BC SoftWear promotes spa inclusivity with plus-sized robes

26 March 2024

Plus-sized hotel and spa guests may well feel body shamed when not offered large enough robes, indicated Spa textiles supplier, BC SoftWear, which is urging the industry to consider the range of bathrobes it is stocking, in a bid to highlight the vital role spas can play in supporting inclusivity. The company, which has been supplying luxury robes to spas for 21 years, is appealing to the sector to offer more appropriately sized robes for plus-sized guests as standard.

BC SoftWear has already seen a surge in demand for its 2XL bathrobes, a clear indication of the rising need for plus-size apparel in the spa and wellness industry. Notably, sales figures more than doubled from 2019 to 2024 for these larger-sized robes. Demand for 3XL and 4XL bathrobes has also surged by more than 200%, with BC SoftWear being one of the only companies to cater to this market.

Barbara Cooke, BC SoftWear’s founder and CEO, explained: “Whether these robes are needed for plus-sized guests, pregnant women, male visitors or guests who want to size up for extra comfort, it’s clear that by not providing an array of robe sizes we’re alienating groups of people from our spas and not behaving inclusively.

“If spas don’t offer large enough robes, this can be a deterrent for guests who already feel unsure about visiting. There are still too many spa operators who don’t consider this at all when looking at their operational budgets, meaning they’re excluding a significant segment of a market.”

The plus-sized community is speaking out across social media to highlight the issue of inappropriate robe sizing in spas. Amy Bates, founder of The Beauty Rebellion, which promotes inclusivity, diversity and body positivity, said: “I applaud BC SoftWear for urging spas to expand their range of robes and for its dedication to being a size inclusive company. This commitment to embracing diversity will only be effective if spa leaders make the decision to offer wider size ranges and also train staff to understand how to sensitively assess the correct size for each individual.

“As an industry, it's vital the spa sector recognises the impact its services can have on body image – we’re inadvertently perpetuating negative stereotypes if we fail to cater to diverse body types. Robes may seem like minor details, but they represent a significant barrier to inclusion and comfort for many. It’s estimated 67% of the UK are size 18 and above, so it's clear current offerings only cater for the mythical ideal body. It’s important we drive a cultural shift across the entire industry sooner rather than later; I hope to see more brands leading with inclusion in mind.”

BC SoftWear offers robes ranging in size from small to 4XL; most only go up to XL, with a small number offering 2XL. The 3XL segment has shown remarkable growth since 2019 – a 256% increase. Last year, BC SoftWear introduced additional colours to its plus-sized robes collection, to ensure no one is made to feel like they stand out.

Despite the marked increase in the number of spas buying its larger robes, Cooke agrees much more can be done to ensure every spa is set up to make all guests feel as comfortable as possible. “Ultimately, we want to encourage operators to consider every guest who might walk through their door,” said Cooke. “These insights reflect a broader shift in the market towards inclusivity and body positivity, but many spas are still unwittingly excluding guests. As we continue to expand our offerings, we remain committed to catering to the diverse needs of all our customers, ensuring comfort, style, and quality remain at the heart of what we offer.

“Our client Champneys has bought every robe size possible for more than 10 years now. A pioneer in wellness, this highlights their sustained commitment to inclusivity and catering to a diverse clientele, including plus-sized guests, aligning with our mission to provide for a varied customer base.”

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