Plus-size clothing for children goes mainstream as retailers cash in on growing population

Plus-size clothing for children goes mainstream as retailers cash in on growing population

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UPDATED:

21:06 GMT, 3 September 2012

Plus-size fashion ranges for children as young as three are on the rise according to industry experts, as retailers seek to cash in on a growing market.

Brands such as the Gap, Forever 21, Old Navy and Target all provide wares for youngsters who have outgrown standard clothing lines and Sears recently unveiled its Pretty Plus collection for girls aged seven to ten years.

But while many parents celebrate the fact that there is greater choice, many critics fear that the 'plus-size' label could cause children to develop a negative body image and low self esteem.

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Girls Hooded Wool-Blend Peacoats

Girls Graphic Crew-Neck Tees

Two items of clothing from Old Navy's girls plus-size clothing range which comes in L, XL and XXL

In 2010 Forbes revealed that 'overweight children may be the next cash crop for retailers' and now brands are seriously tapping into the market.

While roomier clothing for boys is
referred to as 'husky' larger clothing for girls is labelled as 'plus-size', a word which many believe could cause youngsters to feel ashamed of their bodies.

'A child being able to have the same clothes that everyone else their age is wearing is a great thing.

'However, you’re attaching a label to it
like ‘plus-size’ and this child is seeing that from an early age.

'Will
they feel like they’re still different from everyone else,' fashion expert Jene Luciani, whose two-year-old daughter is taller than average, told NBC's The Today Show.

Growing market: According to Sears its Pretty Plus range was an overnight success

Growing market: According to Sears its Pretty Plus range was an overnight success

Morgan Joseph, 11, who struggles to find fashionable clothing that fits her 5 foot 11 inch frame agrees that she dislikes being deemed 'plus-size'.

She told Today's Natalie Morales that she would prefer larger clothing to carry numbers so it doesn't make feel like she is being categorised.

Attaching a label to it like 'plus-size'… Will they feel like they’re still different from everyone else

'I don't really enjoy the
word 'plus,' she said. 'I'd rather they just put numbers like they do
for other kids.'

Meanwhile MeMe Roth, founder and president of the National Action Against Obesity slammed plus-size lines for children trend telling CNN that anyone making money out of 'this health crisis for children should be ashamed of themselves.'

But Marshal Cohen, an expert on consumer
behavior and the retail industry said the plus-size children's market is
only set to expand as brands realise the money-making potential.

'The plus size business for kids
has been around for a long time but it kind of faded away.

'And it’s coming back with a vengeance particularly in the girls market.'

Morgan Joseph, 11, who struggles to find fashionable clothing that fits her 5 foot 11 inch frame says she dislikes being deemed 'plus-size'

Morgan Joseph, 11, who struggles to find fashionable clothing that fits her 5 foot 11 inch frame says she dislikes being deemed 'plus-size'

According to Sears, its Pretty Plus range was an overnight success and there are plans for expansion.

Seventeen per cent of children are obese and one in three kids is obese or overweight, according to he Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The rate of childhood obesity has tripled to such an extent that pediatricians say growth charts no longer apply to today's children.

A 2010 report from Marketresearch.com revealed sales of women's and girls' plus-size
apparel is a $47 billion industry, accounting for 27 per cent of all clothing
sales and nearly 40 per cent of all women's and girls' apparel sales.

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