Fashion For Everyone, Where “Everyone” Means “Thin People”

Michael Preysma of Everlane speaks at TechCrunch Disrupt NY in 2013 . (Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

At Racked, Amanda Mull writes about “disruptive” fashion startups like Everlane and True & Co, who are creating stylish clothing that’s manufactured responsibly and priced (relatively) affordably. Except for fat women — despite being a massively underserved community from an apparel standpoint, few of these companies offer plus-size clothing, so it’s back to Lane Bryant for us. Why? Despite some impressive marketing-speak about research and scaling, it seems to come back to the standard stereotype: fat people are bad for branding.

Everlane did not make anyone available for an interview, but the company did send us the following statement: “The Everlane story is one that has been built slowly and carefully. Our customer understands that Everlane is a democratic and honest brand and we want to be inclusive of all people. Given that, it is on our roadmap to do plus-size, but we need to take the time to do it right. To do plus, it requires more than extended sizing. We need to launch plus as a separate brand with new fits, new models and new fabrics to ensure that the styles fit and look great. As we gain scale and get new customers, we will be able to focus our energy on launching this line.” The statement echoes a sentiment that I heard from every straight-size CEO I spoke with, even those who have begun to make their brands more inclusive: that plus-size people need to be patient while others solve the egregious problems of their bodies. Women over a certain size are always a burden, never a priority. They’re expected to wait while others are served first…

If you read the “about” pages on apparel startups’ websites, it’s clear most of them take care to envision their ideal consumers and what they value. The end result often paints a picture of a curious, engaged shopper who cares about manufacturing practices, material sourcing, and the social or political statement made by spending money with a particular company. A shopper who thinks about fit and is interested in how technology might solve the problems in their closet. None of the brands say it so bluntly, but the shopper they want is intelligent. In that context, it’s all the more jarring that so few entrepreneurs could conceive of a fat person who is also smart.

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