Everything Wrong With Reformation’s First Plus Size Collection
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Reformation is a brand that I’m not entirely familiar with, but I know that a lot of my Fashion friends enjoy their clothing. For the unfamiliar like me, Reformation is a brand focused on sustainable fabrics and minimizing their environmental impact. Today Refinery29 exclusively announced that they’ve launched their first plus size collection, available in sizes 0-22 & xs-3xl, in collaboration with plus size model Ali Tate Cutler. Interesting choice, Reformation, as Ali Tate Cutler is the same model who once said “sorry I don’t care about people’s health who are fat” on the fan page of a plus size designer and activist, but more on that later.
Although 17 items are shown on the collection page, Fashionista noted that “only pieces from the collab with Tate Cutler in select colors are available in extended sizes“. This isn’t the first time we’ve been given table scraps and expected to fall at the feet of our capitalist overlords, but I digress. The real question is, are these “plus sizes” actually plus? Let’s compare the Reformation size chart to those of Lane Bryant & ELOQUII, brands that I consider to be the plus size standards.
Impressively, Reformation’s size chart seems to be more generously sized than I initially anticipated. A 1x at Reformation falls between a 14 & 16 at ELOQUII and a 16 at Lane Bryant, while a 16 at Reformation falls between a 16 & 18 at ELOQUII and an 18 at Lane Bryant. If you regularly shop at plus size retailers and are shopping these pieces, pay close attention to the fabric content of the item you’re interested in, as plus size brands tend to use stretchier fabrics & that may impact the size you should order.
It’s clear that Reformation researched other plus size brands and used the findings to inform their size chart. While I will never be happy when a brand extends their plus sizes to only a 22 as Reformation did (or 24, or 26, or 28), I am pleased to see that for the most part, it’s possible to order your usual size (or close to it) from this launch. I am not thrilled that the items available in 3xl or size 22 are limited to certain colors in certain styles, but if you’ve been loving Reformation’s designs & ethos, I’m happy for you & your closet. Shopping this collection will cost you anywhere from $78 – $218 and although they do have a handful of stores, it’s not clear whether the extended size items will be available IRL.
I’ve given Reformation a lot of credit for their sizing research, however, I am not entirely sure that they researched their launch partner, infamous plus-size model Ali Tate Cutler. I’ve covered many of the ways that plus-size models betray the women they are paid to represent, and Tate Cutler is no exception. Just over two years ago, designer and activist Alysse Dalessandro posted a link to an article about concern trolling on her public Facebook fan page. It was within these public comments that Ali responded with one of the most tone-deaf public statements I’ve ever seen by a plus-size model – and that’s really saying something. Dances With Fat chronicled the full timeline with insightful commentary if you’d like to relive the drama for yourself. Her comments were wildly offensive for anyone to make, but for a woman who makes her money selling clothes to “fat” and “obese” women, they were utterly outrageous.
Her missteps weren’t buried in the Wayback Machine. A search for her full name returned results for this incident on the second page, even with the Reformation launch today. I’m disappointed that any brand hoping to appeal to plus size customers would continue to book her, much less “collaborate” with her. I believe in second chances and personal growth, however, personal experience has led me to believe that although Ali & I worked together on a regular basis at one time, she is not interested in advocating for me in her activism, and for that reason, I cannot support her or this collaboration.