I was a UK 16-18 from 2009-2019 and even before that I was always bottom heavy and can I tell how difficult it was to buy clothes. The main reason for me to enter body image coaching as part of my image consulting service was also this.
I went from stores to stores, my budget was Shoppers Stop to Westside stores and later on moving to Zara and Mango. If you have observed, some stores have a special so called plus size section and that is always 25% expensive then their regular pieces and some places will charge a higher cost once the sizing go above XL. That is fat tax. The retailers indirectly tell people who are above a certain size that “hey we need more fabric for your size and we are charging you for that”. This is so unfair, the same retailers don’t tell the petite and smaller sizes “that we will charge less since we need less fabric”.
The whole idea of fat tax is not restricted to fast fashion brands. Look at luxury retailers, go to any boutique stores and you will see that the moment you ask for the supposedly plus size outfit, the designers will immediately ask for more money. Even some of the smaller sustainable inclusive brands do this.
My point here is, the retail cost is not tiered based. It’s not XS-S: a cost
S-M : a+5%
M-L : a+10%
L-XL : a+ 15%
XL-2XL : a+ 20%
The retail cost is simply higher for women who are XXL and above.
I genuinely never raised my voice or never bothered so much as a UK16-18, because in my mind I thought that my body is such, that nothing looks good on me, that it’s okay to pay more.
But the more I worked with clients, I started making mental notes that my plus size client on an average spent 30% more on the same neutral basic wardrobe shopping as opposed to a client up to UK14 size. This for me is unfair. It’s not just about the cost anymore, it’s about self consciousness.
When I enter a brand online or offline, and I see a difference in costing, I feel demotivated to buy or recommend that brand to my clients.
When the fashion industry is riding the high horse of inclusivity, the removal of fat tax is an important step to practice inclusion of body shapes and sizes.
Have you experienced this?
Please do share your experiences and views in the comments below.
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