Surge in sales of 'Adele'-sized mannequins

High Street shops are buying "Adele-sized mannequins" as chains increasingly market clothes at curvier women.

The fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld caused a storm earlier this month by branding the singer “a little too fat”, but it appears that retailers are now embracing consumers with fuller figures.

One of the UK’s largest shop mannequin companies has reported a surge in orders for clothes dummies sized 12 and above.

Over the last year Displaysense, which suppliers some of the UK’s biggest clothing chains with mannequins, has seen a 16 per cent increase in sales of "plus-size" window dummies.

 [Related feature: My body gallery: finally see other women who are your size]

At one point the company sold out of larger models as it struggled to keep up with demand, a company spokesman said. In total, sales of large mannequins have risen from 4,600 units to well over 5,000 in the last year.

Jim Moody, an executive at Displaysense, said that fashion designer Lagerfeld’s comments were out of step with the times.

“Lagerfeld may want size 0 on his catwalk but the commercial viability of the growing plus-size clothing market is being seized by high street chains and independent retailers alike,” said Mr Moody.

Recent research showed that around one in five Britons currently wear plus-size clothing. It estimated that the plus-size women's wear market has increased in value by almost 50 per cent over the last five years, from £2.7bn to £4bn in 2011. This compared to growth of 15 per cent in the mainstream women's wear market.

Mr Moody said: “Curves are back and set to stay this spring-summer. We believe the trend is partly due to vintage fashions being back in style, particularly from the 40s and 50s, which suit the hourglass figure.”

Speaking to a US magazine earlier this month Adele hit back at Mr Lagerfeld’s comments.

She told People magazine: “I’ve never wanted to look like models on the cover of magazines. I represent the majority of women and I’m very proud of that.”

  [Related feature: How clothing sizes vary worldwide]

Last summer, Italian Vogue celebrated curvy models with a trio of ‘plus-sized’ women on the front.

At the time Franca Sozzani, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, said: “Why should these women slim down? Many of the women who have a few extra kilos are especially beautiful and also more feminine.”

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