Hanes Just My Size Bonds With Bloggers


While fashion bloggers have been wielding more power with each runway season, Hanes' Just My Size is betting the plus-sized bloggers have even more to say, wooing them with a fashion event this week in New York. And it's just part of an effort, the Winston-Salem, N.C.-based company says, to use social media to build its connection to one of America's largest -- if most-spurned -- consumer groups.

Marketers, retailers and even mainstream fashion media have certainly stepped up efforts to connect with heavier women, yet "she is getting tired of being ignored," Marie Teza, director and general manager of JMS, tells Marketing Daily. Even though more than half of American women are plus-sized, with the average woman wearing a size 14, "it's still a very underserved market."

By beefing up its social presence through events like this, its digital ad programs, and use of Facebook, "we're hoping to increase our connection and presence and expand beyond traditional print. We know how much time the plus-sized woman spends online, and we know how passionate she is about finding clothing that fits and looks good."



Those blogging about plus-sized fashion probably have more even more credibility with real women than the typical fashionista. "So many plus-size consumers look to these bloggers to give their opinions about new and existing collections," Gwen DeVoe -- a former model and fashion-show producer, who founded "Full-Figured Fashion Week" last year as a way to get more attention for the category -- tells Marketing Daily, particularly because these lines get less coverage in other press. "And the fact that most are actually plus-size helps the credibility. It's one of the best ways for women to find out what's new in the industry."

Just My Size's 80,000 Facebook fans are also vocal, says Teza, and quick to make suggestions to improve the products. "Recently, we had several women comment about how they'd like tops that were a little longer. As a result, we've added about an inch and half to tops."

Teza estimates the size of the market at $18 billion, but DeVoe -- who is rolling "Full-Figured Fashion Week" out to Los Angeles -- thinks it may be as high as $25 billion this year. "With the addition of plus-size collections from mainstream designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier, and retailers such as Faith21+ [from Forever 21], plus-size consumers are shopping more and more."

Still, the category has not snapped out of its recessionary slump yet. The NPD Group reports that while the overall women's apparel business is up almost 4% for the 12 months ending in August, sales of plus-size clothing are up just 2.4%.

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