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Body diversity takes another step forward as Kmart widens offer and Torrid shows at NYFW

As New York Fashion Week nears its close, this celebration of the slim has also had its plus-size element with Torrid helping the event to be more size-diverse. Meanwhile Kmart is also taking a deep dive into a positive approach to plus-size and is rebranding its offer as “fabulously sized”.

The two initiatives come as more and more women fall into the ‘plus-size’ category but demand that their size range is seen more as a fashion norm.

Kmart has addressed this and launched a new campaign called I Can. It celebrates a variety of shapes and sizes and sees its own brands, including Jaclyn Smith, Joe Boxer and Basic Editions, offering an extended size range that takes in 1X to 5X.

The company said this makes it the only US retailer to offer all of its apparel brands in such a wide size choice.

The company’s CMO Kelly Cook told Forbes that the move came in response to customer research. “When we reached out to our members on social media, they told us we needed to have a better assortment and that we should we call it something different,” Cook said. “They absolutely love this whole mantra of ‘fabulously sized.’”

Kmart is closing a number of stores as part of owner Sears Holdings’ plan to transform Sears and Kmart’s fortunes and targeting as wide a consumer base as possible can’t hurt it. Women with fuller figures currently make up 22% of its shoppers and if this can be increased, that has to be good news. Of those who currently shop there, neatly a third do so almost once a month and, again, any increase on that frequency will be good news for the firm.

Meanwhile, Torrid became the first big name plus-size brand to stage an NYFW show yesterday

While the clothes stuck with Torrid’s mass-market positioning, the show was as much about making a social statement as a fashion one and the inclusion of the 10 finalists from its third annual model search really rammed home the message about inclusivity.

“Over 60% of the women in America are plus-size [or] considered plus-size,” said Elizabeth Munoz, the brand’s head of product and design. “The fashion industry can keep passing and keep saying I’m not going to acknowledge that but there’s going to be a point where we can’t ignore the fact that most of the available population to sell to is a size that they don’t make.”

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