LOS ANGELES, United States — Clothing giant Forever 21 has announced the launch of a plus-sized activewear line that it hopes will fill a void left by mainstream fitness brands.
The global retailer, who has been producing activewear since 2010, revealed it has teamed up with influential plus-size model Ashley Graham to promote the range, which will be available in US stores and online.
Graham who was recently named as one of Forbes 30 Under 30 entrepreneurs to keep an eye on, is known for promoting positive body image, having produced workout videos for curvy girls as well as being regularly featured in fashion shoots dressed head-to-toe in activewear.
Speaking to People about her plus-size frame Graham said: “I think young girls need to have role models who are curvy, who are talking about their cellulite, who are talking about their backsides, because a lot of people are not doing that.”
With the majority of high street activewear brands marketing their collections towards young, slim women, the launch of Forever 21’s plus-size activewear range highlights the opportunities that exist for brands who are willing to look beyond the status quo.
An issue Poorna Bell, Executive Editor at The Huffington Post UK recently touched upon, when arguing that many activewear brands are missing out on the potential spending power of women aged 30 plus.
“I’m far more likely to make an emotional connection and keep coming back if I see something I can relate to,” Bell argued. A feeling shared by disgruntled Victoria’s Secret customers, who lashed out at the brand last year over their continual use of thin, 20-something models to promote their activewear range.
With so many activewear brands occupying the market, fostering a loyal community with accompanying buying power, is essential to the success of any serious player. Many are now ploughing money into ground-breaking concept stores and inspirational marketing campaigns, but perhaps they’re missing a simpler trick? Like Forever 21, expand the target demographic and the sales will come.