Ready to Share: Style Subscriptions, Plus-Size Rising, and the Science of Shape

Welcome to the latest installment of Ready to Share – a fortnightly round-up of breaking news, opinion and other items of interest for apparel insiders.

In this week’s edition, we’ll be looking at an innovative answer to an eternal sizing dilemma from one of our major sizing partners and highlighting two recent retail trends making waves across the industry.

Science Takes on Shape and Sizing

The North Face has launched a new line of running tights designed to tackle the eternal question of “does my butt look big in this?” The products promise to make women look taller and slimmer using “Vision Science Technology” – an innovative set of techniques that use colors, shapes and patterns to trick the eye into seeing slimmer butts and legs.

Vision Science technology from The North Face
Vision Science technology from The North Face

It’s an approach previously pioneered by VF sister-brand Lee Jeans with its Body Optix line, and a natural fit for the athleisure market. As Brittany Beratlis of The North Face explained, “the visual science works best on garments that are tight to body”.

But do the tights actually work? Kelly Bastone of Outside Online put a pair of Contoured Tech High-Rise Tights to the test and was impressed by the flattering combination of fit and functionality.

Plus-Size on the Rise

A recent piece from Coresight Research highlighted a report from the NPD Group showing the women’s plus-size sector has been outpacing the overall U.S. apparel market. There’s no sign of a slowdown, either – the NPD Group forecasts that the category will continue to grow at an average of 4% annually, reaching $24 billion in 2020.

That’s a trend that’s been reflected in a new wave of plus-size retailers such as Torrid and Eloquii who’ve prospered by catering for younger and more trend-conscious plus-size shoppers. Meanwhile, traditional retailers such as Kohl’s, Walmart and JCPenney, are also busy reviving or expanding their plus-size offerings.

Fit Finder in action at City Chic
Fit Finder in action at City Chic

Curvier women have long lamented the lack of stylish clothes in larger sizes and it seems that designers, department stores, retailers and e-commerce sites have finally started to listen. That’s a change we actively endorse as Fit Finder continues to power millions of accurate plus-size recommendations every month on sites such as City Chic and Ulla Popken.

Subscription Box Breakdown

As the apparel subscription box craze intensifies, the National Retail Federation explored the numbers behind it in this quarter’s Consumer View. Here’s a quick look at the highlights:

  • 73% of existing subscription box customers have started using more of these types of services in the last year.
  • Men are more likely than women to use subscription services.
  • Under-35s are the most active subscription box users.
  • Retention remains a challenge – the average length a consumer keeps a subscription service is only 125 days.

We’ll be back in two weeks with another edition of Ready to Share. If you’ve any news to share in the meantime, or would like to connect with us at events such as Drapers Digital or eTail Europe, then please feel free to get in touch!