Women have been grabbing hold of the megaphone and altering the fashion industry's idea of "normal" for the better over the last few years. But even with all the recognition that's been made about a gap in mainstream retailers providing an adequate representation of sizes, or plus-size bloggers and models proving a size 22 can look just as a chic as a size two, and even body-positive campaigns with brands that are adopting inclusivity, the shopping experience for women sizes 10 and up still remains, disappointingly, underrepresented. Ask any woman above a size 10 whether shopping is easy, and the answer will likely be a resounding no. But four former Gilt executives are setting out to rectify this with a new e-commerce site, CoEdition.
Offering women's sizes 10 to 26, CoEdition, launching March 20, will be a retail haven meant to be a tool for women to buy stylish options without questioning whether it will be available in their size. CoEdition self describes itself as "a curated selection of stylish options at accessible price points frequently under-served in the traditional retail landscape," and the site will feature popular contemporary brands and fashion across most categories including apparel, intimates, active, swim, accessories, and footwear. With the site's initial launch partners including the likes of Stuart Weitzman, Tahari, Rachel Roy, and more, CoEdition is well on its way to being a premiere destination for women who fall out of "straight sizing." As if sourcing popular retailers wasn't enough, expect a flurry of exclusive collaborations to be on the horizon as well. CoEdition tells us that the release of a Splendid partnership is not far off.
Leading the helm are Brooke Cundiff, CoEdition co-founder and chief merchandising officer, formerly head of brand acquisition at Gilt, and Keith George, co-founder and CEO, who previously sat as Gilt's chief merchandising officer. The two are coming in hot with decades of consumer experience under their belts. After years of heading up the fashion division of a luxury e-commerce site, they know a little bit about what women want — and what women want is a shopping experience that's driven by an inclusive community and industry. Of her inspiration for diving into CoEdition, Cundiff said: “I’ve always believed that all women deserve access to great style options and solutions and that was my mission when we came up with this idea, to break down the barrier in retail and transform the industry."
But it's about more than just giving their consumer the power of size availability. With their background in mind, they're setting out to help women with an essential tool: discovery. Cundiff and George have big plans for CoEdition, which include seeing the site grow to feature nearly 150+ contemporary fashion brands by the end of 2018. (For reference, the site is currently on-boarding new brands and products every day and expects to have 5,000 items on the site within two-to-three months.) George explains: “We always say that this woman has great taste she just hasn’t always had great options. She has an incredible sense of style...there’s been a lot of brands that Brooke has been working with out of the U.K. and Australia and other places that frankly, people don’t even know about, and providing access to those brands [for CoEdition customers] is going to be a game changer."
As an added cherry on top, CoEdition will include community driven aspects to help shoppers make buying decisions. Putting a focus on user-generated content, the site will prompt and allow product reviews based on fit specifics — which George points out are about more than just an overall fit but also focuses on waist, butt, arms, etc. — and image submissions. Through this, CoEdition customers will have genuine product feedback that can go so far as sharing styling tips, tricks, and solutions. And in case peer guidance is a little too forum-like for you, the site will also be heavy on influencer inclusion. At the start, CoEdition will feature biweekly partnerships with influencers (kicking off with Alex Michael May) that include their selection of curated products.
We're here for any site that ventures into normalizing inclusivity and body diversity, and while a small step for the plus-size community, CoEdition is one giant leap for the retail industry finally embracing the women who have been there all along.