An Unlikely Group is Influencing Decisions at Retailers Like Target, J. Crew, and Nordstrom


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Target CEO and Chairman Brian Cornell admitted that Target was missing out on a $17 billion opportunity: the plus size industry. But, he explained, influential bloggers pointed Target in the right direction. This year, Target launched its first plus-size line, Ava & Viv. The company not only took a cue from bloggers, but used their input to make the collection relatively trendy. With the help of Gabi Gregg, Nicolette Mason, and Chastity Garner Valentine, Target launched the line.

Target joins other retailers who are letting bloggers, rather than typical designers on staff, make decisions for the brand. "I was lucky enough to visit their headquarters in Minneapolis to preview the Spring collection and give my feedback about both the collection and the general state of plus size fashion," Gregg wrote on her blog in January. The women helped Target come up with trendy ideas for the line and gave their insight to the company. They modeled the apparel, and they came back for the fall collection. The first collection was met with lukewarm reception (Jezebel writer Lindsay Louise found it to be "meh"), but it still marked a drastic improvement from Target's previously scant plus-size selection.

"There has been lots of criticism of Target over the years, but I have to say that I really am happy they are not only listening, but bringing in plus size women to help them get it right and continue to improve," Gregg wrote.

Gregg's influence is quite vast, extending beyond Target. She collaborated with SwimSexy earlier this year for a swimwear collection that flattered plus-size bodies.

Plus-size style bloggers have proven to be strong voices in a community that otherwise seems unheard.

Sometimes, bloggers are crucial voices - especially when a retailer is straying from its roots and disappointing its customers.

When J. Crew was in its downturn for the majority of this year and last, shoppers took to the Internet to share their frustrations with the brand. Eliza Cohen turned her thoughts into a website called "How to Fix J. Crew," citing some of J. Crew's biggest problems. Capitol Hill Style, a blog for professional women who love to dress fashionably, wrote about how issues with the brand's alleged missteps as well — from its prices to its styles. The blogger, who goes by "Belle," launched a campaign on social media called "#revivejcrew."

The fall rollout showed that J. Crew must have been listening. The brand proved that it was getting back to its roots — basics. The spring/summer 2016 collection showed that while J. Crew hasn't completely turned itself around, it's well on its way.

Sometimes, a blogger is so influential that she gets to dabble in the fashion and retail industries. Emily Schuman, the blogger behind Cupcakes and Cashmere, launched a fashion line in collaboration with BB Dakota. The line is available at Nordstrom and Shopbop. She announced the news on her blog in July. Leandra Medine of Man Repeller recently collaborated with Veda for an outwear line. She has collaborated with many other brands, as well. Both Schuman and Medine have become icons in the fashion industry, proving that the word 'blogger' is no longer a condescending term for a wannabe-writer.

[By Mallory Schlossberg] [Read More] [From BusinessInsider.com] [Image From Blog.sfgate.com]

 

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