Saturday, 1 February 2020

Christian Siriano Tells The Truth About Size Inclusivity in Fashion

We make clothing, but we've chosen not to clothe you_ is a statement of dehumanizationChristian Siriano is a designer who has made a name for himself designing for, among others, plus-size clients. You may remember that him for his work with Lizzo, and as the only person who was willing to dress Leslie Jones for her Ghostbuster Premiere. When people congratulated him, he wisely said

“It shouldn’t be exceptional to work with brilliant people just because they’re not sample size. Congrats aren’t in order, a change is.”

Recently he was interviewed for Ashley Graham’s podcast (Graham is a plus size model who has said some very questionable things about being fat) and she asked him about size inclusivity in fashion. Siriano said:

“It’s definitely harder, it’s not the easiest job,” Siriano answered. “And that’s really because the process is longer. It’s like, you have to fit your clothes on multiple sizes before you actually produce them, which a lot of brands just don’t want to do it because they don’t want to take the time or the money and the resources. So, yeah, that’s it! But it’s doable. We do it. And I have a small team. So, it’s not that hard.”

It’s not actually about what’s possible – Mallorie Dunn’s Smart Glamour produces clothes in literally every size. It’s about companies choosing not to clothe certain sizes of people because they can make more money if they don’t bother, or because they want to leverage fatphobia as a way to seem “cooler” (*cough* Abercrombie *cough*) To add insult to injury, many companies do this while claiming that they make clothes for “all shapes and sizes.”

Anyone who knows me is aware that I’m not much of a fatshionista, and I have a lot of issues with the way that capital F Fashion is used as a way to perpetuate existing marginalizations including racism, sizeism, ableism, ageism, and classism. But in our culture the truth is that clothing is important, and everyone should be able to participate. It’s not just about personal style, it affects every area of our lives including our ability to present ourselves as we want to, to get jobs and promotions etc.

I’m tired of stores like Old Navy that sell plus clothing online but not in the stores (this even happens at specifically plus-size stores where so-called “extended sizes” are not carried in the store.) I’m tired of paying a fat tax.  I am really tired of clothing lines – especially those that are backed by tons of money – that don’t bother to go above an XL, or above a size 24.

It’s not a “fashion statement.” It’s an act of dehumanization to say “We make clothing, but we’ve chosen not to clothe you.”

Fat people deserve far better than this. This is an excellent opportunity for thin allies to step in, choosing to shop at stores that sell plus sizes and to speak up to brands they love that don’t bother to clothe the people they love.

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