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Friday, 4 September 2015

#StyleHasNoSize?

Evans seem to have forgotten the meaning of their own slogan, if their recently publicity stunt for the 'launch' of UK Plus Size Fashion Week (UKPSFW) is anything to go by. Both brands were eagerly sharing images on social media of the live store window yesterday, encompassing (at least) 5 plus size models wearing t-shirts featuring the #StyleHasNoSize slogan. The models were provided by Bridge Models and, allegedly (as I heard on the grapevine), chosen by UKPSFW. Reality check; I am well aware that plus size models, generally speaking, still have to conform to industry standards (5'8" minimum height and aesthetically 'pleasing'). I am also well aware that plus size models, generally speaking, are not representative of the plus size community, in that the modelling definition of plus size starts at a UK12 and often ends at a UK16-18 with few exceptions. But, I digress, this isn't about modelling.

This is about Evans wanting to have their cake and eat it (yes I went there). This is about style having a size (according to this 'event') and that size being an amalgamation of 'acceptable' fatness and curvy privilege. It is about that size being the same predominantly white (or otherwise light skinned; correct terminology please?), able bodied, cis female, heteronormative aesthetic that is spewed out time and time again by the fashion industry.





I don't care what line about modelling or industry standards you want to conjur up, you cannot conform to those standards and claim to be body positive/diverse. You just can't. It's like trying to fit a square into a triangular hole, it's not going to happen however much you push it. You can't use a body positive slogan as a marketing gimmick and not back it up. You can't have one standard for your customers and another for your marketing. You just can't, okay? No. I'm not having it. I'm not going to put up with it and I'm certainly not going to be silenced or censored when your PR company asks me to delete a tweet containing a screenshot of their e-mail asking for (free) promotion of the above. I'm not going to 'excuse' you when members of your team (unofficially) give your reasons (read: excuses) with their unsolicited pat on the head, or when Beth Willis (CEO of Bridge Models) calls this faux pas a 'moment in history' (post deleted). Furthermore, it's not just me. I am so proud of 'my' community right now for standing up and saying no en mass.

Got that, you 'two'? WE SAID NO. "I think most of us accept that when it comes to plus size fashion, models aren't quite where we want them to be. The world of plus size is changing and making baby steps forward and for the most part we are accepting of the very small steps that are happening. However this wasn't Evans selling clothes, it was showcasing that style belongs to everyone; to really show that in an effective way it needs to be on a varied canvas and as beautiful as those models undoubtedly are they don't showcase the campaign in the way that it deserved and that's nothing less than a massive shame" - Debz of The Not So Secret Diary of a Wannabe Princess























Tweets by Leah from Just Me Leah (@JustmeLeah_blog), shared with permission

I had to write this post, but in all honesty I'm getting a bit tired with the situation; or at least I'm getting tired of people's excuses and explanations. Is expecting body positive/diverse campaigns/brands to promote said body positivity/diversity too much to ask? Body image is a precious thing, not a marketing tactic; so is customer (and blogger) loyalty, funnily enough. I am well known for standing by my morals and boycotting brands that engage in body shaming, perhaps I should extend this to include hypocritical brands, too. Particularly ones that don't seem to wish to respond to any criticism, which UKPSFW is well known for (in my experience) regardless.

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for addressing this. It needed to be said. xx

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    1. My pleasure and thank you for the use of your tweets! x

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  2. Everything. All of this. Yes.
    They'll happily take our money but they don't give a shit about representing us.

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