A sizeable post on Australian fashion

The Body Shop's former mascot "Ruby"

As a postscript to my previous post on having to endure the apologies of sales assistants that my bum requires a size 14/16, can I just suggest to the general Australian public that it’s clothes, not women, that come in “size 16”.

Have just been reading a post on Jezebel in which an Australian designer mouths off about sizes over 14 not being healthy; I find it a little hard to believe that someone could actually be that stupid, and think that maybe she was just inventing a reason not to do something she didn’t really want to do. But then why wouldn’t she want to make more of her clothes, if there’s a market? Is there an idea in the fashion world that you are less hip (they say hip right?) or less the highest example of fashion art if you make clothes for, you know, everyone? Actually someone mentions this in one of the comments on the Jezebel post. But that’s what pissed me off, if you want to make money by being exclusive then just admit to that, don’t try to give some made-up and very insulting reason because you’re drunk on the power of being a designer at a fashion show interviewed by a newspaper!

The original article from the SMH in which the designer’s comments were made is here. The article mentions that the designer in question‘s clothes are stocked by Myer; I think I am offended enough to write to Myer and ask that they no longer stock her clothes. (*NB I did and SMH weren’t quite right; Myer had already “de-ranged” nevenka some time ago).

Something in this article in the SMH that made me grind my teeth is this sentence:

“Professor Joseph Proietto, a professor of medicine at Melbourne University and head of the weight control clinic at Austin Health, adds that a woman can be a size 16 or 18 and still be healthy.”

It annoys me more than a little that this news article is taking such pains to point this out – as if it must come as a surprise to all the paper’s readers? And furthermore, thanks, ta, for finding a male professor of medicine assuring me that the size clothing I & many of my friends wear (conflated into our body’s “size” without hesitation) doesn’t mean that our bodies are deviant or unhealthy. Thanks SMH.

Mind you, this article did make me pause and think – they have a list of Australian labels & the clothes sizes they go up to, and while I’ve never been able to afford most of those labels, I did spend all my teenage and undergrad years in and out of Sportsgirl and Portmans. I had no idea that those shops didn’t go up past size 16. And why would I? It never occurred to me, I never needed to look further along the rack, so I never realised that the numbers to the right wouldn’t have continued going up. I can’t imagine having been a teenager and not actually being able to spend all my Christmas/Birthday/sulking money at Sportsgirl on the clothes you could be sure were in fashion.

I love Alannah Hill, I think her clothes are poetry hanging on racks and I ghost through the Claremont store from time to time, wearing the kind of defiant but hunched look I wear walking into an art gallery to look at art I could never afford, which is what I’m doing. I have often noticed that the top I occasionally dare to shift a bit along the rack to look at it better doesn’t come in my size, but for some reason I always thought it was a coincidence. It did contribute, though, to me retreating out of the shop in some confusion, when I might otherwise have tried on one of her gorgeous and whimsical prints or bow-scattered cardies just for fun. I sort of don’t want to find out, now, whether she really does make size 14 stuff, because I love her stuff and kind of hope I could afford/squash down conscience enough to spend $600 on a dress one day…

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1 Response to A sizeable post on Australian fashion

  1. In the last few years a couple of the big designers do make clothes to a size 16, not sure about Alannah Hill though it seems like on her racks there are only ever 10s. Could be a coincidence.
    I have also heard and excuse that clothes over size 14/16 will require a new pattern (they will actually have to do some work)… also the concept of a “plus size model” is pretty shitty too.
    I noticed when I was in London and America there were bigger sizes available. So its not so much that they don’t design the clothes its that they manufacture less shirts in bigger sizes so they sell out at the beginning of the fashion season.

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