Amazonian entrepreneurs bet on the plus size market and promote empowerment through fashion

Priscilla Peixoto – Cenarium Magazine

MANAUS – Increasingly in evidence and occupying space in the fashion world and apparel stores, the plus size market has been a good business plan for those who want to undertake and, at the same time, expand options for people who wear ‘XL’. In Manaus, it is possible to find several virtual and physical stores willing to meet the needs of this public, empowering and promoting self-esteem through clothing.

Ana Ferreira, 43, is an example of an entrepreneur who invested in the business. Focused on fashion for fat women, for five years, the woman from Manaus is firm in her purpose of dressing the female public. After losing her job and realizing that fashion was still rather scarce for models who wear larger sizes, Ana adopted the store not only as a source of income, but as a life mission.

“I remember that the loss of my job, which until then I thought was everything for me, coupled with the difficulty of finding models that met our needs, was one of the reasons for opening the store, although I already had sizes that were up to 48 and you didn’t have much choice. We were lucky to find and take what we had”, recalls the entrepreneur.

Empowerment and options

With the store titled @mulherão_modas_plus_manaus, Ana says that the name and the intention are not only related to the physical form, but the ability to see herself in various ways in the context of the expression ‘mulherão’ (big woman). “It is about a woman who knows she is capable, you know? It’s about loving yourself”, Ana explains.

According to the self-employed, currently the market already has more options for the ‘XL’ public, something positive for promoting local plurality, without giving up the market trends always present in the physical and virtual store that has become the main livelihood of the entrepreneur. “I always keep an eye on what’s hot to serve our wonderful chubby girls”, she says.

Clothes available at Ana Ferreira’s store (Reproduction/ Mulherão Moda Plus Size)

Caring for others

Just as for Ana Ferreira, the plus size model and entrepreneur Karina Lasmar, 26, also bet on the universe of women’s fashion focused on the ‘XL’. With several plus size beauty contests in the history, Karina began to study possibilities to undertake in the industry in 2014.

Owner of @klmodaplussize, she points out that the differential of the online store is the personalized service for customers and affordable prices. For Karina, more than the act of selling, the store provides the welcoming and care for a public sometimes discriminated in the city’s stores.

With products full of colors and modeling, Karina highlights that the clothes are carefully chosen to enhance the customers. “My products are different from the traditional, straight and uncut clothing that used to make overweight women wear. Today, women like it, want it, should it, and can be fashionable in the same way as thin women. Feeling good and comfortable is what matters”, she explains.

The virtual store has also become the main tool to support the house, with two years consolidated in the market, she says she has already served more than a thousand women. During this period, the entrepreneur says she has been able to share remarkable moments focused on self-esteem and empowerment of customers, who in some cases were already discredited in being able to wear something and feel beautiful.

“It’s not just about clothes, you know? it’s about self-care, care, and the freedom to choose, to look in the mirror and like what you see. Once I was touched by a girl who came here and found what she wanted so much and thanked me in tears, it seems so simple, but for those who pass by, they know how important it is”.

Models available at Karina’s virtual store (Reproduction/ KL Moda Plus Size)

Market data

According to the Brazilian Apparel Association (Abravest), between the years 2018 to 2019, the plus size fashion market will move around 7 billion reais in Brazil. According to Abravest, the sector showed growth of 21% from 2018 to 2020.

According to the Brazilian Plus Size Association (ABPS), created in 2016 aiming to represent retail companies and inputs inserted in the production chain to the plus size public, the market is more consolidated in the United States where plus size brands have been operating for over 100 years.

An article published by Vogue magazine in October 2021, states that there are more than 600 physical stores in operation in the United States and expanding to other countries and brings as an example Torrid, a global giant and reference when it comes to plus size clothing.

From 2018 to 2019, the plus size fashion market will move around 7 billion reais in Brazil (Isak Tiner/The New York Times)

According to Vogue, in 2020 alone, the company, which is aware of trends and goes against traditional standards, made more than $973 million from online sales. In Brazil, besides the small ventures and boutiques, it is also possible to find large stores that offer plus size options.

Ashua Curve & Plus Size, Lojas Renner’s own brand specializing in sizes from 46 to 54 is one such place. However, the brand, created in 2016, still does not cover all the states of the country with physical stores. It currently has nine own stores in three Brazilian states (SP, RS and RJ), and 15 spaces within Renner units in seven states Alagoas, Distrito Federal, Minas Gerais, Pará, Pernambuco, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.

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