Fatphobia in fashion: lack of diversity exposes prejudice | Fashion & Beauty

Influencers Letticia Munniz and Robertita, stylist Isa and stylist Salisa Barbosa talk about lipophobia in fashion — Photo: Play/Instagram/Personal File

“The grass is always greener on the neighbor’s side,” is the impression one gets of everything in life when seen from afar. Up close, the reality of the following statements will show this such diversity in fashion we still need to parade in the most impressive appearance.

According to a study by the Brazilian Association for the Study of Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome (Abeso), published in July 2022, 85% of obese people have suffered from gordophobia in Brazil.

In a way, the world of fashion plays an important role in this oppressive tool and, however many developments there are, for those who experience prejudice in their own skin, the story is different, and so is the case of the stylist Isa, by Isaac Silvathe influences Letticia Muniz is Robertite and the stylist Salisa Barbosa.

Diversity for whom?

Letticia was a stamped figure in many SPFW paradeswhich took place in November 2022. She claims that this false sense of greater diversity on the runways is created because it’s a new subject, despite the fact that “our bodies have always existed,” she explains, and therefore, “I never needed to do fashion beyond the small”.

Letticia Munniz at the Misci fashion show at SPFW — Photo: AgNews

“I’d love to come on here and say super optimistic things about how we’re fighting and getting to the venues, but I’ve been in this for 5 or 6 years and it’s like we’re kind of in the same place, although now there’s a lot of chatter.”

For Robertita, this is a topic that should leave the realm of ideas and phrases that generate online engagement. For the progress we see on the catwalks, he praises, but with reservations:

“It’s similar to a game, we go forward 5 spaces and go back 3. It’s a crescent, obviously, it’s nice to see. For those who have always missed references throughout their lives, a larger body in a parade says and represents a lot, but in a logical matter, we are still a long way from parity.”

Brazilian brand Isaac Silva, helmed by Isa, was born with as one of its pillars the inclusion of bodies outside society’s established beauty standards, so for her “The world of fashion today will only exist if it talks about diversity”, because “what people are asking is if ‘I don’t see myself, I don’t buy.’ There is a very big rebellion, mainly from the end consumer, which is seen in the campaigns [de publicidade]”.

Graduating from fashion in 2004, Salisa didn’t hear much talk about gender, race and body diversity in fashion at the time: “The references were thin bodies to dress part of society and the influence of magazines and catwalks had an impact on her is my image as a fashion professional.” After 20 years, he sees progress and “what he saw and experienced no longer fits today’s times,” he says.

Absence of fat bodies at fashion weeks

After the last international fashion weeks, Robertita and Letticia see an even worse scenario. The first asks the industry about the difficulty of seeing fat people as consumers.

“Do these brands really want to serve this audience? Why is there still market resistance to increasing these sizes? It is unfortunate that a large part of the population is not treated as a consumer.”

Robertita poses during Paris Fashion Week — Photo: Playback/Instagram

Unwittingly, the question is answered by Letticia herself, who also criticizes the rare appearance of plus size models and, rarely, with the looks of the collection.

“There is no difficulty in creating [roupas maiores], it’s not hard to do, it’s not because it doesn’t sell, it’s because the brands don’t want it. Of course I’m not generalizing. […] but the feeling I get is that they really don’t want to do it and I think they have to believe it’s a disappointment for these brands.”

fast fashion and the industry plus from the shops

It is unanimous among the respondents: when a person enters the store, he does not want to head to sector plus size which is usually a much smaller section, in the rear saloons and treated as “special”. For the team, the fair – not to say obvious – would be to be able to choose between any item from the brand: “We have to make fashion that is plural, that responds to people’s desires,” Isa argues.

Letticia also raises the question of offering clothes that, for her, always try to hide the body: “They don’t bring sensuality, they don’t bring everything that people wear, it’s always this fashion of flowers, loose, knitted and big shirt”.

For his stylist Isaac Silva, there is a lack of humanity in developing the pieces, which contrasts with Salisa’s work. As a stylist, she says her role is, “above all, to respect each person’s style, […] is to bring a new look to possibilities that until then had not been seen or accepted”.

Isa, the front of Isaac Sivla, has as one of its pillars the inclusion of real bodies in its collections — Photo: Reproduction/Instagram

The other serious flaw is in the company’s communication with the public.. In a society that sees thinness only as a model, when faced with campaigns starring fat people, it is assumed to be a plus size collection and not for any body type.

Letticia believes that this thinking, that a fat body is bad, affects how the brands themselves are positioned: “It’s like they’re saying ‘you don’t want to have this body here, right? So you should go to the back of the store and see the boring clothes we made.” It’s as if they insisted on perpetuating this exclusion so that we would continue to feel excluded.”

In the case of luxury brands, this obscurity is even more striking.. While many champion the fashion, few offer larger sizes. Turns out everyone needs clothes to wear too fast fashion it ends up being the most sustainable path for many people, contributing to the success of mass-produced clothing – made, in some cases, by slavery.

However, Salisa reflects when she talks about this excessive consumerism: “Ignoring social and racial issues and simply condemning fast fashion consumption is not the way to go. It is urgent that brands expand their networks responsibly and with diversity.”

Stylist Salisa Barbosa talks about the importance of body diversity in fashion — Photo: Personal Archive

Finally, how to solve the problem?

Hint: we’re not just talking about this online, as Letticia said before. For Isa, it is necessary to know how to see Brazil, understand its needs and stop treating it plus size as a trend: “The world needs this change, it is a human need to talk about diversity. And there’s a lack of interest in studying the country and there’s fast fashion, which ends up increasing that part of the market.”

“We need a structural change,” says Letticia, “that doesn’t put us in a place where people feel entitled to constantly judge our bodies.”. It also requires a fundamental change from the big Brazilian companies so that fashion shows like Isaac Silva and Meninos Rei, which had Thais Carla and Jojo Todynho on the catwalkthey are no longer fashionable rarities.

“Brands that have their own clothing and could produce at a better price don’t, so it’s inevitable that people will end up consuming [nas lojas online] from without, with this dubious work, of which we do not know the origin.’

Robertita says that “self-acceptance, empowerment, and self-love are consequences of respect, awareness, and self-preservation,” and these are the changes she hopes to see in the future, but here “future” is not synonymous with years. , but see you tomorrow!

At the same time, as if in an endless waiting room, he also hopes that the oppressive programs from software be informed: “Dynamics, logic and patterns are rusty. This is disproportionate, disruptive and inappropriate, so I hope to see new tones, new spaces, new possibilities, new technologies, new faces.”

Thais Carla and Jojo Todynho present collections from Meninos Rei — Photo: SPFW/Disclosure/Reproduction/Instagram


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