority,’ said senior fashion analyst at Mintel, Tamara Sender.

Providing clothing for these women has become a billion pound market, bringing in £3.8 billion a year, and it is rapidly rising.

However, larger women have told researchers for Mintel that more still needs to be done to provide clothes that are fashionable and look good on a bigger frame.

‘Rising levels of obesity in the UK mean that plus-size consumers are increasing and these shoppers are looking for improved choice and more fashionable garments,’ said Sender.

Fashion designers have now started to cotton on to the high demand in stylish plus-size clothing.

This week, designer Marc Jacobs has revealed plans to launch his own plus-size clothing range, producing a line in size 14 and up.

He is not the first designer to break from convention and realise the potential in the plus-size market.

In February this year, designer Mark Fast made waves at London Fashion Week when he premiered size 12 and 14 models on his runway.

Some stores are also revolutionising their shops in response to the plus-size boom. Marks and Spencer has moved towards offering larger sizes in its fashions currently available to slimmer shoppers, while Debenhams is even sampling size 16 mannequins.

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