If you look around the media these days, you can easily come to the conclusion that the “plus size” community has come a long way. A VERY long way. Just in fashion alone, we went from mail catalogue-only stores with bland and overly-floral tent dresses, to trendy and sexy pieces available at your local mall. We have more plus women on magazine covers, more plus size women walking the runways and staring on TV shows. But, no matter how far we’ve come, there are still glaring reminders that, as with most non-normative body representation, that we have a LONG way to go.
One such moment happened today when popular e-commerce brand, Revolve Clothing, released images of the below sweatshirt:
LPA and Revolve release a craptastic sweatshirt at the expense of plus size women…not OK.
Now, let’s keep in mind, Revolve has been in hot water in the past for their completely diversity-free influencer marketing programs, which was on full display at their Revolve influencer trip back in January. Both traditional social media noticed the stunning lack of anyone who wasn’t tall, thin and white – even going as far to coin the hashtag: #RevolveSoWhite. So, you think they would be more discerning with their releases.
Nope. This top was meant to be one item out of a five-item capsule collection with LPA, a hip clothing label started by a fashion it girl named Pia Arrobio. The collection consists of tops with unflattering and insulting phrases left in the comments on the IG pages of celebrities and influencers (who all also happen to be Pia’s friends). The quote on the top above was supposedly found in the comment section of plus size model and IG influencer Paloma Elsesser.
Now, the comment itself is not an issue, even the concept of the capsule collection is not the issue. Fashionista.com Deputy Editor Tyler McCall said it best in her piece from earlier today, “This sweatshirt was a terrible idea all around, and until brands like LPA and retailers like Revolve make their offerings truly more size inclusive, they should probably avoid trying to capitalize on the body positivity movement.”
Revolve clothing only goes up to a size 10 at best, the top is modeled on a size small woman and the rest of the tops weren’t released along with this one. How much more tone deaf could Revolve and LPA get? As a plus size BLACK woman, I have got to say that I am exhausted with brands latching on to movements from an inauthentic place in a bid to make a quick buck. Or in this case, $167 quick bucks.
In an Instagram exchange with artist and social activist Florence Given, Paloma stated that she was “mortified” by the situation and has asked that the company remove her quote. Additionally, LPA responded to Florence apologizing for the slip-up and mentioning that the collection was meant to benefit charity. But, Florence said it best in her Instagram caption, “Problematic marketing = a problem with diversity in the work place.”
I couldn’t agree more. When the room is full of nothing but thin, often white bodies, they can’t possibly foresee the impact of their business decisions.
Revolve and LPA just let us know that we still have a long way to in the fashion industry – but when we confront these incidents head on, we let them know that it is NOT OK. And that’s a step in the right direction.