A Model Has Called Out Australian Clothing Brands For Being Fatphobic

"I can't find anything that fits me in a mall in Australia."

fashion fatphobia

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An influencer has called out Australian fashion brands for fatphobia and being way behind the times on inclusive clothing.

“If you are a size 14 in Australia, there is a slim chance you can walk into any store and buy clothes, let alone clothes you want,” said body neutrality advocate Imogen Ivy on Friday in a viral Instagram post. “Size 16 plus, even smaller chance. Size 18 plus, don’t even bother. It’s about time this horrendous fatphobia stops.”

The model and creative from Sydney’s Northern Beaches, who is currently based in London, noted that while places like the UK, US, and EU now cater for curvy, plus-sized, and fat bodies, Australia hasn’t caught up.

Despite the actual average dress size of an Australian woman being 14-16, designers tend to cater with an “idealised” customer in mind, and hold reluctance to make clothing in larger sizes, according to Choice.

While specific size inclusive brands do exist, the options are limited in most Australian mainstream outlets, and hinder the ability of plus-sized shoppers to feel comfortable and fully express themselves.

In December, alternative store Dangerfield was slammed for limiting its curve line. Despite previously catering for sizes 18-24, the Australian-owned brand confirmed it was axing options above size 20.

A lack of size inclusivity has a domino effect, said Ivy, who explained that it perpetuates a fatphobic society more broadly, which trickles into fatphobic dating culture, into bikini culture — continuing a seemingly never-ending cycle.

“As a size 16/18 in Australia, I get so anxious about going to the shops now because I know that I won’t be able to find anything that fits in 90 percent of the stores, especially the stores for people my age,” a follower anonymously shared with Ivy. “Shopping with friends is just so embarrassing.”

“I can’t find anything that fits me in a mall in Australia,” another person replied. “I’ve just moved home to New Zealand recently, and their sizing is much more inclusive. Unfortunately there are considerably less shops or brands, but still!”

The situation isn’t much better online, where a lot of models only portray a certain body shape and size to show off clothing.

“I don’t know whether the material is a cheap jersey that will go sheer when it encounters a booty. I have no inkling whether my boobs are going to spill out because the neckline is impossibly cut. I’m unable to ascertain whether a crop top will really be more of a bralette on me,” reflected Isabelle Sacks in Fashion Journal, on the grievance of misleading advertising when a shopper can’t tell what a garment will look like on a bigger body.

Everyone deserves clothing that makes them feel good about themselves, and the freedom to walk into a shopping centre and pick something out that actually fits. “Wakey wakey, Australia. About time you step up,” said Ivy.

Photo Credit: Nike