When ModCloth introduced a private label plus-sized line in 2012, it was at the behest of shoppers who loved the site’s retro aesthetic but struggled to find anything that fit—and the offering quickly became its fastest-growing segment.
So why, then, has the San Francisco-based retailer decided to drop the “plus” category, just as the likes of J.C. Penney and Target are finally starting to embrace full-figured fashion?
Because ModCloth believes that shopping categories should be defined by style, not by size.
Based on customer feedback from Fit Shop, ModCloth’s first brick-and-mortar location that opened in San Francisco last July, as well as IRL, its pop-up shop in Los Angeles last April, the retailer realized that women of all shapes and sizes shop together and even try on the same styles.
“I think there is still an outdated notion in the [fashion] industry that ‘plus’ should be separate because it’s less aspirational, or because that consumer is less fashion-forward, or less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,” ModCloth’s Founder Susan Gregg Koger said in a blog post Tuesday. “But what we’re hearing and seeing from our community is that it is simply not true.”
That’s why “plus” is no longer a separate section on the site. Instead, all of the styles available in sizes XS through 4X are merchandised together, while shoppers who want to see what’s available in larger sizes only can click on the “extended sizes” category.
“It’s an all-encompassing term that could, in the future, also contain XXS, petite, tall and other various sizing extensions beyond the standard range,” Modcloth said, noting, “It’s another step towards size- and body-inclusivity.”
Kroger added, “At ModCloth, we certainly aren’t perfect, but by retiring ‘plus’ from our site, we’re making a statement. And that statement will not only provide a better shopping experience for our community today, but hopefully will spark a change in the broader fashion industry in the future.”
Time will tell if the move is a success or ends up alienating ModCloth’s core customer. While some shoppers responded positively to the news on social media, others referred to it as “sweeping [plus-size consumers] under the rug.”