With the society shifting into a more body-positive stance, famous brands such as Fendi, Chanel and Calvin Klein are going towards a more body-positive culture in the fashion industry by producing a plus size range and working with plus size models. That begs the question; Are those brands actually care about body positivity or is it just a publicity stunt for profit-maximisation?
Plus-size modelling was not a trend up until mid 1990s where brands and department stores began to expand their ranges to plus-size. Before then, models were always associated with being size zeros, tall and lanky. Now, plus-size models have the medium and avenue to express themselves and are highly appreciated by the society.
However, if brands are actually appreciating plus-size models and supporting body positivity stance, why are they being partially inclusive by working mainly with women, and not men, plus-size models? The reality is that with 99.6% of the global plus-size apparel market being womenswear, businesses see more opportunity in investing in plus-size womenswear rather than menswear, hence, neglecting the representation of plus size men suggesting how brands are not exactly body positive.
The growth in the plus-size women’s clothing market is huge throughout the years with 4.9% growth from 2015 to 2020 in Australia alone while the industry itself is worth billions of dollars globally. With this kind of growth and prospects, it is only rational for a fashion brand to incorporate body positivity into its image in order to get more approval from the society and ultimately increase sales.
In the end, the main purpose of a business is to maximise profits and will do anything to achieve it. One of the ways to do this is to earn society’s trust and increasing the company’s goodwill to ultimately increase its intangible value. And one of the ways to earn society’s trust is by believing what the society believes in, including body positivity for the sake of profits.