H&M U.S. has expanded its extended size assortment in consultation with activist and model Tess Holliday. Stores will now feature products that go up to 2XL for women and men, and online extended sizes will be available up to 4XL for women and 3XL for men.
In addition to the extended size assortment, H&M recently introduced the new Curvy Denim collection, which focuses on fit and shape instead of size and caters to a curvier body type, with more room in the hips and thighs and a longer rise.
“H&M embraces inclusion as a business imperative,” said Donna Dozier Gordon, Head of Inclusion and Diversity for the Americas at H&M in a statement. “H&M’s evolution and progress on extended sizing reflects our commitment and focuses on challenges faced, progress made and more progress to come. We are proud to be working with Tess, who has been instrumental in helping us ensure we are delivering an inclusive customer offering and experience.”
Brands and retailers are feeling mounting pressure from consumers, shareholders and even their boards to be more inclusive. But the mechanics of actually doing this are complicated and have led more than one major retailer to fail in the effort. In June 2022, Old Navy announced it was scaling back its much-lauded size-inclusivity program after sales dropped nearly 19% from the year prior, a decline that executives attributed to the inclusivity program. In March 2021, Loft discontinued its plus sizes, citing “ongoing business challenges”; and in February 2020, M.M.LaFleur said it was pulling back on its plus-size offerings, which many consumers didn’t even know were available.
The problems are varied, according to some analysts and commentators, but two big ones are: not giving plus-size programs enough time to gain traction, especially at retailers where plus-size customers don’t typically shop; and the challenge of maintaining the correct inventory levels when additional sizes are added to the mix.
In its attempt to succeed where others have failed, H&M partnered with Holliday to draw on her extensive knowledge of the industry and experience as a plus-size shopper and advocate. The company has been working with Holliday behind-the-scenes for months to identify specific areas of improvement. Halliday also has been involved in H&M’s local U.S. Content Studio, providing feedback during model castings and offering best practices for photo shoots.
“Throughout my career I have strived to make impactful changes to the plus-size industry in real, lasting ways,” said Holliday in a statement. “Together with H&M U.S., we are democratizing the fashion industry here in the U.S., creating a runway for customers to experience shopping that’s an equalizer, not a divider.”