Retail is experiencing its worst economic downturn in the last ten years. A variety of factors have contributed to this precipitous fall, not the least of which is widespread discrimination and alienation of the majority of women in their marketplace.
Lane Bryant’s marketing strategy is brilliant and a perfect example of why they are succeeding in these tough economic times. You don’t see Lane Bryant using thin tall models in their clothing, nor petite full-figured for that matter (this is a problem). What is apparent is that whether you are tall or petite, you know as a full-figured woman to shop at Lane Bryant.
A double standard, however, remains when it comes to the use of petite models. The designers exclusively (and deliberately) use tall models when advertising petite clothing. As a result, most petite women don’t even know which clothing designers and retailers carry petite clothing sizes. Market confusion and alienation is surely not a winning combination.
Using models which represent the real market is one key business strategy retailers should be implementing. Another big idea: how about advertising directly to your petite market? Again, Lane Bryant applies this strategy by targeting their advertisements and they know what their consumer wants.
However, Michael Kors, Vera Wang, Ralph Lauren, BCBG Max Azria and Calvin Klein are known as the “big five” of high end designers offering petite sizing, but most petite women don’t know this. Why? Because they ignore petite women by not using petite models in their fashion shows or advertising campaigns, nor do they even mention that dirty little word “petite” in their campaigns. If you’re lucky, it’s listed in the storefront window!
Here’s a recent example of blatant disregard exercised by a huge name retailer. Ann Taylor, recently relaunched their “Loft Line,” a lesser expensive casual line which offers petites, in addition to their parent label. Yet they have no intention of advertising “petites” in their mainstream campaigns. They recently approached Bella Petite to promote them and they did not want to do a campaign rollout utilizing actual petite models. They wanted us to promote them for “free” and, to add insult, featuring tall models! I wonder if retailers really believe that they are entitle to free advertising? If they can’t pay to advertise how do they expect to stay in business?
Now I ask you, do you think petite women identify with and know that Ann Taylor Petites or Loft Petites exist? (Ann Taylor Petites pic shown above) What do you have to say to this retailer?
Better yet how about retail designing clothing that fits petite women, so we don’t have to have to get them altered. There is a real reason petite women are spending less money in this recession. It is clear to me that retail needs to revamp their strategy if they want to see profits rise. In my view there’s nothing complicated about what they need to do and that is scale the clothing properly and advertise to your consumer!
And my message to petite women is to stop continuing to sit back and do nothing, otherwise the status quo will remain the same and that is zero market place identity even with the few designers offering petite lines. They’ll continue to feature tall models in clothing and not advertise to you either. And many designers will continue not to scale properly, so clothing fits us.
This can all be changed by petite women uniting by the millions here on Bellapetite.com to send retail a message it’s time for change!
Get a fashion magazine you can identify with register now. PETITE Women 5′5″ & under it’s time to join the petite women’s fashion movement.