I've been reading several blogs with opinions about the name change of Forever 21's plus size range (switching from Faith 21 to Forever 21+). The complaints range from being embarrassed of the plus sign to trying to make it sound like the same products without carrying the full range. Now, I've been involved with some form of the plus size clothing business for around 10 years now, so perhaps that's why when I see changes like this, I don't see it as any more than some type of business correction. There is some (not always logical) reason that they have seen this fit and as long as they continue to make my size, I tend to not care. Now, if I felt somehow demeaned by the change or if the tone turns towards encouraging self hatred, then I may take notice...I'm not sure that's really the case here. My guess is that they wanted to more clearly convey that they offer plus sizes, to make more money and seem like less of a side brand.
The main reason I'm curious about these reactions is because, as I announced previously, I'm working on my own plus size store. For me, I love the Hefty Hideaway approach. The owner has a large plate of donuts and proclaims "Eat up, ladies!" This fun, carefree spirit to clothing shopping is something that I think is missing in a lot of plus size stores. We are taught to be so uncomfortable and unhappy with our chubby bodies that the clothing experience becomes more like a punishment than a basic task (or *GASP* a hobby). I always wanted to be thrust in the middle of a technicolor montage from Clueless while in the dressing room...primping with Cher and Dionne, all of us smiling and pouting with the same fervor.
Within my store, I want to employ tongue-in-cheek jokes, colorful language, and a general celebration of fat fashion...but in the end: I don't want to alienate the girls that might enjoy the clothing most. As always, being true to yourself and your vision is most important, but I am also running a business. So I raise this question to you, my chubblettes:
When is comes to plus size businesses and fat: is it better to bring it up with a grin or politely hide it beneath the layers?