NEW YORK, June 19 (UPI) -- Clothing for the larger woman has been one of the few recent growth areas in the women's fashion industry in the United States, experts say.
Plus-size sales were up 1.4 percent for the year ending in April, while overall sales dropped .8 percent, The New York Times reports. The Centers for Disease Control reported this week that almost two-thirds of women in the United States are overweight and 28 percent of all U.S. adults are obese.
Gwen DeVoe, a size 18 former model and founder of "Full Figure Fashion Week," reminded retailers this week that those women need clothes too.
"I've been told several times that no one fantasizes about being a plus-size woman, and that's probably true, but the fact remains that you have to work with what you have," she said.
Retailers and manufacturers say there are problems with plus-size clothing. Larger bodies tend to be more variable, so a size 16 dress cut for a woman with big hips might not fit a woman with a big stomach.
Large-size clothing also needs to be cut from larger bolts of fabric, sometimes requiring special machinery. The extra costs involved can be tough to pass on to shoppers, stores say.
But chains like Target have decided they can no longer ignore the market, the Times said.