The discrimination on plus-size women has slowly been diminishing over the past few years. Not only have high fashion events such as New York Fashion Week become more open toward showcasing more style options for larger women, affordable brands such as Forever 21, ASOS, and Boohoo have opened a wide range of plus-size divisions as well. While all these may seem like a big improvement, there is still a big gap in the market for professional women looking for clothing options that cater to their specific size. Workwear brand Of Mercer is hoping to change that by introducing new sizes for plus-size women everywhere.
Of Mercer Adding Plus-Size Division
In the United States, the average clothing size for women extends from a 12 to a 14. That said, there is a certain prejudice against women who don’t fit in the sample size in racks. Of Mercer founders Dorie Golkin and Emelyn Northway are looking to bridge the gap by extending their sizes to a 20W. The retailer previously offered a limited size range that went from 00 to a 14. The decision came after the team conducted an extensive research of the existing market, and later found out that there just weren’t that many size options for women in the workforce.
Of Mercer is a New York–based retailer that takes pride in its tailored pieces for professional women, which are offered at prices below $250. The two founders, Golkin and Northway, started the idea after accidentally meeting in Wharton Business School. Both women were dabbing their feet into the world of finance consulting and later decided to start a collection together. They later teamed up with Parsons-trained Aja Singer, who became the brand’s creative designer. On their official Web site, Of Mercer states that they are “a modern retail brand that bypasses the middleman and retail markup to offer our customers the balance of quality and price they deserve.”
Golkin recently explained how they came to the decision to extend their size range, “Really high quality suiting for plus-sizes is one of the things that’s really missing from the market. People go to Theory, but they don’t go beyond size 12—sometimes a size 14, but even then the fit is a little bit funky. So some of the staples that we have were really what was in demand—Italian wool, made-in-New York sheath dresses. They may not be so sexy and exciting, but they are things that working women really need, and there are plenty of working women who are bigger than a size 12.”
The decision to become more inclusive in terms of their sizing marks a positive change in the plus-size industry. Northway stresses that it always has been the company’s aim to cater to all types of women.
“Having a direct relationship with customers is a lot of the reason we really went into this, and we’re finding there are other areas we need to expand into as well,” Golkin said. “We really just want to be able to serve women of all shapes and sizes in the same way.