Online retailer Eloquii will launch a pop-up shop for three months in Fashion Centre Pentagon City starting next week. The Arlington store will be the first physical storefront for the popular online retailer, which focuses on offering on-trend, seasonal pieces for women who wear sizes between 14 and 28. The 2,600-square-foot store will offer a range of dresses, outerwear, blouses, pants, skirts, and accessories with the aim of bringing up-to-date styles to the habitually underserved plus-sized market. The opening lineup includes the brand’s four latest collections, and is also on track to offer capsule-collection collaborations, which have proven popular for the brand in the past: a bridal collection last year designed with Stone Fox Bride got Vogue‘s attention.
Mariah Chase, Eloquii’s chief executive, says strong sales in Washington led the company to choose this market for its first physical location over its headquarters of New York or Columbus, Ohio.
“DC is our number-two market,” Chase says. “When we found a great space at Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, it was more a question of ‘Why not DC?’”
Eloquii’s first retail space will be designed with a strong reference to the brand’s online roots. In addition to what’s immediately available in store, customers will be able to browse other merchandise on tablet computers placed around the store, while digital signs will show customers Instagram-tagged images of themselves wearing Eloquii. The pop-up store is set to run through June, though a successful run could lead the brand to open a permanent location.
Eloquii was launched in 2011 by The Limited. Despite building a quick following, it was abandoned just 18 months later when the now-defunct company restructured itself. (The Limited filed for bankruptcy and closed all its stores last month.) But in February 2014, several top executives and designers felt Eloquii had enough fans—and that the $18 billion market for plus-size apparel was competitive enough—that they revived the brand as an independent company focusing on fast-fashion in the style of H&M and Zara, but focused toward women who fall outside the 0-12 range.
While many retailers have adapted to the growing market for plus-size clothing, it has often been in the form of scaling up designs originally conceived for smaller figures. Eloquii asserts that it is different in that it designs with the intention of fitting a fuller figure, working off runway trends that many retailers ignore when choosing which selections to offer in larger sizes. Browse Eloquii’s website and you’ll find flirty scooter dresses, trendy cold-shoulder blouses, and wide-legged pants. Eloquii is betting on an idea that seems self-evident, but that the industry has nevertheless been slow to act on: that not every plus size woman is trying to cover up or look thinner.