After Channel 4 broadcast Plus Sized Wars, celebrities have been weighing in on the body debate and plus size fashion. Now it’s Beauty Content Director Jess Spiring's turn...
There was major drama in fashionland this week, following the broadcast of Channel 4‘s documentary about plus size fashion.
Making most headlines was ex-singer and ITV’s Loose Women host Jamelia who prompted howls of outrage when she said overweight women shouldn’t be able to shop in mainstream stores.
‘I don’t believe stores should stock clothes below or above a certain weight,’ she said. ‘They should be made to feel uncomfortable when they go in and can’t find a size. It shouldn’t be normalised in high street stores. They should have specialist shops.’
It wasn’t long before other celebrities like Jameela Jamil and Gemma Collins hit back and Jamelia apologised (kind of) saying: ‘Knowing I offended people really upset me and knowing I made people question themselves and their choices. All I can do is apologise for that.’
So you should Jamelia. Fat shaming isn’t only unkind and unsisterly IT DOESN’T WORK.
Making obese women hide away in grey size 24 jersey sweatpants that they buy in ‘specialist shops’ isn’t the answer. That’s not going to inspire them to make healthy, body nourishing decisions. Feeling invisible, unheard, unattractive and creatively stifled would send any woman to the nearest cheese counter.
Why social commentators think brands like Yours Clothing and Evans shouldn’t accomodate our increasing waistlines because they’re somehow responsible for what their customers eat is like saying Topshop shouldn’t sell heels because they give us bunions!
As vocal supporters of British Plus Size Fashion Week, which brings together plus size models, bloggers and brands, we’ve often been asked ‘isn’t that just encouraging obesity?’ Oh please. Not unless attending the event comes with a free lifetime supply of Dunkin’ Doughnuts.
What the event and brands like Evans and Mango (who’s Violeta range goes up to a size 20) do is not normalizing obesity, it’s allowing women on the upper end of the weight spectrum to find likeminded (and similar sized) women to inspire them – and fashion that fits and flatters their shape. The two things fashion should – allow us to express ourselves and boost our confidence.
As Anna Shillinglaw, founder of model agency Milk Management says in the programme when asked whether it’s healthy to take on size 26 model Tess Holliday, ‘I’m not a doctor, that’s not my job.’
And neither is it fashion’s job. Fashion should be fun. It’s certainly not medicine, or the answer to our obesity epidemic. That lies in making ALL women feel valued in our society. Whether they’re a size 6 or 26.