Plus-size apparel and the curvy models who promote them are hot.
But some upscale designers and chains haven’t gotten the memo.
These companies recently expanded into size 14 and above but didn’t want to talk about their plus-size business — as if they feared sales of their new larger sizes would hurt their core size 0-12 business.
Designer Jason Wu and chains J Crew and Lululemon are among the companies reluctant to discuss their plus-size business.
“I don’t think they want to emphasize that they didn’t do it before,” said Gary Wassner, chief executive of Hilldun, a lender to the fashion industry. “They are trying to eliminate the size prejudice without acknowledging that there had been a prejudice.”
Sales of plus–size clothes have grown by 23 percent from 2013-17, according to NPD Group — faster than the apparel sector as a whole. Plus-size apparel, generally regarded as size 14 and up, is now a $21 billion business.
Big Apple designer Jason Wu, whose $1,700 dresses are much in demand at Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, recently began offering size 14.
Asked about the new sizes, the company went silent.
“We wouldn’t discuss sizes,” a Jason Wu spokeswoman told The Post.
Mass-market chain Lululemon expanded its size 12 offerings — and recently added a size 14 and began featuring models with fuller figures about a year ago — but is doing so a bit cautiously.
It offers size 14 only in select stores and on its Web site.
“We are always looking at new ways to serve our guests, and our recent introduction of sizes 0 and 14 in a select number of styles is an example of this approach,” said Sun Choe, Lululemon’s SVP of merchandising, in an e-mail. The yoga-wear retailer declined to discuss its sizing strategy — but quickly noted that it also expanded into size 0.
Much has been made of the success of brands like Aerie, which embrace the body-positive theme and have seen sales soar.
Instagram stars and celebrities like Cardi B and the Kardashians have helped to drive the body-positivity movement to new levels,” said retail consultant Gabriella Santaniello of A Line Partners.
And no wonder.
Roughly 67 percent of American women are size 14 or larger, according to NPD.
In May, Express jumped on the bandwagon, adding the larger sizes, previously available only online, to 130 of its 650 stores. It’s carrying up to size 18 for women and XXL for men.
To be sure, some designers, including Prabal Gurung and Tadashi Shoji, have not been shy about plus sizes and have been reaching that market for years.
“We have had a few department stores try plus sizes on and off over the years and there wasn’t a strong response,” said a spokeswoman for Tadashi Shoji.
J Crew has quietly added features to its Web site allowing shoppers to view some of its apparel on “more body types,” showing what a dress looks like on a larger model, for example.
Since January, J Crew has been adding plus sizes to its Web site, as well.
Last week, The Post reached out to J Crew to discuss how the new business was doing.
J Crew didn’t want to discuss it.
“It’s a ‘Catch-22’ for these retailers that are being so quiet about it,” said Jamie Gorman, president of Only Nine Apparel, a plus-size designer and manufacturer. “When you limit your customer base you limit your business.”
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