“What’s your size?”
This is a question that may seem harmless at first, but in reality, these words can be triggering to many—especially those who are suffering from an eating disorder or have negative feelings about their body. While the fashion industry has been trying to be more inclusive in recent years by hiring models of color to walk in their runway shows, the industry as a whole still tends to market its clothing to a generally slim consumer.
This is especially apparent when looking at high-end brands such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, or Yves Saint Laurent, as couture and ready-to-wear collections tend to adhere to a “universal sample size.” From these brands’ perspectives, these design choices make it easier for them to have a quicker turnaround time for all of the pieces in their collections during times of high stress, such as Fashion Week.
However, what these brands fail to consider are the ramifications of this “universal sample size” that generally falls on the smaller or slimmer side of the sizing spectrum. When brands promote smaller sizes, whether intentionally or unintentionally, they are encouraging society as a whole to accept it as the standard of beauty. This can have lasting negative effects since a generation of consumers will constantly and tirelessly strive to fit into an almost impossible standard of beauty.
Much like how fashion brands have started to diversify and include models of all races and ethnicities, it’s also crucial for the industry to start including models of all sizes. By promoting various sizes in important shows during Fashion Week, brands can start changing the way consumers perceive beauty and the standards of beauty. Though the change will be slow and can increase costs in the short run, in the long run, this change can positively impact our society as a whole and help a whole generation be more accepting of a universal truth—that all bodies and shapes are beautiful.