Christian Siriano Tells The Truth About Size Inclusivity in Fashion

We make clothing, but we've chosen not to clothe you_ is a statement of dehumanizationChristian Siriano is a designer who has made a name for himself designing for, among others, plus-size clients. You may remember that him for his work with Lizzo, and as the only person who was willing to dress Leslie Jones for her Ghostbuster Premiere. When people congratulated him, he wisely said

“It shouldn’t be exceptional to work with brilliant people just because they’re not sample size. Congrats aren’t in order, a change is.”

Recently he was interviewed for Ashley Graham’s podcast (Graham is a plus size model who has said some very questionable things about being fat) and she asked him about size inclusivity in fashion. Siriano said:

“It’s definitely harder, it’s not the easiest job,” Siriano answered. “And that’s really because the process is longer. It’s like, you have to fit your clothes on multiple sizes before you actually produce them, which a lot of brands just don’t want to do it because they don’t want to take the time or the money and the resources. So, yeah, that’s it! But it’s doable. We do it. And I have a small team. So, it’s not that hard.”

It’s not actually about what’s possible – Mallorie Dunn’s Smart Glamour produces clothes in literally every size. It’s about companies choosing not to clothe certain sizes of people because they can make more money if they don’t bother, or because they want to leverage fatphobia as a way to seem “cooler” (*cough* Abercrombie *cough*) To add insult to injury, many companies do this while claiming that they make clothes for “all shapes and sizes.”

Anyone who knows me is aware that I’m not much of a fatshionista, and I have a lot of issues with the way that capital F Fashion is used as a way to perpetuate existing marginalizations including racism, sizeism, ableism, ageism, and classism. But in our culture the truth is that clothing is important, and everyone should be able to participate. It’s not just about personal style, it affects every area of our lives including our ability to present ourselves as we want to, to get jobs and promotions etc.

I’m tired of stores like Old Navy that sell plus clothing online but not in the stores (this even happens at specifically plus-size stores where so-called “extended sizes” are not carried in the store.) I’m tired of paying a fat tax.  I am really tired of clothing lines – especially those that are backed by tons of money – that don’t bother to go above an XL, or above a size 24.

It’s not a “fashion statement.” It’s an act of dehumanization to say “We make clothing, but we’ve chosen not to clothe you.”

Fat people deserve far better than this. This is an excellent opportunity for thin allies to step in, choosing to shop at stores that sell plus sizes and to speak up to brands they love that don’t bother to clothe the people they love.

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4 thoughts on “Christian Siriano Tells The Truth About Size Inclusivity in Fashion

  1. “Christian Siriano is a designer who has made a name for himself designing for, among others, plus-size clients. You may remember that him for his work with Lizzo, and as the only person who was willing to dress Leslie Jones for her Ghostbuster Premiere. When people congratulated him, he wisely said

    “It shouldn’t be exceptional to work with brilliant people just because they’re not sample size. Congrats aren’t in order, a change is.”’

    Even though I know it should be the rule and not the exception, everything about this still totally warms my heart.

  2. Hi Regan,

    This was a wonderful post. I went to the NEDIC conference last spring and Dr. Ben Barry from Ryerson University spoke on this topic, its history, how it’s being perpetuated, and what can be done to change it. I’m not sure if you know him, but I’m sure the two of you could have an incredible conversation on the topic.



  3. Well, yes, but that is the whole point of making something valuable is its exclusivity or rarity. Note it does not always align with real value, but we have decided the les of something there is (short of air and coffee) the more value it has. If Everybody could wear it, it loses its “cool” status. If Everyone could get into the club, why go? If Everyone could afford a yacht, who’d want one. If Everyone could be a rock star, super model, uber rich, movie star…
    Yeah like that, and they can have ‘like that’. The scary sad piss off bit is when they want to USE inclusivity to SELL exclusivity. Now they want to have their cake and eat it too. Oh and they have decided since we think so much of our cake (freedom, non-judgmental-everyone is worthy) they want some too.
    Crazy. like the critique of “lineless, hipless, beauties using lineless hipless, beauties.”. They know what they’re doing and they figure we don’t know, or bamboozled or too busy to care. And by the time we get around to being really upset and making any sort of demands they stop these insidious practices, they can flux into the next thing, telling us they have changed, while finding anew way to flog the old thing.
    Victoria’s Secret is broke now, but the creepy old men who ran it got what they wanted out of it, for decades. They won’t all be found dead in a jail cell. Most will end up on their private islands married to women 1/4 of their age getting the best of everything till they pop their clogs. Did they ever really care what we think? I doubt it.

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