Contemporary plus size fashion -- a segment within the plus size fashion industry that is quickly on the rise and I am here for it. And I am not alone here in the excitement. But, as plus size designers give it to us, there has been a bit of pushback with pricing and a few other details that needed to be clarified and shared, explaining just what Contemporary fashion is... and how it contributes to the Rise of Contemporary Plus Size Fashion...
Why Contemporary Plus Size Fashion?
Well, ask yourself this... "Where does a fashion forward plus size woman shop when she wants more from the mall chains and fast fashion but isn't ready to break the bank on high-end designer wear?"
She Rocks Contemporary.
This has been a long time coming -- ever since I started my blog, The Curvy Fashionista, while working for a department store in my former life. There were plenty of moments where I would stroll theses brand's sections wishing that it was carried in more sizes, my size. But while I have the retail background, I realize most do not and with the growth of the plus size fashion industry, it is now needed to break things down a bit to help you along your shopping journey...
In between bridge and better fashion, lies Contemporary Fashion. It is more than just a price range that separates this segment, although it plays a HUGE part of this classification. Contemporary fashion also appeals to a specific lifestyle customer. Fits are more body conscious. Hemlines short, but not too short. Mid to lower rises are apparent. The choice of fabrics and textures are bolder, less muted. Statements are made here. Prices are a bit higher than the mass chains and mass retailers. These pieces last quite a while and over many seasons in this category.
BUT, this is only emerging now in plus size fashion, and I feel that it is important for us to learn a bit more about this segment to better help us shop and maneuver through things. While we may know these departments as Juniors and Bridge, Contemporary fashion appeals to both, acting as a unique gateway into higher end labels.
THE RISE OF CONTEMPORARY PLUS SIZE FASHION
In this NY Times article contemporary fashion is broken down: "In the 1970′s a new category, "contemporary," came into being. "It was for the junior growing up who didn't feel comfortable in neither junior clothes nor her mother's clothes," explains Kalman Ruttenstein, senior vice president for fashion direction at Bloomingdales."
So in this, you will find that there are designers and retailers who do not appeal to you, whom you do not like, or that are too expensive for your liking... this is okay. THIS is normal; this is the normal growth of the fashion industry -- options, segmentation, and choice.
As I was researching this, to bring a well-rounded reference post to you, I found this great read over on ehow. On classifying contemporary fashion, eHow shares "In general, the contemporary price point is significantly lower than a luxury brand price point. This doesn't, however, mean that contemporary brands are too terribly affordable for the average gal. Contemporary pieces run, on average, somewhere between $150 to $800 depending on the item. While these prices are still high, they're much less expensive than luxury brands, which can run upwards of $4000 to $5000 depending on the product."
So when you see the likes of Monif C, Jibri, Rachel Pally, CarmaKoma, and even now, the new Eloquii giving us trends, fashion, and styling at different levels of prices that we may not normally have been accustomed to, know that this is normal and sits right there with the DVF's, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Tracy Reese's, Rebecca Minkoff's, BCBG's and various other designers that we salivate over -- In the Contemporary Plus Size Segment.
This doesn't mean that one segment is better than the other; it means that as the industry grows and starts giving us the fashion we covet so will the options and the ranges of fashion, price, quality, and accessibility.
Unless it is a hero piece that I know will sell out, I won't buy it at retail (blame this on my 13 years in retail), so I stalk my favorite sample sale sites to score a great deal! I shop sale. I mix my big box store purchases with my scores from various designers to create my own style and look...
If you love fast fashion, great! I do too! I do love mixing high/low pieces together. But it is important to understand that change is happening and as we ask for more and get it, we must be able to recognize what is happening, what to expect, and where to get it!
If you wish to know more about this, I wrote a fun hefty piece, Understanding the New Plus Size Segments!
What do you think? Does this help you out? Does this shed a bit of light on everything for you? Let's talk about it.