Did you see any of the controversial coverage of plus-sized model Nancy Upton? She was offended by American Apparel’s search for a plus-sized model so she entered their contest on her own. And guess what? She won.
She won the online poll for their new plus-sized model but American Apparel chose someone else as the winner because she was “mocking” them. She explains why she was offended with their campaign strategy:
“How offensive the campaign was. How it spoke to plus-sized women like they were starry-eyed 16 year olds from Kansas whose dream, obviously, was to hop a bus to L.A. to make it big in fashion. How apparently there were no words in existence to accurately describe the way American Apparel felt about a sexy, large woman, and so phrases like “booty-ful” and “XLent” would need to be invented for us—not only to fill this void in American vocabulary, but also make the company seem like a relatable, sassy friend to fat chicks.”
Let me say, I’ve never shopped at American Apparel, at any size I’ve been, and I have no idea what their usual marketing strategy is. I think as a general rule any company that is trying to provide people of all sizes the opportunity to buy what they want, that’s a good thing–even if their press release is obnoxious.
She was trying to make a statement about the plight of plus-sized people. Her photo entry wasn’t accepted by everyone, though. She states in the interview that a fellow plus-sized model who had entered was upset with her:
“…She shamed me for hurting the world of plus-sized modeling and turning something she took very seriously into a big joke.”
I started looking around to see what kind of issues come with stores providing plus-sized clothes–like is this really that big of any issue? Is there controversy? I found a website with an article about the topic. It’s the opinion of the writer who used to work in retail, so take it with a grain of salt, but here it is:
‘ “Larger women as a whole are viewed in society as not acceptable and not needing cute clothes. If you start marketing to a larger size group then in some ways, you will be known as “catering to those that are larger and can’t fit the smaller sizes like they should.” ‘ (source)
I guess I don’t understand why having a selection of sizes over 12 in your store will mean you’re suddenly “catering” to larger people. Does it mean the store has to carry less clothing in smaller sizes? No. Does it mean the store will lose money? Um, no, I think they would entice potential customers to come INTO their store and spend money if they offered what people want.
When I was wearing a size 24W in jeans I shopped at Walmart. The only reason: they offered my size. It wasn’t my preferred place to go clothes shopping but jeans were jeans. I also shopped at Target until I no longer fit in their biggest size (XXXL I think?). None of the clothes I bought were what I’d call cute. In fact, I just wore a lot of “big” clothes. Big shirts, long skirts that covered me, jeans and a big t-shirt on the weekends.
I never really shopped at Lane Bryant, Catherine’s, Avenue Plus, etc. Their plus-sized clothes were stylish and cute but they were expensive. Once in awhile I bought clothes at Torrid, but again it was an expensive place to shop. When you’re a young 20-something with a limited income you can’t be spending hundreds of dollars on clothes.
Thinking back, would I have liked to see more plus-sized options at stores I liked to shop at? Hell ya! The clothing options were never that great when I was shopping. I took what I could get. I wore a lot of black. I wore very plain clothing because it fit and I thought it was slimming.
I don’t buy the argument that stores can’t afford to provide plus-sized clothes because it was cost more for them to make due to the extra fabric. If a store was buying the clothes from a sweatshop in India for 50 cents and charging over $60 for it in America, you’re still making a profit. So why not provide clothing to a group of people that will spend that $60 to buy it?
As for Nancy Upton…I’m still not sure how I feel about her statement. I want to get behind a plus-sized person who is trying to be a voice for the other plus-sized people out there….
QUESTION: Where do you stand on this issue?