Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Plus, Fuss, and Fashion

Today's Calgary Herald has an article by Joanne Sasvari, "Plus Minus Clothing." She takes a look at the fashion industry and the way it's missing a target audience: plus size women. Praising current retailers catering to sizes over 12, she notes that "plus-size fashions now account for one in five purchases in Canada's $10.8-billion ladies apparel market, a 20 per cent increase since 2003" and laments that there are so few retailers in our market that cushion the frustration so many women feel when trying to buy fashionable clothes that are made with satisfying material:

A bigger reason for dissatisfaction is that even among those labels that do offer plus sizes, the clothes are often not very nice, even though they can be significantly more expensive. Often they are not cut in a way that's flattering to a larger body. They're not available in as many colours or styles, or carefully tailored. And they're made with cheaper fabrics, as if a woman loses her love of silk and cashmere when she hits a size 14.

The end of the article lists some retailers that do carry plus size clothing. Seems to me that seven shops in Calgary, the others online stores, is a reflection of the intensity of the fat-hating culture surrounding us. Consider the number of women's clothing retailers for size 0-12 and anyone can understand that saturation is frustrating. Breaking down the negative stigma and pejorative rhetoric of plus-size women is an ongoing struggle in our culture of the glorification of emaciation. Calgary's Anarchist Bookfair on April 25-27 is hosting a number of workshops, one of them addressing fat-phobia in our culture, negative language, and shutting down the epidemic of plus size women hating. As always, dialogue sheds light on the darkness, so a tip of my hat to Joanne Sasvari for her article and her fat positive message in our City today.

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