Finding size-inclusive sustainable clothing can be a challenge. Many brands have been reluctant to offer extended sizing because of the need for additional expertise in designing larger styles and the risk of not selling enough inventory. This is compounded by the reality that many sustainable brands are small, which makes it harder for them to absorb the initial costs.
Sustainable retailer Amour Vert, however, is taking the leap into size inclusivity with the help of Stitch Fix. The companies have partnered to release a capsule wardrobe exclusively through Stitch Fix’s Freestyle shopping platform featuring 17 of Amour Vert’s most popular silhouettes in sizes XS through 3X. Stitch Fix’s Freestyle platform allows shoppers to order items individually instead of ordering a curated box of styles, making it easy for consumers to access the extended sizing options offered by Amour Vert.
For those who follow sustainable fashion and size inclusivity, the partnership between Amour Vert and Stitch Fix is a big deal. The brands are breaking ground on important territory by bringing more size options to the eco-friendly market. Here’s what Loretta Choy, Stitch Fix’s Chief Merchandising Officer, had to share about the partnership.
Olivia O’Bryon: Why are extended size options uncommon for sustainable brands?
Loretta Choy: Size-inclusive fashion is far from mainstream. Expanding product lines to include extended sizes has been a challenge for all brands, including those prioritizing sustainability, because it requires different expertise in fit, size, design – as well as a new customer base to market to. In addition, brands are increasingly under pressure to use resources efficiently and have less flexibility to try new initiatives that may not have an immediate financial payoff.
Stitch Fix has become a go-to resource for brands to test extended sizing. We have years of experience designing for the plus-size customer and listening to her feedback, so our partners have confidence that their product will succeed – and that they’ll learn a lot in the process.
OO: What strategies have helped Amour Vert and Stitch Fix enter this space?
LC: We have a shared passion and excitement to bring more sustainable, stylish options to plus-size women and knew the Amour Vert styles would resonate well with Stitch Fix clients because they love the pieces we offer in core women’s sizes today. The partnership really merges our combined strengths – Amour Vert’s expertise in sustainable fashion and Stitch Fix’s deep understanding of the fit and style nuances for extended sizes.
Leveraging our data and insights, Stitch Fix reviewed the size grading across all styles within the collection and provided guidance around the key points of measurements for sizes 1X–3X to help Amour Vert design its first-ever extended size collection.
Access to our fit models was also a critical part of the design process. The team conducted at least six fit sessions with the popular Elma wrap dress, for example, which led to design updates like removing some pleats in the shoulders for this new size range. For woven styles, we incorporated more darts and minimized details like ruffles and pleats to keep the design feeling classic and feminine.
OO: How did Amour Vert and Stitch Fix pick which styles to offer in extended sizes?
LC: Given this is the very first time plus customers will have access to Amour Vert, we wanted to focus on offering their well-known, most-loved pieces. Amour Vert identified silhouettes that have been best-sellers for over a decade, Stitch Fix leveraged insights around current top-performing styles and prints, like dressy yet versatile pieces, and then we aligned on 17 styles for the capsule collection including feminine wrap dresses, breezy knits, and classic blouses.
OO: How is partnering with Stitch Fix advantageous for entering the extended size market?
LC: For over five years, Stitch Fix has been committed to offering extended sizes through our private labels and brands we think our clients will love. Our roster today includes styles from over 100 brands including Universal Standard, Beyond Yoga, Madewell, Adidas and Levi’s.
There are many reasons brands are coming to Stitch Fix for help launching extended sizes. They typically don’t have the design expertise and resources to get started, or the existing customer base to sell the product to. We’re a great low-risk resource to test and learn with extended sizing – almost like an incubator for our brand partners to learn about Plus fashion.
Our tech design team deeply understands the unique grading system for Plus sizing, we have a robust wear-test process, and detailed feedback from clients to help us continually evolve our understanding of her size and style needs. And we have the customers – Amour Vert considered launching the new collection on their own shopping channels, too, and ultimately chose to start exclusively on Stitch Fix given our loyal Plus following.
OO: What does Stitch Fix see as the future of sustainable brands and extended sizing?
Size inclusivity is such an important, necessary movement in fashion and we’re passionate about leading the charge. By serving as a resource for brands to introduce extended sizing, our hope is that we’re helping the industry at large become more size inclusive – which will also include more sustainably produced apparel.