Brands That Cater to 'All Bodies' Aren't Always What They Seem


Daya by Zendaya

 

These days, it's not uncommon for retailers (or articles about retailers) to tout their alleged size-inclusive fashion. "Body positivity" has gone mainstream, after all.

With slightly wider-spread awareness of the importance of representing all bodies, there's undoubtedly been more commercialization of the language used in both fat-positive activism and its arguably lesser political offspring, body positivity. Among that language is the idea of "size inclusivity," which suggests that all bodies, shapes, and sizes are being catered to, celebrated, and respected.

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This would be a wonderful thing, of course. In an ideal world, every retailer out there would be offering styles in sizes XXS through 9XL and beyond (in both directions). Size-inclusive collections would be jam-packed with clothing so versatile in size range, price point, and aesthetics that anybody truly could find something to rock the heck out of.

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Unfortunately, this isn't what "brands that cater to all sizes" are typically offering. By marketing themselves as size-inclusive, or allowing journalists to market them as size-inclusive, many retailers are contributing to the very erasure they supposedly seek to mend. The simple truth is that bodies don't stop existing at a size 20, 22, or 24, and neither should their clothes. For this reason, it's important to be cautious of slogans and taglines that promise "women of all sizes" or "bodies of all sizes" are being served. Here are some examples.

  • Daya by Zendaya

    Take actress and musician Zendaya Coleman's clothing line, Daya, for example. When Coleman launched her brand in 2016, everyone from Glamour to Allure promised that this would be a "truly inclusive clothing line"; something for "women of all sizes."

    Daya merchandise is available in sizes 0 to 22. In other words, it's only plus-size babes on the lower end of the size spectrum who get to rock the celeb's trendy wears. Anyone fatter? Not so much.

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  • Boohoo

    British brand Boohoo is beloved by many for its edgy take on contemporary trends. When the brand collaborated with Jordyn Woods, model and BFF to Kylie Jenner, Cosmopolitan was amongst the publications referring to this collection as a "size-inclusive line." Products would be available in sizes 2 to 22.

    This wasn't especially surprising, considering Boohoo's Curve line is generally a 12 to 20 deal. Again, it was only smaller fats who were deemed worthy of size inclusivity.

  • Missguided, Rue107, Charlotte Russe

    There are plenty of other brands that typically make it onto lists of "size-inclusive places to shop," when, in reality, they only make clothing for a specific portion of the population.

    Many are more progressive than the standard 0–12 retailer in that they at least try to have plus-size ranges. Unfortunately, a lot of those plus-size ranges just don't satiate the gap in the market for larger fats. Missguided, Rue107, and Charlotte Russe's wears generally come in sizes 0 to 20, 0 to 24, and XS to 3XL (or, approximately up to a 24), respectively.

    Better than your average retailer? Sure. "Size-inclusive"? No way.

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  • As for brands doing it right...

    In truth, there aren't a whole lot of brands doing size inclusivity right just yet. Indie retailer Smart Glamour sells every single piece in sizes XXS through 6XL, and does custom measurements. British brand Plus Equals is also doing wonderfully bold things in the plus-size-inclusive world, producing garments in sizes 10 to 38 and to custom measurements. While smaller straight sizes are not included, this is because designer Jazmin Lee is actively choosing to craft a space that is inclusive to a group of people who too often go ignored and under-served, as she told plus-size writer, blogger, and social media editor Bethany Rutter on the podcast Hello Friend.

    That said, what stands out about collections such as these is that, as well as having a comprehensive size range as a foundation, they both offer made-to-measure fashion, too. All bodies can be catered to because all bodies can select the option of having tailor-made pieces that uniquely accommodate their actual figures.

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    This is what proper size inclusivity looks like. It does not end at a size 22 or 24. It does not end for folks who have visible rolls or wobbly bellies or who aren't hourglass-shaped. It basically just doesn't end. It's also modeled on individuals of all shapes and sizes. Ya know, because the whole point is actual inclusion of and for all people.

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