Text: Elise Slater, AnyBody member
Image: High street retailer Mango shows the world how larger sizes should be done with this fashion-forward campaign
Australian fashion label Leona Edminston has announced it is going to increase its largest size from a 16 to a size 24 - a move worthy of a mention as a label finally recognises that women of all sizes want to be acknowledged and embraced by the designer fashion market - which has largely shunned women of size.
In this interview with the heads of Leona Edminston questions are raised, and brilliantly persued by the interviewer Patty Huntington as to why sizes 8-16 will continued to be sold in store, but the sizes 18-24 will only be sold via the on-line boutique - surely discrimination?
...A label interested in the profits of expanding it's range but not wanting to attract the same people into it's stores??
The management say that their research has found larger women do not enjoy the boutique shopping experience and thus would prefer to shop online. Personally I think this is a cop out - many larger women have never before enjoyed shopping in boutiques for the fear and humiliation that comes with asking for a size which does not exist. These women assume the store will not cater for them, and thus have been taught not to enter the fashion boutique which only caters for the slim and fashionable.
If you are going to make the move and provide clothes for larger sizes at the same retail price these women should also be entitled to the same shopping experience and service, and who knows you may just change the face of Australian fashion, and also change the face- bring a smile to the face of - all the women who have for so long been denied the experience of walking into a shop with the confidence their body will be catered for.
for the full article click here
Some plus sized facts for the Australian market as investigated by Patty Huntington:
Much has been written in Australia in the past five years about the “average” Australian size, pegged on some new reports, notably by the SHARP Dummies company, with the University of Adelaide (2002) and Rip Curl (2003). The SHARP National Size and Shape Survey found that the Australian “average”, based on the current Australian standard size 12, had increased to between sizes 14-16.
That report was rejected by Standards Australia. It was not considered to be sufficiently comprehensive. The data had been gleaned from 1400 women from six Needlework Craft and Quilt Fairs around Australia, average age 50.
The Australian sizing standards brouhaha rages on with not just Standards Australia, but SHARP Dummies and others, pushing for better industry standardization. A “standard” size 12 Myer could be a size 16, claims a SHARP Dummies rep, due to both what it claims is the increased national average - and the industry penchant for “vanity sizing”, to make larger sizes more palatable.
In a paper delivered to the UNAUSTRALIA conference at the University of Canberra in December 2006, Kate Kennedy claimed however that there is no evidence that the average sized Australian woman has increased 15 cms in the bust, waist and hip since the 70s…"It does not appear that we have changed shape to the extent of the hype in the media stories that describe expanding waists and missing Marilyn Monroe figures” says Kennedy, who attributes “arbitrary size conclusions” to “erroneous data, subjective interpretations and dubious methodology.”
• The Australian medical profession has made reference to the “size 16 average” claims in its own communications vis-a-vis the Australian obesity epidemic. As a result of the latter, the Australian Medical Association has claimed, almost 60 per cent of Australians are now overweight or obese - a 2.5-fold rise since 1980, with Australia boasting one of the highest rates of type 2 diabetes in the developed world.
• The size acceptance movement claims the medical profession is “obsessed” with obesity and that the dangers of obesity are “overstated”.
• In the US, in 2005, figures from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention suggested that earlier US government figures about mortality from obesity had been overstated.
• A February 2008 report published in the British Medical Journal also claimed the obesity problem is overstated. The report was done by Patrick Basham, an adjunct scholar at US civil libertarian think tank The Cato Institute and John Luik, science columnist at conservative Canadian newsmagazine The Western Standard. The duo also happen to be co-authors of the controversial 2007 book Diet Nation: Exposing the Obesity Crusade.
• Some recent Australian research indicated that that the obesity crisis in Australian children may be overstated.
• Also published in 2007, The Seven Deadly Sins of Obesity – How The Modern World is Making Us Fat, by Australians Dr Jane Dixon and Professor Dorothy Broom. Discusses the role of the so-called “obesogenic” environment in the obesity epidemic.
• The AMA points the finger at “60 percent of tv news items” for blaming the victim for the obesity epidemic, thereby taking the onus off government and industry responsibility.
• The AMA urges the Australian government to “match Britain’s determination to tackle its obesity epidemic by adopting a national obesity strategy”. It cites the 2006 Access Economics Cost of Obesity report, which estimates that around 19 per cent of adult men and 22 per cent of adult women in Australia are obese.
• A UK professor of metabolic medicine has suggested that all “oversized” clothing - including any womens sizes over 16 - should have labels inserted with obesity help line numbers in a bid to reduce Britain’s obesity crisis.
• Sixteen year-old Chloe Marshall has just become the first size 16 to make the Miss England finals.