The fashion industry has an unfortunate reputation for being exclusive in ways that are not always overwhelmingly positive. Over time, there have been multiple instances where the fashion industry has come under fire for its current trends or decisions. Some previous missteps include the fur era, casting strictly Caucasian, tall, and tiny models in all shows, and recently the evolution of leather becoming a less desirable material. But the most recent and perhaps even most important evolution in the fashion world has been the fact that the so-called plus size market has been grossly marginalised and underrepresented by most fashion brands. It has taken a while, but the fashion world is finally becoming more wholly inclusive. Further, consumers are taking notice and driving their business towards brands that have a focus on accepting and catering to individuals of all sizes.
It is about time that fashion recognised that they need to be aware and supportive of individuals that are different to their traditionally-held (ridiculous) standards. Anything else in this day and age is irresponsible and, more to the point, should not be acceptable. It is time that the industry realises that their “one size fits all” mentality is not healthy or realistic in this modern era. While the fashion world has been busy parading their latest looks on runways during fashion weeks and peak seasons, a significantly large percentage of consumers have been left feeling lost at sea and excluded from the excitement. Fashion should be about fun, complete inclusivity, and being bold. The traditional fashion industry depicts none of these ideals, but the modern mentalities arising as new generations begin to become the fashion industry’s target demographic are [finally] beginning to take hold.
The “plus size” mentality that has historically run deep in the fashion world is damaging not only to the hard-working models who have been taught and shown time and again that their body type is “too much” for traditional fashion, but also the young consumers buying these fashions and the brands making and selling them. The average woman in the United States is a size 14 to 16. When such a large percentage of the target demographic fits into the same size that is being campaigned so heavily as “plus size”, the term plus size does not make sense. In short, these sizes are just the same as all the others – sizes. Nothing more, nothing less. Brands have begun to either stock all sizes in the same fashions, doing away with “plus size” ranges altogether, or marketing the fashions differently (and, frankly, less offensively).
The shift in the attitude in the fashion industry towards larger sizes has been promising (to say the least) but there is still a long way to go. It seems that every time the fire dampens around the explosive conversation of larger sizes and models being used in fashion branding, the war ignites again. Even when the issue is put to bed, there is unrest surrounding the morality of it all. fortunately, more and more big name brands are leading the charge to eliminating the stigma surrounding larger sizes in fashion, but even so, there is a tidal wave of change necessary before the change is lasting. There are still some high end, globally recognisable brands that have yet to embrace the inclusion of plus-size models, as well as transgender models.
Victoria’s Secret is one of those companies. A titan of industry in the lingerie world, Victoria’s Secret is a fashion house that has built its empire by having only the most traditionally beautiful women walk. These women also happen to be tall and quite slim. This attitude and conscious decision on behalf of the brand has created an exclusive brand that, more and more often, buyers are becoming uncomfortable with. Certain fashions should not be exclusively available to certain sized individuals, and every shape and size of the human body should be celebrated – especially in high fashion. The fashion industry is one that has been through countless evolutions in its time. One of the oldest industries in the world, the fashion sector has had its fair share of ups and downs.
Having to fight tooth and nail to overcome the pitfalls caused by its own internal errors, the fashion world has been a consistently prominent industry around the world. the most recent (and perhaps the most disturbing) blunder has come as multiple fashion houses have refused to modernise and cater to individuals who wear larger sizes. We are thankfully seeing the beginnings of a tide that is shifting towards positive resolution, but there is still a long way to go. While some fashion houses are too emboldened in their own ways and thus will likely never change, the majority that are ready and willing to change are the ones who are becoming more popular among modern consumers. One size does not fit all, and it is about time that the fashion sector realised this and took conscious steps to include fashions of all sizes.