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The Editor’s Market’s lack of size-inclusivity: Why plus size representation is still a problem in SG

The Editor’s Market’s lack of size-inclusivity: Why plus size representation is still a problem in SG

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Fashion label The Editor’s Market is making headlines after a shopper took to TikTok to call out the brand on not being size-inclusive. This is despite many years of pushback from consumers asking brands to cater to women of all sizes rather than sticking to slim cutting even for bigger sizes.

The TikTok user, Gladys Lim, took to the platform this week to say that she had bought a  dress from the brand for Chinese New Year in an XL size, only to find that it did not fit her well despite having patronised the fashion brand a number of times before. She shared the experience of the dress not fitting her chest and being so tight that the zipper broke when she tried to sit down. She then called the brand out for not being size- inclusive and said that at the bare minimum, brands should get their average measurements for sizes correct.

She added in her caption that brands should be more aware of how buyers will look in its designs, and not just add an XL to its range of sizes without doing their homework.

The news is certainly disappointing considering how much conversation there has been over the last few years about brands being more size-inclusive and not catering to only a single body type and size group.

In a conversation with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, content creator and advocate for diversity and representation in media, Preeti Nair, popularly known as Preetipls shared that in markets like Singapore plus size is still an afterthought for many brands.

“Personally, for me, it’s always been hard to shop at a store which isn’t a plus size store because most of the time I’d leave hating myself, and this has been a constant disappointment growing up in Singapore most of my life. I think in this instance the Editor’s Market needs to edit their sizing,” she shared. However, on the positive side, Nair shared that currently there is a rising conversation on social platforms that consumers shouldn’t have to fit the clothes but rather “the clothes should fit you”.

On the advertising front, while globally there has been a shift in representation of women, Nair agreed that there is still work needed to be done in Singapore given there is still a lack of allyship.

“Many brand owners or managers don’t fall into the bracket of plus size or minority and as such, there is still a lack of allyship in areas such as plus size fashion,” she said. As such, more education and allyship is needed to invoke real change.

From a content creator perspective, Nair also shared that her general stance over the years has been to steer clear of fashion but today with the rising conversations around body positivity, she has started speaking more on the topic and sharing more about brands in this space. “At the end of the day, it’s about balance. As a content creator, while you want to create content for these brands who might cater to plus size women, it is also important to consider elements such as sustainability and ethical manufacturing that the brand values,” she added.

Don't miss: Italian fashion brand Benetton next under fire for sexualising children in new ad

Former editor-in-chief at Hearst Magazine Media, Rahat Kapur, agreed with Nair by saying that despite having a diverse consumer market base, it is not always reflected in the availability of garments for those who don’t fit traditional sizing charts. She then quoted a 2020 YouGov research study that found that one in five Singaporeans wear a size XL or larger, which clearly indicates that there is an actual, tangible demand for variation when it comes to what should be on offer. Which is why it can be incredibly frustrating when there’s no access or representation for such sizes within the mainstream shopping experience catered to by brands or even representation in the media, she lamented.

“The fashion industry has evolved slowly over the years in Singapore, but we still have a long journey ahead to normalise the reflection of the changing consumer and embrace body diversity - not just when it comes to size, but also aspects such as disability and gender,” Kapur continued.

Saying that, inclusivity is not an impossible goal to achieve for brands hoping to cater to more shoppers. In fact, many other global brands have been able to welcome people of all sizes.

“Major global sports brands such as Adidas and Nike are great examples of brands trying to break this mold and you’ll see a mix of body types across the stores in Singapore. However, the plus-size models are not often local models, it’s usually creative taken from global campaign imagery. Some Asian brands such as Pomelo are also starting to use a mix of body sizes in their photography, but we need to see more of it,” shared Charlotte Mceleny, a PR director of SEA, India and ANZ at Media.Monks.

Truly, we do need to see more representation especially because this sort of imagery is critical for the mental and physical health of consumers. “It’s important because we spend so much time consuming digital and social content. Thankfully, where brands are slow to keep up, social media influencers lead. The fact that this TikTok video has reached the mainstream should help wake brands up to this fact. We owe a lot to influencers like Preetipls for leading the way and it’s great to see major brands work with plus-sized influencers, it’s a start,” continued Mceleny.

Ultimately, money talks and that will drive real change. Brands are missing out by not catering to a more diverse customer group. Cater to bottoms, for the good of your bottom line.

Thankfully, The Editor's Market is a company that listens to its customer's feedback. When MARKETING-INTERACTIVE reached out for a comment, Vivian Low, the co-founder of the brand said that not only have they reached out to Lim but that they are working on improving their sizing using feedback gathered from customers. 

"However, it is evident that more in-depth research needs to be done on our part to resolve where we have fallen short, such as with XL cuts that are not up to snuff," said Low. She continued by saying that the brand aims at conducting their own focus groups and fitting sessions to gain a deeper and better understanding of the plus-sized community as they "return to the drawing board to further develop [their] sizing."

"Our goals in 2023 would be to first, improve the fit of our larger sizes like L and XL, and secondly, to look into introducing larger sizes above XL," she concluded. 

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