Nearly every week, my favorite podcast plays an ad for upstart lingerie brand Third Love, emphasizing the company’s accumulation of millions of data points to create the “perfect fit” in an “updated range of sizes”. When you visit the website, the header claims the brand offers “Bras for Every Body” and “more options in more sizes”. While Third Love is the most visible example of a new trend among brands loudly – and inaccurately – proclaiming to make products for “
As someone who previously held a Dove spokesperson contract and has an established career in fashion marketing, I’m not naive to the role I played in the capitalist co-opting of the body positive movement. Although the fashion industry cannot exist without capitalism, the budding plus size niche of the industry owes a debt of gratitude to the fat activists whose decades of work are only now beginning to pay off. Plus size fashion is a category that arguably encompasses anyone over a size 12, but as you move through the options beyond a size 22, the assortment narrows to a point so fine it is almost entirely nonexistent.
When I take Third Love’s Fit Finder quiz, instead of being shown a product grid of bras that are available in my size, I’m taken to a landing page with cheerfully apologetic messaging that my size is coming….eventually. That doesn’t stop the brand from using “bras and underwear for
Khloe Kardashian’s brand Good American earned media points for inclusivity, even though the size range comes to a halt at 24. That doesn’t stop “
Straight size brands ignoring anyone over a size 12 is so common it’s practically expected, but when brands founded by plus size women blithely disregard the 24+ size range, the erasure feels especially personal. YouTuber and Makeup Geek founder Marlena Stell launched a new fashion brand, Marste. The trailblazing entrepreneur has openly shared her numerical size and feelings surrounding her relationship to her body in videos, so I eagerly anticipated Marste’s launch. Imagine my disappointment when I discovered that the only sizes offered are 0-22, especially when the brand’s Instagram bio describes it as “the NOW fashion brand for ALL women”.
It would be naive to believe that
any onebrand could offer sizes to truly fit “ every body“, but imagine having so little regard for your customer that you’re arrogant enough to claim that you do.
Every body marketing is yet another way for the fashion industry to continue to ostracize the most marginalized consumers. Not including plus sizes within your size range is a choice, but using inclusion as an empty marketing technique without truly being inclusive is dishonest, verging on offensive. Sadly, dishonesty isn’t illegal, but false advertising is. Can these broad marketing claims be considered false advertising?
According to the FTC, “federal law says that ad must be truthful, not misleading, and, when appropriate, backed by scientific evidence.” For insight into the legalities of
Julie went on to explain that average consumers would have to believe that brands are capable of offering sizes for
Sadly, it doesn’t seem as if this phase of inclusivity marketing is going anywhere. It’s also at most disingenuous, which leaves very little resolution for those of us who continue to be left behind, even by plus size fashion efforts. I hold out hope that brands like
I’d love to hear your thoughts on