SEOUL, April 2 (Korea Bizwire) — For South Koreans shopping for plus size clothing, finding the right fit off the rack is often an exercise in frustration.
One such shopper named Kim said, “I normally wear size XXXL or XXXXL so it’s hard to find clothes that fit me that aren’t specially tailored.” Kim added that a recent visit to a department store to snag a suitable spring coat was unsuccessful. “Since outerwear is expensive, I wanted to buy from a domestic brand where I know I can get customer support, so I was at the mall. But, as expected, no sizes.”
Despite the number of overweight South Koreans increasing to the point where one out of four are obese, clothes sold off the rack still come mostly in sizes for slimmer physiques.
Obesity has been on the rise over the past decade. Last year, 27.5 percent of South Koreans self-reported themselves as being obese in a KCDC regional health study.
Clothing brands have yet to catch up to the changes in South Korean body composition. The largest size generally manufactured and sold for men is XXL and 38-inch waist for lower bodywear, and for women the largest sizes are 55 through 66 (4 through 10 in U.S. sizes).
A handful of brands from LF’s Daks and K2 do offer XXXL men’s sizes, but they are often in limited supply and sell out quickly. Among domestic brands, outdoor wear companies Kolon Sport and Black Yak are two of the few that stock XXXXL and XXXXXL sizes.
Facing a dearth of options, South Koreans in need of larger clothing sizes turn to plus-size-only clothing makers, as well as foreign brands via overseas direct purchasing.
A fashion industry insider said regarding the insufficiency of larger clothing sizes, “With the fashion industry going through long-term economic slump, manufacturing in small amounts has become the trend. Clothes are manufactured based on the average sizes that are most commonly sought out by consumers.”
Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)