‘I shouldn’t be excluded from sustainable fashion just because I’m plus-size’

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Photo Credit:Cosmopolitan UK

Sustainability can and should be inclusive.

(@csiriano) on
Jun 9, 2020 at 9:54am PDT
Well, even if slow fashion brands want to offer extended sizes they are met with a few obstacles…
The reasons you might’ve heard before
It costs more.
Firstly, sustainable production costs are already higher than non-sustainable ones, meaning additional expenses need to be kept to a minimum.
It’s risky.
Add to that the fact that many sustainable labels are privately-owned small businesses without the backing of major conglomerates. This means some brands are unable to take on as many financial risks – such as testing the market with a larger sized collection – because each season pays for the next.
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Uncertainty about whether it will sell.
Having worked with small fashion labels, I know that adding even one more size to a production line can be a ‘gamble’ for the designer, especially if it doesn’t sell or isn’t picked up by buyers. So even if demand is high, the fact that many major retailers don’t cater to the plus-size market means that smaller brands can’t always afford the punt.
That’s not to say the market isn’t there, it just means it might be trickier for smaller labels to tap into it… which brings our attention to larger sustainable brands that already have the manpower and resources to produce extended size ranges.

What needs to change
Many of the industry juggernauts’ existing customer bases (and profits) could grow even more if they just catered for larger sizes – it’s a win-win. So why don’t they?
I mean, if a brand says it designs for
every
woman, why not put their money where their mouth is and show up for the plus-sized community? Because, hello! I am a customer and newsflash: I and millions of other woman want to shop sustainably.
Even if they do extend their sizing, we don’t want them to mark-up the larger sizes by 30% to keep overheads low. Yes ‘fat tax’ is a real thing, and it makes us feel like sh*t. We are worth more than a bottom line.
We are worth more than you’re bottom line
It’s worth noting that some eco-minded brands are leading the way to greater inclusivity, proving that curvy can be conscious and cool.
New Zealand brand Maggie Marilyn is one of the few contemporary labels that has extended its size range up to a 16 (and will be going up to a size 20 later this year). Marilyn has been at the forefront of the sustainable movement providing transparency of supply chain to packaging and even starting environmental initiatives.
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