It was not a shock to me in the slightest that luxury fashion brand Rixo had come under fire for their supposedly ‘inclusive’ bridal collection, available in sizes 6-16. I doubt it would be a shock to any other plus size person reading this, come to that. The fashion industry has repeatedly made it clear to us that dressing a plus size body should be a chore, apparently even on your wedding day.
Beyond a size 18, many high street clothing retailers, such as Topshop, or lingerie brands such as Boux Avenue, become virtually inaccessible. Instead, plus size people are expected to resort to purchasing clothing from more specialised retailers such as Yours or Curvissa, which are largely designed for older consumers and rarely reflect current fashion trends for younger generations. I also wish the best of luck to anyone trying to shop sustainably for a plus size body; our clothes have become commodified in charity shops and on sites such as Depop, with those with slimmer bodies buying them as ‘oversized’ or to be altered to fit their needs.
Even where plus size options are available, the models used on popular online retailers, like Boohoo, are rarely reflective of so-called ‘real’ body types, often having wide hips and larger chests as opposed to a tummy or big thighs. This has a real distorting effect on what the buyer can expect the clothes to look like when they arrive and can be incredibly damaging to their self-confidence, especially when trying new things.
Presenting these as ‘inclusive’ options is equally tokenistic, as these brands rarely show what clothes will look like on a range of bodies, instead focusing on those who can ‘pass’ as having a ‘normal’ or ‘acceptable’ body type. At a time when we can’t go into stores to try on new pieces, we’re still buying in the dark as much as we would be if the ‘plus size’ section didn’t exist.
The average size for women in the UK is a 16. By presenting themselves as an ‘inclusive’ brand, Rixo are effectively dismissing anyone who happens to be above average. This does not even take into consideration that there has been a pandemic, where access to gyms and exercise opportunities have been restricted for those who do want to lose weight or improve their fitness, combined with the fact that comfort food and alcohol consumption have been emotional outlets for some through an indisputably difficult year. Ultimately, if you’re comfortable in your plus size body, you should be catered for and allowed to wear what you want on your big day. The industry needs to take a look at itself and stop treating fashion as a reward for achieving society’s beauty standards, especially within the wedding sector.