Magazine article Marketing

A Big Girl Now

Magazine article Marketing

A Big Girl Now

Article excerpt

'Big is beautiful' is the philosophy of fashion house Sixteen 47. Ken Cotton reports on how found an image to match

Emerging fashion house Sixteen 47 set out to make a big splash at last weekend's BBC Clothes Show Live at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham.

It was the three-year-old company's first major fashion exhibition, and one of the main reasons for being there was the public launch of its new corporate identity.

Sixteen 47 is the brainchild of TV star Dawn French -- of the French and Saunders comedy duo -- and former architect Helen Teague, and its niche is clothes for larger women. A pretty big niche, in fact. The name comes from the fact that 47% of women are size 16 or over.

Metaphorically, too, the company would like to move off the petite rail, and boast a fuller figure. In other words, it has plans to grow. As we reported exclusively (Marketing, 17 November), it is starting to expand outside its single store and mail-order base into concessions and franchises.

However, competition is increasing. "A lot more people are doing big sizes now," says Teague, "and we are very keen to keep ahead of the game by branding ourselves properly. No other company in the sector is really trying to develop a design identity. It's something which is more common in the smaller-size market."

Then came the opportunity to participate in Clothes Show Live. "It was a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation," admits Teague. "We knew that if we were going to do anything like this, we would have to do it properly. At the same time, we have been longing to do a decent logo, and in a way the show just seemed a good opportunity to get that done, and launch it properly. We would probably have lived with the old one a little longer, but for the chance to be in the Clothes Show."

The fashion extravaganza was a sell-out on Saturday and Sunday, and with extensive media coverage thrown in, it presented a major chance to expose the company to a wider audience. "Our main focus at this show was the consumers," says Teague. "But we were also targeting the media, and I think they will provide a stepping stone through to the trade contacts we need to build."

Both logo and stand are the work of Harrow-based design consultancy The Green House. It's best known for its work for Batchelors soups and spice specialist Schwartz, but the link to Sixteen 47 comes via designing the logo for Crucial Films, the production house of comedian Lenny Henry, Dawn French's husband. …

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