Lane Bryant is turning consumers into influencers. The store just put out its second influencer-led line with plus-size fashion blogger Rochelle Johnson, to be promoted primarily through social media. Here’s why the clothing line is more than just another clout-made collaboration.
On average, customers search for brands less frequently than they did last year. Apparel brands tracked in Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Specialty Retail experienced a 6% decline in branded search volume over the last year. Instead, Instagram has become a playground for labels to get noticed, thanks primarily to brand mentions by influencers. Still, following aside, one of the most noteworthy steps towards earning bonafide influencer status is being able to stamp your name on a product. But though influencer-led collaborations are common for retailers, they’re fairly new for Lane Bryant and for the plus-size fashion industry as a whole.
The company’s new clothing line stands out because it stars a social media savant who identifies with the brand on a consumer level, both personally and professionally, since Johnson both shopped and worked at Lane Bryant in her college years. While there is a growing amount of plus-size social media stars, few are approached for collaborations (save for supermodel Ashley Graham) as Lane Bryant is doing with Johnson. The line also stands out because it goes against the society-set norm that plus-size women should not stand out—instead of black or muted outfits meant to slim or downplay those wearing them, it features splashy bright colors intended to do just the opposite.
Despite being a bit late to the influencer party, Lane Bryant could benefit more from quality over quantity. Additionally, the company has been making steady efforts in digital, including, site improvements, better direct e-commerce integration in video assets, and added product images to keyword search previews, all of which have contributed to its rising rank in Gartner L2’s studies. A unique, yet relatable influencer line might just be the perfect added plus.