Erdem announced today that from now on, they had ‘committed to making the brand inclusive for all.’
The designer brand will now stock sizes from a UK 6 to a UK 22, starting from its Pre-Spring 2021 collection – a huge change from their previous ranges, which were only accessible to women up to a UK size 16.
Refinery29 reported that Erdem was shaking things up as part of an ‘ongoing commitment to becoming more inclusive‘, which includes the latest campaign that sees British plus-size model Charlotte Robinson in the brand’s ethereal and dreamy gowns.
Like many, we applaud Erdem’s decision to be more size inclusive. However according to PwC data, by 2022 plus size women will account for 22 per cent of the UK fashion market – so why isn’t this the norm?
While some other designers such as Mary Katranzou, Diane Von Furstenberg and Christopher Kane also stock plus sizes, there are too many that fail to cater to women over a size 16.
The Evening Standard put this lack of inclusivity down to snobbery in fashion and the investment required to make it happen. While it might seem simple to just add a few extra sizes into the mix, there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.
Vogue Business explain that brands require an increased fabric yield, new base patterns, extra samples and new fit models, which takes time but also adds up. While luxury brands like Erdem can clearly afford to make inclusive sizing a reality, it can’t happen overnight and there’s a risk that there might not be the demand for it. Perhaps this is why many offer plus sizes on request, rather than creating the garments ready-to-wear.
While there are higher production fees and some brands have struggled to shift their plus sizes ranges, designer Christian Siriano tripled the size of his business when he made his colourful couture size inclusive.
He told Elle, ‘The whole point of being a designer is to make people feel good. We’re here to make people look cute in a dress. You want to look cute in a dress and you’re a size 26? Why not?’
Unfortunately fashion has a long history of fatphobia. Chanel’s former Creative Director Karl Lagerfeld’s often made disparaging comments about plus-size women. In 2009, he told German magazine Focus, ‘No one wants to see curvy women’ and branded Adele ‘a little too fat’ in 2012.
This attitude really hit home last year when writer Rayne Fisher Quann retweeted a photo of two women in casual tees, knee-length shorts and sneakers.
Alongside the image, she wrote, ‘A tweet making fun of these women has 100K likes. But I swear to god if Bella Hadid wore this exact outfit it would be on a million ‘‘80s casual inspo’ Pinterest boards because, as always, fashion is judged exclusively by the bodies that wear it.’
It was subsequently retweeted half a million times and liked by over 90,000 users on Twitter, proving she’d hit the nail on the head.
While influencer culture highlighting body positivity and marginalised bodies is starting to change the way fashion treats the plus size community, there’s still a long way to go to shift attitudes and it’s down to the people at the top to change them.
In 2019, Influencer and creator of #FatAtFashionWeek Kellie Brown expressed her disdain for those that don’t bother, telling Glamour, ‘Brands are crazy for not expanding sizes. I want it to be just as appalling as a beauty brand not making inclusive shades – that if you come off the line selling only to one small demographic of people, that everyone in a united way would be outraged.
‘Do better. I know from the business perspective that it costs way more; every size you add is another expense. But for the brands that can, they should. You hate fat people that much? Your disdain for my body type is so great that you would deny it? In a business where your entire purpose is to make money? That’s wild.’
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