Fruit of the Loom is relaunching and expanding its plus-size underwear line Fit for Me.

This story first appeared in the August 5, 2015 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Although the line has been out since 2001, Mark Hartman, Fruit of the Loom’s vice president of marketing, said customers didn’t know it existed because of the packaging, which prominently featured the Fruit of the Loom logo with the Fit for Me messaging beneath it.

“Many plus-size women said they were buying Fruit of the Loom, but they had never heard of Fit for Me. They just thought it was a tag line,” Hartman said. “By us hiding that Fit for Me portion, we realized that we weren’t doing our job in telling them the product is designed for them.”

Hartman said Fruit of the Loom reversed the hierarchy and placed the Fit for Me messaging on top, made it larger and placed the Fruit of the Loom logo underneath. The brand also added two additional models to the packaging and removed the word plus size.

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“Signage isn’t as available as it used to be so our packaging has to do all of that work. Customers want to have somebody on that package that represents their body type. They also don’t prefer the word plus at all,” Hartman explained.

The collection, which starts at a panty size nine and goes up to a size 13, includes a brief, boxer brief and a high-cut style made from either cotton, microfiber, or a cotton- polyester blend. The underwear is sold in packs of five and retails from $9.99 to $12.44.

The new product began shipping to big-box retailers including Wal-Mart and Kmart earlier this year, but for fall Fruit of the Loom is introducing a microfiber layering tank and a breathable underwear program made from cotton micromesh. According to Hartman, 60 percent of plus-size underwear purchases are made within big-box stores, but many plus-size shoppers aren’t happy with the in-store experience. This is primarily due to the separation of plus-size bras and underwear.

“Retailers have a lot of opportunities to speak to this consumer. This shopper would love for things to be more synergistic. Now they have to search for their underwear and bras,” Hartman told WWD.

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