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Fatphobia in Fashion

You may remember me from such viral posts as, ‘girl puts fat leg in small skirt‘. This was in response to an actual product shot of a slim woman posing in one leg of some plus size shorts, which even if we ignore the fatphobia for a second, is pretty obviously a terrible way to sell anything. This was almost 2 years ago now, but it still keeps happening. The entire fashion industry seems to be built on making people feel bad about themselves in order to make money, and it’s time that changes. As a cis, white, able-bodied woman, I’m aware of my privilege and representation in the media, but that doesn’t mean I have to ignore it or accept it. I want fashion to be slower, accessible to everyone, aimed at everyone, and ethical.

I run a very little business, but it really takes no extra effort to cater to a wide size range. My work is mostly handmade to order, so I acknowledge that it does mean I have the benefit of not ordering in thousands of dresses in a size 36 and never selling them – but really, if I can offer 16 different sizes then anyone can!

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I see some places charging more for plus size clothes, whilst offering fewer options (and they’re often much more boring – butterflies and cold shoulders, anyone?) Everything I make is available at the same price in every size – because there’s absolutely no reason why going from a size 16 to an 18 means your sense of style suddenly changes, and there’s certainly no reason why that should come with a sudden price increase either. There’s never a difference in price between size 6 and 16, so there shouldn’t be a difference in price between size 16 and 26 either. The argument that more fabric is used is invalid when it’s only actioned at the higher end of the scale – and when high streets have a colossal profit margin anyway, it doesn’t really stand. It’s designed to prey on a more captive audience – if you have less choice in stores, then you’ll buy what’s available, even if it costs more for you than your friend who is one size smaller – because where else will you go?

Fatphobia is just one area in which the fashion industry is failing us – it’s also inherently ableist, racist, ageist and transphobic – but I feel it may be disingenuous to speak too much on these issues as they don’t directly affect me, and I would hate to do more harm than good by speaking about something which I have no personal experience with. I will say, however, that as the majority of models we see on catwalks, in adverts, and in magazines etc are cis, white, able-bodied, young, thin women, we need to do more to represent everyone in society. I know that I can do better in terms of representation – but at the moment, as I don’t have the budget to hire models, you’re stuck with me and my mannequins!

Fashion is often seen as frivolous and vacuous, not to be taken seriously – but we all wear clothes, so the industry affects us all whether we realise it or not. My aim is to provide fun, ethically made clothing, in a wide range of sizes, to anyone and everyone who wants it. I don’t want anybody to suffer for my profit margin. I don’t want the environment to suffer so I can release a whole new line every few months, just for everyone to bin last season’s wares. And I don’t want anyone to look at one of my dresses and wish they were smaller so they could wear it.

My dresses are handmade to order in UK sizes 6-36, and my skirts are available in sizes S-XXL (6-34) – but I can also make any of them in any other size (it’s just easier for me to have a core range of sizes). All of my work is available to order from my Etsy shop, and if there’s anything you struggle with when shopping on the high street, in terms of length, fit, accessibility – anything! – just let me know, and I will do my absolute best to accommodate you.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/Interrobangirl

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