August Max Woman--a hard lesson

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Posted by HSG on September 14, 2004 at 13:00:16:

An article in this morning's New York Post (linked below) states that the Casual Corner chain in "on the block." Readers of this forum may not immediately recognize the name "Casual Corner," but they will know the name of one of the company's principal divisions--August Max Woman.

For years, August Max Woman produced full-figured fashions of the typical career/casual variety, but more importantly, it promoted those fashions on some of the loveliest plus-size models in the industry, including Barbara Brickner, Tracie Stern, Wyinnetka, Lara Johnson, and others. The campaigns were beautifully photographed, and often made use of gorgeous settings.

With that in mind, pay particular attention to the following bit of information in the Post article:

"Last month, the company closed down its 84-unit August Max chain, which specialized in plus size women's apparel, after being disappointed by the results of its revamping effort."

And what had that disappointing "revamping" effort entailed? You guessed it--eliminating the use of curvaceous goddesses, and instead promoting its plus-size fashions on mature, straight-size models.

One model who lost a booking at AMW at the time of this "revamping" relayed to us that she had been told by the company that they believed full-figured women "did not want to see fashions modelled on women with their own body types."


Well, it turns out that the opposite was true. AMW learned the hard way that what its customers did not want to see was plus-size fashion modelled on girls without their own body types.

One other point in the article deserves highlighting. The writer notes that

"Casual Corner has faced stiff competition in the moderately priced women's apparel sector from Dress Barn . . . "

You know--Dress Barn, the company that uses size-14 models Valerie and Jordan in its advertising, and doesn't minds showing off the models' curves, because it realizes that its customers do want to see clothing featured on models "with their own body types."

Hopefully, this very persuasive marketing lesson will put an end to the persistent myth of "underweight aspiration," once and for all.

Barbara Brickner modelling for August Max Woman, in the company's better days (circa 2001):

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