Plus-size apparel isn't famed for being fashionable. But Forever 21, one of the most trend-conscious retailers around, is looking to change all that. The L.A.-based company is launching a junior's plus-size collection in early May that mirrors the attitude -- and the styles -- of its fast-fashion signature brand.
The new collection, called Faith 21, features sizes XL, 1X and 2X in separates and dresses (equivalent, roughly, to sizes 12 to 18), with denim ranging up to a 34 (or a size 14/16).
"It's for the girl who has curves and is proud to show them off," said Linda Chang, senior manager of marketing for Forever 21. "We've been receiving so many letters and e-mails requesting extended sizes -- we decided this was one of the next steps in the company's new vision."
Prices for the collection, which range from $3.50 for a basic camisole top to $29.80 for a pair of jeans or a cocktail dress, will undercut those at leading plus-size chains such as Lane Bryant by a mile.
But then, Faith 21 is clearly looking to reel in a younger customer. The first collection is chock-full of flirty dresses, stylish tops, fashion leggings (for less than $5), graphic T-shirts, skirts and dark, tapered jeans so skinny, they should give anyone over 30 pause.
The company was one of the innovators of the fast-fashion concept -- which is all about selling straight-off-the-runway looks for a pittance -- and is famous for its lightning-fast responses to trends, which irritates high-end designers to no end (merchandise for the signature collection is shipped to stores almost daily). Deliveries for Faith 21 will be only slightly less speedy -- arriving once a week.
The plus-size collection will be available on the company's website (forever21.com) but in SoCal will be sold only at the chain's super-sized locations: Lakewood Center mall, Montebello Town Center, Los Cerritos Center, Anaheim Plaza and Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance.
"We realize there is a shortage of fashion for the plus-size consumer," Chang said, "so we wanted to reach out to that market. We want to make sure there is something for everyone -- on-trend fashion at affordable prices."