10 Plus Size Women in The Fashion Industry Tell Us What Avenue’s Shutdown Means to Them

It’s official. Avenue is not only closing stores but it looks like they are for sale.

According to Chain Store Age, the brand has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and is seeking a buyer for its e-commerce business, which also includes and

This is not a good sign.

The retailer is one of the few plus size apparel “legacy” brands still in existence, operating both physical stores and an eCommerce business, while offering above a size 24.

With this announcement on the heels of Avenue shutting down all its stores, many customers are shocked, disappointed and saddened.

While the plus size apparel market is growing and flourishing, store closings and bankruptcies are becoming sadly more frequent.  

According to Business Insider, retailers have already announced more than 8,000 store closures so far in 2019.

A new report from global marketing research firm Coresight Research found that there have already been 29% more store closings announced this year than in all of 2018. 

And we’re only eight months within 2019.

Even Lane Bryant and its sister brand Catherines has shut down 40 stores in the last 12 months, with another sister brand Dressbarn shutting down all its stores by the end of the year.

We discussed the importance of physical stores and shopping in person versus online here. So what is going on within the plus size fashion industry?

We asked 10 plus size women who work within the fashion industry, to tell us what the closing of Avenue means to them and how they feel overall on the state of plus size fashion.

Jennifer Barreto-Leyva, Editor-in-Chief of Belleza XL and Plus Size Model

“Avenue will be a part of my story forever. I bought my first pair of white trousers there, which is an item in my closet that I have been told a million times I couldn’t wear because of my size. I have found a few other key pieces at Avenue but those trousers were like heaven to me. They were so pivotal in my self-love journey.  When I learned about the closing of Avenue stores, it felt like I was losing a good friend of mine that was by my side during difficult times. It’s a type of mourning that anyone could claim as vain, but only another fat girl could actually understand the deep meaning of this. This is a sad day.”

Miranda Schultz, Blogger & Influencer of The Plus Life Blog

“Avenue closing stores is a huge loss to the plus size community, specifically those of us over a size 24. As a size 28, there are so few in-store shopping options and losing a single option has a huge impact.

Avenue has always been a reliable source of wardrobe essentials for me like jeans, dress pants, and sweaters. Unfortunately, my local stores closed some time ago but I am sad for my fellow extended plus size friends in other cities.

My biggest concern is that as more mainstream brands begin offering some plus sizes (usually stopping at a 24 or lower), the competition for established brands offering larger sizes will be too much leading to more closures. As consumers, we need to be mindful of supporting the brands who serve people of larger sizes so they can remain in business and continue to serve. For me, that means spending money with brands who offer sizes 30 and up along with offering custom options.

Rebecca Alexander, Founder of the AllGo app,

“Avenue stores will undoubtedly be missed, but the shift might allow the company to better serve its customers. Fashion retailers have been training plus-size customers, especially those who wear sizes above 24, to shop online for years. And online shopping options have never been better. By focusing on the online side of its business, Avenue stands a better chance of creating modern styles and campaigns that can compete with the newer, more customer-driven brands serving the $21 billion plus size apparel market.”

Malia Anderson, Celebrity Wardrobe Stylist

“As a wardrobe stylist, I feel the lost of brick and mortar stores is a trend we need to work toward changing. With the Avenue closings, it is a failure to innovate for the changes being made in plus size fashion. I personally only shop Avenue for shoes and I think that is where I will feel the greatest loss.”

Leah Stanley, Blogger at Voluptuous Leah & Plus Size Model

“I’m feeling a little saddened to learn this. I found they have nice, comfortable, fashionable and affordable workwear, which is something we desperately need in this plus community. Sometimes I still struggle to find workwear that I WANT, so to see more plus size brands CLOSING rather than opening makes me wonder if we’re being set back? I also found their new Cloudwalkers make for the best heels / wedges, I was really looking forward to more coming down the line.

Overall, it’s sad to see plus size brands go out of business, while other brands who claim to cater to plus (but don’t actually) are booming. I want plus size clothes that actually fit me, not things that I have to squeeze into because a brand’s sizing is out of whack. That’s just what I found with Avenue, there was no squeezing and the fit was perfect for me.”

Liz Black, Journalist & Blogger at P.S. It’s Fashion

“Avenue will always make me think of my mom, as it was the only store in our area that carried her size. But unfortunately, they never really escaped their matronly aesthetic or branched out to offer trendier items as well, so I wasn’t shocked to see that they’re closing. However, I do feel like it’s a loss any time ANY plus size business closes, especially when they offer sizes above 24 in store, since so many other ‘size inclusive’ stores stop at that size.”

Lisa Schoenberger, Blogger & Influencer at MustangSallyTwo

“I am very sad that Avenue is closing because it’s such a huge loss for the industry, particularly for those women who wear size 26 and up. There are already limited options available in extended sizes; we need more options, not less.

Avenue was a brand that was supportive of representing women of all sizes and shapes, which I have a lot of respect for. I know many people have commented that their styles were outdated but I really feel they had made significant changes in the last year and were offering more fashion forward, on-trend options.

My only constructive feedback is that they did not offer as much variety in stores as they did online and the larger sizes should have been available in store. I think that would have given them a leg up with their competitors. And I don’t think I will ever get over the loss of their Cloudwalker shoes, which were one of the best wide width lines on the market.

With the current trend of retailers becoming ‘size inclusive’ but stopping at a size 24 or less (which is NOT size inclusive), it is disheartening that brands like Avenue, which have truly catered to plus size women for years. are disappearing.

Stephanie D. Penn, Editor-in-Chief of Daily Venus Diva

“Sadly, news of the Avenue store closings were no surprise to me. As much as they tried to revamp their advertising campaigns, breathe new life into their stores and even appeal to a younger audience by introducing Loralette, they’ve been in trouble quite some time…. at least.

I would’ve loved to see the Avenue embrace the audience that sits right between Loralette and Avenue, those women ages 30-50. With women in that age group, I often feel like we’re forgotten. Loralette appealed to our daughters and Avenue appealed to our mothers, but what about the women in-between?

Second, their style aesthetic has remained the same for as long as I can remember. A new plus size designer with a fresh perspective may have helped but sadly, we’ll never know if that was the answer.

Despite my frustrations with Avenue, I shopped with them often. They were my go-to store when I was in a bind because there aren’t many brick & mortars. That’s probably the most unfortunate thing about this announcement… another brick & mortar is closing their doors. If it were an online store, it would be easier to deal with, but this is a plus focused brick & mortar retailer that we’ll never be able to walk into again. Let that sink in.”

Chaya Milchtein, Writer, Model & Public Speaker, Mechanic Shop Femme

“I only recently learned that there was an Avenue store near my home in Wisconsin. After browsing the selection online, I was super excited!

When I got to the store, it was really disappointing that none of the more fashion forward pieces were for sale and available to be tried on. That creates a big disconnect with customers when they can’t actually try on styles they fall in love with online.

Avenue closing is a huge loss for extended sizes and physical plus size retail shoppers. Larger plus size people deserve access to fashion forward well-fitting clothing that’s available in-store and not just online.”

Aaronica Bell Cole, Blogger at The Crunchy Mommy

“I think it’s sad. While I love having access to plus size clothing on the internet, having an real place that plus size women are welcome is needed.”

As we have said before, we don’t want to see Avenue go. They are needed in this industry. However, if Avenue sticks around with a new buyer, it looks like they will solely be an eCommerce business.

Currently, all Avenue stores are holding final sales with 30% off full-priced items and 50% off clearance. No coupons are being accepted nor are any returns. Stores are projected to close by end of September. 

No word if Avenue’s website will still operate after store closings. It really depends on if the company gets a buyer.

How do you feel about Avenue stores shutting down? Do you prefer to shop in-store or online? Follow us on social media @plusmodelmag and let us know:  Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Twitter