Elitism in fashion is on its way out and we have the rise of the Millennials to thank for it.
Marketers are literally chomping at the bit to appeal these consumers aged 18-28 as they are considered to be the holy grail in this depressed economy. Why? They have the most disposable cash and are considered to be the tastemakers of today as well as tomorrow.
Millennials are different from other consumer groups as they are "eager to be entertained and informed yet [they] are resistant to the familiar...in-your-face 20th-century approach". They are a "generation of free downloads, easy access to everything — what the American psychologist Nathan Brody calls 'the entitled generation'". Brands, as such, have been forced to create new strategies to speak to these consumers in order to simply survive.
It is no wonder then that exclusive world of fashion has begun to open up lately - it has no other choice! That is why everyone recently is trying to get on the diffusion/capsule collection bandwagon, and also why we are seeing an increased presence of brands on the web outside of etail. Millennials, after all, are known for their love of wired interactive connectivity and brands as such are scrambling to catch up.
A prime example of this is Nowness a new website launched by LVMH. There are no products being directly sold on the site and no mention of the site's ownership by LVMH. In fact, the only press they get from the website is when a product from one of their lines is mentioned every so often. It may seem strange but the main goal of this website is to generate goodwill via remarkable experiential editorials, and also to stand as demonstration of the brand's commitment to their consumers opinions/interests. This is essential when marketing to Millennials as they will seek out other brands if they feel that they are being ignored, and in a market being propped up by their purchases their departure can be deadly blow.
So, what does this mean for the plus size fashionista you may be asking yourself? It means for the first time there is a chance new voices to be heard in fashion, and plus size voices are breaking through as we speak. Marie Claire was the first to jump on the bandwagon of plus size editorials by having plus sized columnist Ashley Falcon join their team. The blogosphere also is a heavy hitting sphere of influence in this regard as it is changing the way fashion is being viewed. Take Gabi of Young, Fat, & Fabulous - she is now vlogging for Vogue Italia Curvy, which is a whole website owned by Vogue Italia devoted to plus size high fashion. Or the fact that Stéphanie of Le Blog de Big Beauty is being paid to create a plus size collection for La Redoute.
I mean I know we still have a long way to go until parity is reached, but for the first time in a long time it actually feels like my voice is being heard.