Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Plus Sized Wars: etailPR Blogger Network Analyses the Debate

In case you missed it, last week Channel 4 showed a documentary on Tuesday night called Plus Sized Wars. The purpose of the documentary was to explore the progressing market for plus sized fashion in the UK. Since the programme was aired, the internet has been buzzing with debate and here at the etailPR Blogger Network we have also been discussing the plus size debate.

Channel 4

The programme, which is still available to watch on 4od if you did miss it, explored three sides of fashion: fashion brands, bloggers and modelling agencies. It showed the ways in which the industry is adapting to the demand for larger and more fashionable clothing on the high-street.

Part of this debate discussed the prevalence of bloggers in the retail industry - something that we know a lot here at etailPR! It presented the facts of bloggers huge influence by introducing three of the UK's top plus size bloggers:

Georgina Horne 
54.5k on Instagram

@fullerfigurefullerbust / Instagram
Callie Thorpe 
52k on Instagram

@calliethorpe / Instagram
Danielle Vanier 
27.4k on Instagram

@daniellevanier / Instagram

All of these girls are just like our bloggers on the etailPR Blogger Network - they work hard to talk about their passion for clothes and to promote brands whilst remaining fashionable and on trend. The documentary revealed though, that it was becoming increasingly difficult for them to find on-trend clothing in the sizes that they need.

This is where the brands step in!! The documentary featured three brands: Evans, Yours, and Austrailian based brand Taking Shape. Each brand was taking a different approach to marketing their products, aiming them at the younger generations in light of 60% of UK teenagers being overweight.

Evans (part of the supergroup, Arcadia) was in the process of changing radically. Known as a brand that cater for plus sizes, the company had a dowdy, old-fashioned reputation that they are shaking off in replacement of a younger, fresher vibe. Their SS15 collection has been hailed for being fashion forward and reflecting a similar brand image to other brands in the Arcadia family like Topshop and Dorothy Perkins. 

Yours Clothing, owned by Andrew Killingsworth, admitted he was making decisions that would be beneficial to his business and that would make money, thus responding to the demand for larger sizes. Yours recently increased the sizes that they stock up to a 24. 

We asked some of you for your opinions on the issues raised in the documentary itself and here are some of your responses:

@FossyMeade said that it was 'about time' that something sparked the plus size debate. He followed with 'Stop body shaming girls and love yourself for what you are.' 
We loved this response as it tells all women (and men!) of all shapes and sizes to love what they are.

@ldweedon from LDWBLONDEATHEART tweeted us to say that he 'really enjoyed it' and that he thought @TomTomSkid (Tom Doran, Fashion PR for Evans) spoke very well on the subject.

@LauraHadleyx spoke our minds when she states that 'beauty comes in all shapes and sizes'. She said that she doesn't expect to be told how to live her life so she doesn't tell others how to live theirs - what a great motto!

The provocative programme has sparked a debate that has also crossed the channels and ended up on ITV's daytime women's chat show, Loose Women, where pop-star Jamelia has found herself the centre of heated criticism and inspired the hashtag #WeAreTheThey.

On the late morning show, all four women discussed the question : Is the developing plus size market for teenagers and young women 'responding to a demand? or is it normalising being fat and encouraging young girls to stay that way?' After Ruth had proposed the question to all of the ladies a discussion ensued.

Now, what you may have read on Twitter and on the gossip websites is that Jamelia said that clothes should not be made for plus-sizes or fat people and that fat people should be uncomfortable. We took a look at the episode of Loose Women in question to find out the truth. This is what was said:

JAMELIA 'Huge proportions of teenagers are well over the weight they should be. I am all for celebrating people as they are. I think everyone has the right to be comfortable in their own skin. I think everyone should have access to lovely clothes. But, I do not think it's right to facilitate people living an unhealthy lifestyle - I really don't'

RUTH 'Then what do you do? Do you have a cut off and say "Right Size 18 and after that we're not going to make any nice clothes for you?'

JAMELIA 'In the same way that I don't believe that a Size 0 should be available. It's not an healthy size for an average woman to be. In high street stores you are catering for the average woman. There should be a healthy range and I don't believe they should be providing clothes for below that range or above that range. I'm not saying that NO WHERE should, I believe that yes, have specialist shops, but I do think that you should feel uncomfortable if you are unhealthy.'

It is the final sentence that may have got Jamelia into a spot of trouble! Her comments have led to the trending hashtag #WeAreTheThey.

The debate on Loose Women is certainly worth a watch as it introduces the idea of health. What sizes can be defined as healthy or unhealthy?

In the wake of this, Protein World have also been caught up in a scandal where their Underground campaign in London came under fire with some severe criticism with its influence on body perceptions. The ad asks 'Are you beach body ready?' with an image of a woman.

Critics have responded saying things like 'Yes because I have a body that can go to beaches'. A spoof reply by Dove on Twitter reflects their recent ad campaign for beauty.

It seems at this point that this is THE debate of the moment. Brands are all weighing in on the matter and the debates main playground is Twitter.

So, when we asked for your opinions on Twitter, we loved that your responses were so positive and spoke about celebrating all women and all bodies.

Here at etailPR we believe that all women and men should support one another to believe that all shapes and sizes are beautiful. What better way to show you this through one of our great brands who clearly believes this too. We have Chi Chi London on the blogger network who have some of the most amazing dress available in sizes 4-24. They have a special Petite range perfect for the short but sweet girls out there AND Their Chi Chi Curve range makes sure all you luscious curvy ladies have the chance to look fabulous too!

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