We Need to Talk About Fashion’s Size Problem

Katie Sturino

Katie Sturino wants designers to #MakeMySize

This is Wake-Up Call’s Hot Mic op-ed column. Today, Katie Sturino is calling out fashion’s size problem — and urging designers to #MakeMySize. Read on.

We’re in the middle of Fashion Month. We’ve already had New York and London Fashion Weeks; we’re currently in the throes of Milan, and Paris starts February 24. But whenever this time of year rolls around, my first thought is: Boring.

Don’t get me wrong: I want to see what people are wearing. But I’m more interested in what they’re wearing to the shows, rather than on the runway. My social media feed turns into everyone I follow just sharing runway photos, but that’s not what I’m interested in. Most of the fashion houses — even the ones whose shows I get invited to — don’t include any size inclusivity on their runways, let alone make my size. Why would I want to see those pictures?

About a year and a half ago, I began my #MakeMySize campaign. It started pretty informally — I saw a piece by Diane von Furstenberg that I wanted but didn’t fit me, so I took to Instagram to say, “Hey, DVF, I love you but… make my size!” And you know what? I had a real tangible success with that post: This fall, DVF did a capsule collection with 11 Honore. It was so great to see.

The goal with #MakeMySize has never been to shame brands; I don’t like outrage culture. But so many brands are missing the mark — and missing out on potential customers — because they don’t make clothes that can fit the average person. I’m not talking about high, high, high fashion… those brands aren’t catering to people like me — they’re trying to dress the extremely thin, double-zero Hollywood-types. But mass market brands who don’t have clothes that actually fit the mass market? That is messed up.

Look at it this way: Brands will contact me all the time and be like, “We’d love to send you stuff.” Then I got to their website and I see that they stop at size 14. They must look at me and think, “Well, she’s just a normal curvy girl. We could dress her!” But they just don’t realize how small their clothes are.

Beyond DVF, I’ve seen a lot of change since I started #MakeMySize. I’ve had brands contact me behind the scenes to tell me that they’re working on it. Then there are brands like Club Monaco and Alice + Olivia, who don’t comment or reply to my posts, but who are actively looking to expand sizes.

The campaign has inspired other women to speak out, as well. It’s so empowering to go into, for instance, Zara. Rather than finding that you can’t get anything up your leg and just leaving — instead you take a photo from the fitting room and say, “Hey Zara, #MakeMySize.”

It’s about giving people a break so they feel less shame about not being able to shop somewhere — and putting more blame on the industry for not dressing the average-sized woman.

All of this is not to say that every single brand that shows at one of the various Fashion Weeks this month isn’t size inclusive. I love Veronica Beard — they’re really bringing in inclusivity. And Tanya Taylor is great. I do think we’ll see a lot of brands evolve in the coming months and years. That will help those brands thrive and stay relevant. Their brand won’t die just because they stop at size eight!

But so many other brands are just never going to be size inclusive. They live in the old state of fashion, existing in snobbery and the whole Devil Wears Prada mentality. So unless your brand is even considering inclusivity — or at the very minimum, you’re warm and welcoming — I’m going to sit certain fashion shows out.

This originally appeared on Medium.com