Plus size people often find it difficult to find a trendy and perfect fit outfit for themselves as not many brands and outlets promote them. But things are changing. Last year, Lakme Fashion Week had dedicated a session to this section.
Closer home, Pune-based entrepreneur Raksha Shetty observed that those wearing XL, XXL or XXXL size clothes always feel neglected. That motivated her to launch XXLLENT.com, a portal offering plus size clothing up to 8XL for both women and men. Their marketing partner is IBD India, a Hakuhodo Percept Company and they have seen a 40 per cent growth since their launch.
LACK OF OPTIONS
To know more about her initiative, we caught up with Shetty at her office on MG Road. “I had gone shopping for a family member who is about 3XL. Most stores we visited had clothes which they called free size but none up to the mark. They did not have anything nice or in vogue. Most buyers in such situations end up saying, ‘I have to take something, so let’s just buy this’. This got me thinking about the deficit of plus size clothing. A year back, I started researching further about it,” she says.
NO STANDARD SIZE
While researching, she found that India is the third most obese country in the world and still the clothing market is one of the most unexplored ones. “I realised that this is one sector which has a lot of potential and a huge possibility in the future. But it’s not an easy sector. In the USA and UK, they have standard sizing chart but in India, there’s no such chart. I had to work hard on getting it right, which involved a lot of customer feedback,” she says.
The challenge, she says, in plus size clothing is that as and when people grow obese, their body stops growing in a proportionate manner. “Some women are heavier on the lower side and others on the upper side. That’s why it was difficult to understand the right size,” says Shetty.
To address the problem, Shetty, who launched XXLLENT in February this year across India, offers the option of customised clothing. Throwing more light on it, she says, “About 90 to 95 per cent of the clothing can be customised to your exact fit. You put in your measurement and the exact size will come to your doorstep. We are trying to make shopping a little more easier for our customers.”
The website has a team of designers based in Pune.
FOCUSING ON WESTERN WEAR
XXLLENT focuses more on Western clothing compared to Indian. The reason, says Shetty, is that people prefer going to their local tailors for Indian outfits. “I believe that the Indian wear section doesn’t really work that well in the online industry because of this. When it comes to Western wear, local tailors charge a bomb. Then, you have the headache of picking up the fabric, and in case the fabric falls short, getting it is a tedious process and it costs even more. So people find our pricing economical and designs nice,” Shetty says.
She further adds that when it comes to couture section, people still prefer buying outfits after personally checking them out. “When they are paying a hefty sum for outfits, they prefer seeing it first,” she says.
Shetty says that they try and build a lot of body positivity among their customers. “For us, body positivity is not about being size zero but being comfortable with your size. We try and promote that a lot. There are many people who are comfortable wearing sleeveless or short dresses despite being on the heavier side. If people are comfortable and confident, they shouldn’t be bothered about wearing the dresses they want.”
A QUICK TIP
Shetty says that those buying plus size clothing should always know their size. “Most people don’t know their right size and that’s when they go wrong. Always measure your size before ordering online,” she says before signing off.