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Fashion for All gains popularity as brands transcend size, gender boundaries

"For decades, most retailers and brands focused on traditional sizing with a few plus size offerings (beyond size 0-12) often hidden at the back of the store. However, it is no longer acceptable for brands to cater only to a specific size or body type. They are now reaching beyond the norm into new categories and products in terms of size, culture, gender and sustainability. This is offering them new opportunities of revenue generation as Millennials and Generation Z are increasingly investing in these categories."

 

Fashion for All gains popularity as brands transcend size genderFor decades, most retailers and brands focused on traditional sizing with a few plus size offerings (beyond size 0-12) often hidden at the back of the store. However, it is no longer acceptable for brands to cater only to a specific size or body type. They are now reaching beyond the norm into new categories and products in terms of size, culture, gender and sustainability. This is offering them new opportunities of revenue generation as Millennials and Generation Z are increasingly investing in these categories.

A prime example is H&M criticized for stocking smaller sizes than even most American brands. The brand has now adjusted its sizes to be more in line with American shapes, and launched a plus size line. Similarly, J.Crew, which received widespread backlash for the launch of its infamous size 000 in 2014, has expanded to size 24 across all merchandise. This extension in sizes is not limited to women’s clothing alone. Even menswear brands are tapping into this growing trend. Bonobos, which earlier offered diverse sizes for only women, has now created more inclusive men sizes.

Brands open up to modest fashion

Modest fashion is becoming a huge rage these days. A 2018 study estimates 40 per cent of current women’sFashion for All gains popularity as brands transcend size gender boundaries luxury ready-to-wear can be categorised as modest or modest-accepted fashion. This is evident from the fact that the designs of Safiya Abdallah, Founder of fashion label Dulce, featured in this summer’s edition of the Cosmopolitan. The magazine described the designer as a ‘proud hijabi-wearing woman opening up a whole world of chic options for Muslim women.’ It also describes the designs of hijab as fresh, fierce and super stylish while still maintaining a modest look.

Inclusive fashion also dominates the marketing campaigns and designs of many fashion brands. H&M has developed an entire collection designed on modest clothing. Just like H&M, six other designers engaged in modest fashion were recently profiled by Good Morning America.

Emergence of gender fluid fashion

Just like inclusive fashion, another concept becoming increasingly popular is gender-fluid fashion. Recent data shows, around 38 per cent Gen Z-ers ‘strongly agree’ that gender no longer defines a person as much as it used to, and 27 per cent millennials felt the same. To cater to the growing demand for off gender fashion, brands like H&M, Gucci, Aeropostale, Zara and Prada are launching gender fluid lines. independent designers too are launching own unisex lines. Besides brands and designers, the concept of genderless fashion is also extending to new store formats. Department stores are experimenting with gender-blending styles. Galeries Lafayette, as an example, opened its flagship on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées last spring, and mixed men’s, women’s and unisex sections throughout the floors.

Sustainability and transparency

Just being size inclusive is not enough for brands these days. They also need to be sustainable. Many large brands and retailers like TomboyX, Girlfried Collective, Sotela and Reformation are working to adapt their practices to becoming more sustainable.

Along with sustainability, brands also need to advocate transparency. Their initiatives towards inclusivity need to be legitimate and authentic. They should also embrace different views, races, gender identifications, styles [and] social connections along with sizes.

 
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