Oliver Willis

Diversity Win: Companies Using Plus-Size Models Booming, Campaigns With Size Zeroes Struggle

Companies are finding financial success in diverse model sizes while companies that use thin models are treading water.

“Morry Brown, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, says that the use of models of non-typical sizes is boosting sales at a number of brands. Since Aerie, the millennial-friendly underwear label owned by American Eagle Outfitters AEO, began using unretouched, non-sample sized models such as Lawrence in 2014, sales have boomed: They grew by 20% in 2015, and by 21% in the third quarter of 2016. When H&M used Ashley Graham, arguably America’s most famous plus-size model, to front a campaign and walk a runway show in early 2016, the fast fashion label saw sales in the rise by 7% in the first half of that year. ‘Customers want a more democratic viewpoint,’ he says. ‘There’s an opportunity to get to customers that are underserved instead of marketing based on an idealized image.’

Meanwhile, some competitors associated with heavily Photoshopped, size zero models are struggling. Abercrombie & Fitch laid off 150 employees on Jan 25 and reported $13.64 million in operating income for the third quarter of 2016, down over 70% from a year ago. Once-highflying American Apparel filed for bankruptcy a second time last November and recently sold its assets for $88 million.” [READ MORE]