In 2018, Eloquii tapped Refinery29 for a viral idea that would bring brand awareness to Eloquii and disrupt the plus size retail category. Why? Although 67% of all women are size 14+, plus size women have less clothing opportunities — think: some retailers only sell their plus size pieces online while others house plus size items in totally different sections, reinforcing the idea that curvy shoppers aren't welcome or valued — they’re rarely portrayed in the media, and have to pay more for their limited options of clothing — even though the collective market represents over $20 billion in buying power.
Leaning on Refinery29’s Intelligence team, data technology, and Mad Chatter ambassadors, Refinery29 and Eloquii produced the first ever crowd-sourced plus-size women's collection, The Weekender, designed to fit every plus-size woman’s weekend needs. Created by and for plus size women, The Weekender, a 27-piece collection available in sizes 12-28 and a one-stop locale for plus size women to get the pieces they need for any combination of mixing and matching. This was a success in driving awareness, mass press, and sales for Eloquii with certain items and sizes selling out completely. Instead of relying on the basics and feeling stuck between what they want to wear and what they have the option to wear, Refinery29 and Eloquii offered plus size women the opportunity to feel feminine, polished, and confident with a closet they can trust for a good, long time.
Phase one was understanding the landscape. R29 conducted a quantitative study amongst R29 readers and the general public to determine plus size women’s style choices, purchasing behaviors, clothing needs, gaps in their closets, and their hardest moments to shop for. Also, we took into account the Eloquii shopper demographics: It Girl, Accessible Girl, Not Ready Yet Girl.
Phase two consisted of R29 recruiting 29 brand ambassadors from R29’s proprietary insights panel, Mad Chatter, where we tapped plus size women for online discussion forums throughout the process to hear directly from them about what is needed in their closets and how they like to style themselves.
For phase three, R29 took the learnings from the study and information from the brand ambassadors to build the creative, i.e. The Weekender, a clothing collection dedicated to filling an identified gap in plus-size women’s closets: dressing classic and cool during fall weekends.
For phase four, Eloquii began sketching designs after R29 presented a mood board, a heat map representing the ambassadors feedback on patterns, textures, shapes, and colors, and products the ambassadors were interested in. The Eloquii design team was then able to gauge style and interest inspiration — all based on information taken from the quantitative study.
Phase five developed another heat map to get ambassador feedback. After, through an online video forum with brand ambassadors, we cross referenced Eloquii’s top performing colors with colors and styles that R29’s shopping team suggested for the fashion market in fall. We then narrowed down the original line sheet to create The Weekender Collection.
In phase six, R29 and Eloquii began the first of three fittings for each style in the collection, making tweaks and adjustments to put the feedback and feelings into action. With the final collection set, we created a photo and video shoot with five brand ambassadors before the final reveal.
A major part of the conversations with the brand ambassadors was about not feeling like brands cared about them, their experiences, and why it’s important for them to have clothes — so, we wrote out an ethos in the hang tag to make sure they knew this is personal to us as well. Additionally, no one from the 29 original brand ambassadors owned a pair of jeans because they found that denim was always difficult for them. So inside the pocket of the R29 x Eloquii pair, we added a signature pattern from the collection and the words, “This is for you.” Then, we sent a pair along with R29 swag to each ambassador with a note for the holidays. And then, we launched the first ever crowd-sourced plus size women’s collection, created for plus size women, by plus size women.
The collection was launched and sold in store and online at Eloquii.com, and the Mad Chatters were invited to see their custom-designed products come to life! The collection was also promoted through R29 x Eloquii custom features on Refinery29.com and our social channels, as well as in an R29 Shops Collection Page, to spread the word, inspire shopping, and give plus size women cool clothes and cool representation. Finally.
Refinery29 and Eloquii chose five real women to represent The Weekender campaign and hero our promotional content across editorial, video, look books, and social. This gesture put R29 readers at the forefront of this campaign and raised awareness and positive sentiment for the Eloquii brand. Through the collection, we tackled unconscious bias, reversing what society has been taught about plus size bodies, and helped plus size women feel like their best selves, and like they consistently matter. The collaboration was written up by publications such as WWD, Cheddar, AdWeek, Forbes, Glossy and Fashion United. We had influencers posting on instagram such as Lizzo, Katie Sturino, Joy Nash, Nicolette Mason and Gabi Fresh.