Thursday, April 30, 2009

Faith 21

Forever 21 will debut a plus-size line, called Faith 21 that will feature items similar to other Forever 21 clothing, including flirty dresses, trendy tops, skirts, jeans and basics such as T-shirts, camisoles, tanks and leggings. The target customer is age 15 to 29. Junior plus sizes include XL, 1X and 2X. Prices will range from $3.80 to $29.80.

"In the past we've had XL sizes and we would sell out of them so quickly," said Heidi Canalizo, a regional manager at Forever 21. "Our customers have been asking for this for so long and in the past few years we've really decided it's time to get into it. Not everyone is a size 2."

Apparently not. In the last 20 years, the rate of obesity among adolescents age 12-19 has more than tripled, increasing from 5 percent to 17.6 percent, according to a National Health and Nutrition Examination survey. Catering to bigger teens could potentially mean bigger bucks for the fashion industry, which has been adversely affected by the recession.

"You're looking at an under $2 billion business that could easily grow to a $4 billion, $5 billion business within a relatively short period of time, like within a year or two," said Marshal Cohen, an analyst for the NPD Group, which studies the clothing market.

"Not only are the [fashion companies] leaving money on the table, they're not even looking at the table. It is a huge opportunity."

Historically, there has been a stigma attached to plus-size clothing, experts said. Many designers don't produce beyond a size 10, even though the average women is a size 14.

"These brands don't want the consumer to aspire to be a plus-size," Cohen said, "they want them to aspire to be that mini-consumer, that slim model that walks down the runway, that's a size 0."

Here's hoping that with the inclusion of more plus size brands that being abnormally thin won't continue to be what's in. Faith 21 will debut in select Forever 21 stores and online May 1st.

(information via

Well, knowing that Forever 21 clothing is notorious for its smaller fit, this "plus size" line will probably fit regular size women just fine.

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