If you're a plus-size woman, going shopping ain't easy. When your selection of styles is either hidden in a dimly lit basement corner or better suited for someone 40 years your senior, let's just say the experience leaves much to be desired. However, new plus-size brand Fashion to Figure is angling to be your saving grace.
Fashion to Figure is the first fast-fashion brand devoted solely to the plus-size woman. Launched by the great-grandchildren of fashion pioneer Lena Bryant (yes, of Lane Bryant fame), Fashion to Figure combines over 100 years of experience with the fast-moving, trend-focused reality of the modern shopper.
To learn more about this burgeoning fast-fashion brand, we spoke with co-founder and CEO Michael Kaplan. Read on to see why this brand may be the plus-size fashion lover's new best friend.
What inspired you to create Fashion to Figure?
"My brother [Nick] and I felt there was a void in the plus-size fashion market — that people were struggling and not satisfied with current store options. Our great-grandmother [Lena Bryant] pioneered plus-size fashion more than 114 years ago, and generations of our family ran her namesake firm and focused on this their entire lives. Nick and I identified the opportunity to deliver a very trendy fashion retail experience any woman would want but that we believed was lacking for millions of women sizes 12-26. We created something fresh and new; yet, we brought to it that 100-plus years of passion, knowledge, and expertise. By creating FTF, we have been able to reconnect with our family’s work and bring a great new option to millions of people."
What type of woman embodies Fashion to Figure?
"Every woman is an FTF Woman. Anyone who loves fashion and wants a trendy, fun, and personalized experience with terrific prices is into FTF. We believe fashion is an attitude not a size range. Anyone who loves trends and wants to look great, feel confident, and chic loves our stores."
Why have you decided to mainly focus on club/casual wear?
We don’t believe we are. Rather, we would say we’re focused on providing confidence, service, and a fabulous experience. As a fast fashion retailer, FTF provides access to the latest fashion items and runway looks so there’s a changing assortment of options for people, literally, almost daily. We want you to have a fresh and fun experience at FTF each time you visit so we have many of options that change constantly.
What makes Fashion to Figure different from any other plus-brand?
"We don’t think of ourselves as merely a plus-size brand. We believe we are a fashion brand and company, first and foremost. Go to any of our stores and you will see women of all sizes attracted to our clothing and accessories and only coming to the sizing as a side point later. In fact, many people who cannot fit our apparel shop with us regularly for accessories and other merchandise because our store is such a confidence-inspiring and fashionable experience."
Do you plan to expand your sizes in the future?
"We will do whatever our guests would like us to do. We exist for our guests, so we have to follow the lead of those who we serve. We are always looking into new ways to connect with our clients and evolve that relationship. However, one thing we learned long ago is the fact that in retail you cannot be all things to all people. "
Do you plan to open more brick-and-mortar stores in the future, or are you mainly focusing on online business?
"Both and more. Again, we will show up wherever and however our guests ask us to. We have clients that chat with our FTF Fashion Stylists online or in stores, visit with us to just hang out, or ask where fashion trends are going. So, from our point of view, we will go wherever, however, and do whatever we can to continue to provide a fabulous experience and grow our audience."
What do you think of the current plus-size fashion industry?
"It’s evolving with more choices and every few years they write about the industry and its potential. There are some good online options now. But I don’t think it’s moving fast enough nor do we see the current state of the market as being satisfactory. Having been on the front lines driving the market since the beginning, we don’t feel the pace of change is in step with what consumers are demanding nowadays. I believe this is illustrated by the fact that many industry events and bloggers have to come upwards from the customer base rather than from industry down. We’re trying to change the pace at FTF and show that fashion is not limited by size. For example, with FTF you can make private shopping appointments online or in stores, shop any way or anywhere you want, and develop a relationship with a Stylist for advice on anything you wish. All this, in addition to amazing fashion items we’re developing and terrific prices we believe in. So, while the market is moving at whatever pace, we’re trying to do things at FTF at all levels to satisfy people right now."
How do you feel Fashion to Figure differs from any other plus-size stores?
"The entire FTF Experience is different. Our fashion, price points, and store environment are terrific and unique. But our people, our FTF Stylists, are spectacular. I’m constantly in our stores when guests won’t make decisions about fashion without our Stylists. They provide such guidance, confidence, and personal shopping expertise that it really changes people’s self-image and confidence."
What can we expect from Fashion to Figure in the near future?
"We’re expanding very rapidly right now in all ways. Definitely go to FTF.com and check out what we’re doing. You can keep up with our fashion tips, store openings, and latest product arrivals hot off the runway."
Photos: Courtesy of Fashion To Figure