Marc Jacobs, a successful design label, is set to become the first major fashion house to produce a clothing line catering for women bigger than size 14. Although there is yet to be an official announcement, Robert Duffy, President of the Marc Jacobs label, wrote about the move on Twitter, confirming that the company was in the early stages of discussions. He said that it would be a year before the line was available.
"We are in talks now. For plus sizes," Duffy tweeted. "Listen, we are in the very beginning stages of talking to a partner about plus sizes." "We gotta do larger sizes," he added.
The fashion industry has shown a new interest in fuller-figured women over the past year. Singer Beth Ditto, who is a size 18, has become a fashion icon. She appeared on the cover of Love magazine in 2009 and began designing a collection for high-street store Evans, which caters to sizes 14-32. Model Crystal Renn, who is a size 14 rather than the typical size 8, has become the first plus-size supermodel, appearing on the catwalk for Chanel and Jean Paul Gaultier and the cover of Italian Vogue. If a Marc Jacobs plus-size range were to be successful, other designers could follow suit.
Currently, labels such as Victoria Beckham, Erdem and Chloé do not produce anything larger than a size 14. Many designers have said it is harder to create clothes for larger women.
Last week the New York Times magazine ran a report on the plus-size clothing industry. It talked about the key difficulties encountered by designers, such a the dimensions change for women who wear sizes as they gain different amounts of weight on different areas of their body – some become top heavy, some fill out around the stomach – making it harder to create consistent patterns.
Typically, designers say there is little demand for larger sizes. But Rachel Sproule, Creative Director for Evans, said: "We are due to release the second Beth Ditto at Evans collection in September and we had an amazing response when we launched last year. There really is an appetite for high-fashion-led product within this marketplace."
Marc Jacobs is set to find out how great that demand is in this market. The 46-year-old designer started the Marc Jacobs label in 1986 but concurrently worked at other fashion labels such as Perry Ellis and, from 1997, Louis Vuitton. He has recently launched Little Marc Jacobs childrenswear, Bark Jacobs dog accessories and a fragrance for men called Bang. During New York Fashion Week next month, he will launch Book Marc, a bookshop.
Recently, even Saks Fifth Avenue stores decided to stock plus-sizes, in select outlets.