MONDAY READS: Why Size Matters to Sustainability

Written by: Amelia Hoge

“Inclusivity and sustainability are the future of fashion. These elements are important to Generation Z, and they are our future.” – Kathryn Retzer

While many retailers have taken incredible strides to address the increasing environmental impacts of the industry’s current production methods, very few have considered another possible factor in the equation: size inclusivity. Whitney Bauck, assistant editor of Fashionista, introduces an imperative perspective on what is currently missing from sustainability initiatives, and in my opinion, it plays a major role on how large the sustainability movement can grow.

Sustainable retailers have convinced their shoppers that their purchases help to reduce carbon footprint and promote more ethical production. This, of course, is true, but just by looking at sheer data, they are largely ignoring the fact that the average American woman is a size 16 or 18, which means that the average American women doesn’t even have the option to buy from most of these sustainable brands.

Kathryn Retzer, co-founder of luxury size-inclusive e-comm site 11 Honoré, says that the majority of plus-size clothing is fast fashion, which completely goes against all efforts towards sustainability. On top of this, in the past, fashion’s emphasis on slimmer figures meant the industry didn’t expect women over size 14 to be happy enough with their bodies to invest in higher-quality clothing. In Whitney Bauck’s words: “Instead, those customers were often subtly encouraged to think of their bodies as something that could (or should) be altered to fit smaller clothing, rather than the other way around.” This is a rather archaic view and thankfully body diversity movements have caused a shift away from this view,  but it still seems as though retailers haven’t caught up.

If retailers want to up-level their sustainability efforts, creating more size-inclusive sustainable collections could be an extremely effective solution. Notably, Reformation, a sustainability-minded and on-trend brand, just launched an inclusive collection in March, with sizes that range from 0-22 and XS-3X. This is what the future of fashion looks like, and retailers might want to take some notes.

Thanks for reading this week’s Monday Reads. See you next week!

National Retail Federation Student Association @ FIT



Featured Photo Source

Fashionista | Whitney Bauck (April 26 2018): The Ethical Fashion Movement Can’t Progress if it Ignores Plus-Size Shoppers

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