A little over a week after Tim Gunn excoriated the fashion industry for its plus-sized hostility, H&M has decided to pull plus-sized clothes out of all New York City locations, according to Revelist, an online news site aimed at millennial women.
Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn have all seen plus-sized clothes pushed out to make room for home goods, beauty and sportswear — a process that has apparently been ongoing for several months.
When asked where to buy plus-sized clothes, H&M has been referring customers online.
“The assortment in the stores is evolving as we continuously assess the product mix, which is decided by each store’s specific prerequisites when it comes to e.g. its size and the customers’ requests,” noted an H&M spokesperson. What this evolution will mean for H&M’s plus sized lineup worldwide remains to be seen.
Last year, The NPD Group found that the plus-size market accounted for 17 percent of the market, despite the fact that far more than 17 percent of the nation’s shoppers would be categorized as plus-sized. In the U.S. women’s apparel market in general, plus-sized clothing sales were up 5 percent in the 12 months ending Feb. 2015, to $19.8 billion, and 3 percent in the 12 months ending Feb. 2016 to $20.4 billion.
Which means some retailers — ModCloth and JCPenney most publicly — are embracing the trend.
H&M, on the other hand, seems to be sticking with the “only thin people should be wearing our clothes and feeling good about it” line that is more common in fashion and hence has done little marketing in the space. Its fall 2016 campaign included plus-size model Ashley Graham for a collection offered in both straight and plus sizes, but its plus-size options were only available online.
A move to swap plus sizes in-store to accommodate sportswear could also be a long-term blunder since even Lululemon — the trend’s instigator — said that the market has already peaked and is unwinding some.