The plus size fashion community was (and still is) up in arms over the news that LOFT will be discontinuing their extended plus size range. The news wasn’t announced in a press release or an official statement…
But hidden in an Instagram comment, in response to several of their plus size customers asking why their (already limited) plus size options seemed to de dwindling.
Here is the screenshot of LOFT’s response to Jennifer Nafziger, a plus size blogger;
The news came as a shock, to say the least. In a time when brands are finally waking up to the cold hard facts that the plus size consumer is here to stay (67%of women in the US alone wear a size 14 or over) why drop the ball this hard?
As mentioned in Vogue Business, globally, the plus-sized market is valued at over $178 billion, with projected 4.3 percent annual growth through 2028according to Acute Market Research.
The numbers don’t lie.
This is why we’ve seen so many brands expanding their plus size range to be more inclusive to larger sizes like we have recently seen with Athleta expanding their plus size selections and with Lane Bryant extending their size offerings to a size 40.
It is painfully clear that this decision is a major mistake, but unfortunately it is not the first mistake LOFT has made with their plus sizes.
“What do you mean?” You ask? Ahh, well let us break a few of these mistakes down, according to us here at TCF:
5 Missteps & Mistakes Loft with Their Plus Size Range
1. They Didn’t Try, or It Definitely Seemed That Way…
It is clear from the way they chose to announce they were getting rid of plus sizes, that they really didn’t put much effort or care into it.
Not having a formal press release, or even a stand alone social media post about their decision was, for many – a slap in the face. It makes it seem like their plus audience was never a true priority for them.
But even before this, we hardly saw inclusion, awareness, or marketing on the same level of their straight size fashion options. It was like, we were just… there.
It’s definitely something that fashion just can’t seem to get right about the plus size market.
2.A Very Limited (and Uninspired) Selection
We (the plus size consumer) lovefashion! And we are no longer accepting the bare minimum… especially in 2021, when we have seen proof that fashion forward plus size fashion can and does exist!
Indie plus size brands are KILLING the game right now, with only a fraction of the budget of the big name retailers (which is why we started the Cultivate Awards).
We are not settling for drab, boring patterns- which Loft only gave us. The cute options they had hardly EVER came in plus. We were often left with the “essentials” and you see how well that worked out for Ryllace, cliff notes version? They too quietly shattered the brand.
SURPRISE: We want the same selections as our size 4 friends. We want to shop right along side the straight size customers!
LOFT certainly isn’t alone in doing this. Many brands that dip their feet into plus sizes are guilty of this practice.
Brands, please stop treating your plus size customers differently than our straight size counterparts. We are just as nuanced, layered, and multifaceted as they are and are not all one “type” of person…
3. Lazy Marketing or Not Enough Advertising…
Taking a look at their social media, they never really embraced their loyal plus size customer base. Their posts hardly feature anyone that’s visibly plus size, even though their plus size selections were often so popular, they would sell out on a regular basis.
Where were the brand campaigns to show off their plus sizes? We know plenty of plus size influencers who would have been perfect for this kind of campaign.
When you don’t invest marketing dollars into the plus size community consistently, you are setting it up to fail. If you don’t get the word out that you have a certain product, it’s so easy to say that it was “unsuccessful.”
When brands don’t reach out to plus size media about new releases or collaborations, how is the average consumer supposed to know about it? It is not like there isn’t a market here! Plus size fashion is growing at DOUBLE the rate of straight size fashion. DOUBLE.
These brands need to realize that the plus size shopper is not their savior. You have to put in the work!
We want options but can’t shop with you if we don’t know you’re out there!
4. The Fit and Sizing Was All The Way Off
Those of us who are plus size, are very familiar with the struggle that is figuring out sizing and fit. For example, my size varies from brand to brand – it’s to be expected since size charts can be all over the place.
But it’s another thing when you have inconsistent sizing within the brand.
To build brand loyalty, the consumer has to know what to expect and trust in the quality and fit of the clothing you sell. Having inconsistent sizing makes you less likely to take the gamble and shop with you.
Again, this isn’t an issue exclusively with LOFT, we definitely see it happen with other retailers, and they all need to get it together. When size 26s fit like 22s, you set up your consumer to not trust nor feel comfortable with shopping, especially since you’ve relegated us to shopping ONLY online…
5. The Disappointing Removal of Plus Sizes from Stores
The writing is always on the wall whenever retailers remove plus from their brick-and-mortar stores. It’s incredibly insulting, and it sends the message loud and clear that you don’t want fat people in your stores.
That’s never okay.
Also? It is such a missed opportunity when relative competition has been bought out and closed up, like Avenue and Catherines! But when you also have major brands like Old Navy and Athleta making a bigger stake in serving the plus size consumer offline and online, this move from LOFT makes no sense.
When you remove options from us, and you are limiting access to clothing for so many. Not everyone can shop online; some folks rely on in-person shopping to get their clothing.
Finding plus sizes in stores shouldn’t be a luxury. It should be a given!
In response to LOFT’s decision to get rid of their plus sizes, Aymie Rondeau, founder of The Curvy Shop, started a petition for LOFT to reverse their decision and keep plus sizes.
The petition is currently at nearly 400 signatures, and counting.
We asked her what she felt about this entire ordeal, and LOFT’s hasty decision to eliminate plus,
Blaming the pandemic on having to discontinue the line doesn’t add up to me. Their plus sized pieces have been constantly selling out over the last year.
They also weren’t sold in stores (or only in very few stores), so would not have been impacted by store or mall closures. Whereas straight-sized clothing would cost a lot more with selling it both online and in stores.
Maybe if they gave up some shelf space to plus sizes in their stores, and openly welcomed plus-sized customers to their retail environments, their financial performance would improve.
The stats don’t lie that plus-sized clothing is outperforming straight-sized clothing.
Aymie’s sentiments echo those of the hundreds of disapointed plus size shoppers in the comment section where this all began.
As for Loft’s response… we reached out several times for comment have yet to hear back. We will be sure to update this post if and when they respond to us, as well as give you any updates, as they come!
What do you think of LOFT discontinuing their plus size range? Did you shop their line? Where are you even aware that they carried plus sizes?
Please let us know your thoughts and feelings in the comments!