It's no secret that fashion still doesn't cater to the majority. Given that the average national size is a UK 16, it's bemusing to think that some high-street brands still don't stock clothes over a 14 or, shockingly, even a 12 in some cases. But the tide is changing – albeit slowly. Last week, two of the world's major fashion powers, LVMH and Kering, who both own some of the most famous labels, committed to avoid using size-zero models. And this week, another response to the body-positivity movement: US department store Kmart has declared it will no longer use the term "plus-sized". Instead, it will offer a “Fabulously Sized” collection in stores across America.
This new initiative will coincide with Kmart's new ad campaign, promoting body positivity under the slogan "I Can". According to Women’s Wear Daily, larger sizes make up 21 per cent of Kmart's sales, so a marketing campaign like this one obviously makes sense from a business perspective, but is a long time coming for most customers. And some have pointed out that, sadly, it doesn’t quite hit the mark.
Fashion shouldn't be exclusive – every woman has the right to express herself
It's no bad thing that more brands are waking up to the realisation that women over a size 10 do enjoy clothes and – more importantly for them – want to spend money on them. But if we're looking to achieve inclusivity, it seems misjudged to continue to label larger sizes in this way – to think of anything over a certain size as the other; to point out a difference. Ultimately, isn’t using another term simply a continuation of the notion that, if women don’t fit a specific, “normalised” body ideal, then they must be labelled differently? While there are some brilliant plus-size ranges available on the UK high street, a lot of them are still their own entities, offering restricted, less diverse versions of a brand's main collection.
Arguably, Kmart should be applauded for at least trying to cater to a greater range of women and acknowledging their worth as consumers. But to achieve true inclusivity and to banish the implicit body-shaming women face on an everyday basis, surely the concept of plus-sized should be eradicated altogether, and replaced instead with clothes to fit and suit everyone? Fashion shouldn't be exclusive – every woman has the right to express herself, without feeling like she's being subversive, simply because she's not the size society says she should be.