Fashion & The Problem With Sizing
It’s no secret that the fast fashion industry is a massive contributor to waste. It’s estimated to be responsible for 10% of all global greenhouse gas emissions, the fast fashion industry has a huge effect on the environment. Because of market trends and aggressive sales initiatives, fast fashion consumers are literally buying into an industry that is filling up landfills around the world. Recently, Australia’s textile crisis has made the country the second-largest textile consumer. This means that annually about 23kg of clothing gets dumped per Australian.
In response to these troubling reports, sustainable fashion has become a buzzword for eco-conscious manufacturers and consumers alike. Surveys in 2021 reveal that 69% of fashion consumers now factor in sustainability when making a purchase. However, while this new interest in sustainable fashion is good for the environment, it brings to light another problem: the lack of inclusive sizing.
Size-inclusivity is still relative
So why are some fashion brands falling short on diverse sizing? Well, according to reports, it’s because inclusive sizing is relative. Much like the term sustainability, there is no formal standard with which to gauge compliance with sizing. As such, while most brands are well-intentioned, they are likely to miss the mark. For instance, the label “one-size-fits-all” is meant to imply a universal fit that highlights inclusivity. However, this is not the case, especially in garments like underwear or lingerie. Instead, as it’s pointed out in a recent UK guide to properly fitting undergarments, it’s better to actually acknowledge sizes. This includes not just knowing how to properly measure body types but also understanding that different sizes have different needs. To illustrate, while somebody with a fuller build may need a full-coverage bra, somebody more petite may feel more comfortable in a light balconette. By doing so, oversimplifications of consumer needs are avoided. Unfortunately, although manufacturers themselves know the importance of these details, many lack the initiative to act on them. Case in point, in the U.S., evidence collected in 2020 shows that sustainable fashion lines only cover sizes 0 to 8. However, the average size of American women is between 16 to 18. This leaves many plus-size women to either make do or shop with fast fashion brands.
What does this mean for sustainable fashion?
For labels, this means actively researching and involving fuller-figured women in the decision-making process. At Luna and Sun, this is something we strive to do every day. Aside from working to do our part to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals, we also put a paramount on having ethics, diversity, and inclusivity at our core. This is why we’re also able to put out size inclusive clothing that is sustainable and fashionable. For consumers, we need to look at how we speak with our money. The more we back brands and initiatives that benefit everyone, the sooner we can see widespread solutions.
For fashion to become truly kind to the environment, to workers, and to ourselves, we need to keep talking about tough topics and pushing for more change.
Written by Analisa Monique Clarke
Exclusive for lunaandsun.com