The Condé Nast-owned glossy has partnered with the plus-size retailer in a deal that includes a fashion collection, two special issue magazines, print and digital sponsored editorial, a video series and advertising.
Seedlings of the partnership were planted in 2013 when Linda Heasley joined Lane Bryant as chief executive officer with a mission to increase the visibility in the media of her company’s customer in order to emphasize “body positivity.” She said she wanted to change Lane Bryant from “being a size business to being a fashion business,” and that the media would play a crucial role.
“We met with a lot of the publishers and said we need to increase the content for this consumer,” Heasley said. “The reaction [among publishers] in 2013, was the genuine belief that they were covering the industry for this client.”
She stressed to the media that roughly two-thirds of U.S. women are “plus-size” and that they account for a large share of the $100 billion women’s apparel market.
While the ceo noted that definition of plus-size is a bit murky and “part of the challenge” — the fashion world puts plus-size at beginning at eight or 10 and above, while Lane Bryant starts it at size 12 or 14 — spending is at least $19 billion a year. Heasley offered the plus-size consumer’s spending power is closer to between $25 billion and $40 billion. That data caught the attention of Glamour, which signed on to work with the brand.
Connie Anne Phillips, publisher and chief revenue officer, called the collaboration “so necessary” and insisted it was more than simply about potential revenue. In her words, the deal presented the ability to tell a story that Glamour readers (many of whom, going by Heasley’s statistics, are plus-size) “craved.”
While Glamour, similar to rival glossies, produces scant plus-size coverage compared to its broader fashion stories, the partnership gives readers more to focus on. Former plus-size model Lauren Chan, who is also an associate fashion writer at Glamour, underscored the need for such coverage. Although the title has been “making waves” since 2009 when it included Crystal Renn and Ashley Graham in its September and November issues that year, Chan said: “We’ve been watching plus-size fashion evolve for quite some time, but the past 12 months have shown an exponential amount of growth.”
Chan, along with a handful of Glamour editors, put together a 96-page special issue, which goes on sale today for a steep $12.99, that is devoted to plus-size fashion. There will be 115,000 copies on newsstands and 50,000 copies in select Lane Bryant stores, which will be offered as a gift with purchase.
Plus-size media darling Graham, who appears in Lane Bryant’s “This Body” campaign, fronts the issue, which is supported by Lane Bryant ads. (The retailer’s ads will also appear throughout the year in Glamour in print and online.) Glamour will produce another special issue in September to coincide with a fall collection dubbed “Glamour x Lane Bryant.”
The collection, which will appear in roughly 75 Lane Bryant stores and online, includes selected looks throughout the year. The fall collection hits stores in October and consists of six to eight pieces. It will be in stores through holiday in November and December, with eight to 10 styles each month. Pricing decisions have yet to be made. The clothing line was created in consultation with the editors, according to Glamour, which said the deal is a “licensed royalty agreement with minimal guarantees.”
But consumers don’t have to wait until the fall to experience styling tips from Glamour. In its stores, Lane Bryant has trained associates who worked with editors to select trend-driven styles. (Shoppers can identify these salespeople by branded buttons affixed to their uniforms that read “Styled By Glamour.”)
Lastly, Lane Bryant has capitalized on the partnership through a branded three-part video series, which features plus-size models Iskra Lawrence, Precious Lee and Georgia Pratt. Those videos, called “How to Wear Everything You’ve Been Told Not To,” can be accessed on video.glamour.com.
Calling the partnership “open-ended,” Heasley said that moving ahead she hopes to influence Glamour to put plus-size models on its cover — not just on the special issue covers or, as in the past, inside.
“This is a democratizing platform,” the ceo said of the media partnership, before turning to the plus-size consumer. “There’s a lot of judgment coming at our client and a lot of naysayers saying ‘this woman is unhealthy.’ The reality is this woman wants what other women in American want. She wants fashion…she wants to be beautiful with no judgment.”