'MODE' RESTYLES FASHION FOR LARGER-SIZED WOMEN: TWO PUBLISHING VETS RIDE TREND AS DESIGNERS OFFER WIDER ARRAY OF SIZES

By Published on .

Most Popular
Publishing veterans Nancy LeWinter and Julie Lewit-Nirenberg are thinking big-women's sizes 12 and higher-in pitching their new fashion title, Mode.

Aimed at an audience they claim is overlooked by major publishing companies but increasingly targeted by mainstream designers, Mode hits newsstands with its first issue Feb. 25.

The spring issue, the first of four planned for this year, carries 75 ad pages from such marketers as Liz Claiborne, Donna Karan, L'Oreal, Estee Lauder and Ellen Tracy, Retailers buying space include Lord & Taylor, Macy's, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue.

10 ISSUES PLANNED FOR 1998

Mode, a joint venture between Lewit & LeWinter and Harris Publications, is slated to be published 10 times in 1998. Its rate base is 250,000; a color page is $13,500.

Publishers Ms. LeWinter and Ms. Lewit-Nirenberg bring years of experience in fashion magazine publishing to the venture, the former having worked at Esquire and Marie Claire, the latter at Mirabella and Mademoiselle.

Ms. LeWinter said she and Ms. Lewit-Nirenberg hit on the idea for the magazine last winter after reading an article about the number of women wearing larger sizes.

"We read an article in [The New York Times] that said the average size [for women] in America was 14," Ms. LeWinter said.

According to industry estimates, at least 65 million U.S. women wear a size 12 or higher, with women's clothing sizes 14 and up generating $20 billion in annual sales.

While the publishers drew up business plans, advertisers and retailers also began expanding their fashion lines.

DESIGNERS TRY LARGER SIZES

During 1996, labels such as Ellen Tracy and Gianni Versace began broadening apparel lines to fit women who wear larger sizes. This fall, Anne Klein's first line aimed at that market is expected to become available. And Ms. Le-Winter said Ralph Lauren is drafting his first large-size efforts for the 1998 shopping season.

"It just goes to show you as these major designers become more involved with Wall Street, they'll change because of pressure on the marketing end," said Alan Millstein, editor and publisher of retail newsletter Fashion Network Report.

"I'd say 25% of the women over age 25 in this country are probably larger-size customers," he added. "Conde Nast and Hearst magazines" such as Vogue and Harper's Bazaar "tend to have a bias toward thin. A new magazine that caters to the large-size customer could make a breakthrough."

Of the large-size appeal Mode offers, Vogue Publisher Ron Galotti said, "Niche marketing is just that. I could just as easily sell a magazine to petites. That,

In this article: