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Diversity Isn’t A Dirty Word, (Unlimited) Delivery Is @JoyceVeheary

February 24, 2017


Joyce Veheary

E-tailers could have more in the coffers if less clothing was returned. We’re coughing and we’re coughing up for clothes that don’t fit.

How could greater diversity in fashion tackle the problem of London’s air pollution?

Love clothes, but hate going shopping? A lack of time is no excuse as the enormously easy way we can buy clothes from e-tailers means that in just a few clicks, fast fashion can arrive on the same day sometimes. It seems like a no-brainer, especially when most online retailers offer free returns if items don’t fit, but that’s just it; buying clothes online proves, it’s difficult to tell.

Frustratingly, we’re still confronted with images of size 6–8 models when shopping online. Women of willowy proportions are still the industry norm. If you’re a shorty, you’re in luck as most online stores have petite ranges which are improving, but in most cases, petite clothes are shown on a size 6 model.

All of this makes it a minefield to maintain your self-esteem.

Online stores show catwalk videos and galleries of images, but who knows if a suit’ll suit until you’ve tried it on, especially when it’s only possible to see clothes on a body shape, potentially so different to your own.

So what do we do? Order more sizes, order more things anyway, why not; we can always send them back, and send back we do. One friend said:

“It’s much less depressing crying at home about how shit something looks on, than alone in a badly lit, stinky dressing room”.

At least we can drink wine at home. Still, it seems, we’re suckers for punishment and the small amount of serotonin that shopping induces, means it’s all too tempting to treat ourselves. Ads are everywhere, everyone worth following on Instagram has a buying link in their bio and with a few taps, a delivery driver is slapping a bag in your hand.

So you go online for a look that’ll stop traffic. Well with that new outfit you’ve ordered you might: air traffic that is.

Our insatiable appetite for fashion arriving at work or at home is fostered by irresponsible attitudes from online clothes retailers at a time when there are more delivery vehicles on the road now than ever.

Just over three years ago CEO and founder of ASOS, Nick Robertson hinted that sizing software was on the way due to the rate of returns at 30% returns substantially hurting company profits. If returns reduced by 1%, he estimated, profits would increase by a staggering £10,000,000!

It seems that the no-quibble-returns option that most online shops like ASOS offer are open to abuse and needs a rethink. How many people out there are potentially posing and posting back? Even if you honestly just need a frock and find yourself making the most of that unlimited {sometimes} free delivery, why should you have any qualms about sending ensembles back.

When clothes online don’t fit. Unless *sigh* you’re an able bodied up and down industry size [8 preferably] and everything just looks great on you, *Longer Sigh* for most people it’s a case of spending and sending back. Still, send it back we can. We’re well within our rights to, however, this kind of shopping is what’s contributing to climate change.

London is experiencing an all time critical high level of air pollution, all whilst online stores satiate our pleasures for parcels, they’re adding to this problem.

Sadiq Khan says he wants to sack off the sight of diesel vans in London like the ones that most stores use, as toxic diesel particulate matter levels in the capital are at an illegal all time high.

However, this problem of parcels going back and forth only forms part of a two-part problem.

If browsing out of boredom; you’ll see that some online shops have improved the ranges of sizes on offer with Petites and plus sizes but we’re still faced with unattainable body shapes modelling the clothes we want.

Where are the models of ‘normal’ proportions?

If we’re a long way from that being the norm, what about visibility for disabled models, amputees?

The ubiquitous 90’s heroin chic physique still dominates fashion pages. Sometimes it’s lovely to look at clothing on this body shape, on the kind of body that designers have in mind, but it’s alienating. It means that for the likes of the average woman, clothes become an abstract concept; art and unwearable art at that. What if you’re anywhere like the average size 12, which could mean a 10 bust, a 12 waist and size 14 hips in one store, what’ll you be if you’re just as common, a 14 bust and an 18 around the hips? Even if you’re the U.K.’s ideal 12; that dress sashaying down the runway in an 8, just ain’t going to look like it does on the model, on us. Hence we return.

However, catwalks could join the solution to fighting pollution.

We need to see companies like ASOS implementing greener practices, taking the issue of our environment seriously, encouraging shoppers to do the same, whilst at the same time support our self-esteem.

We need to see diversity and different sizes normalised.

As women we cannot help but cruelly compare ourselves to others, however, in this instance, it might actually help our self-esteem seeing someone of a similar size model clothes; it would certainly give me buying confidence and less likely to return.

So, I ask of you, online fashion retailers; the likes of ASOS, show off all sizes on catwalks.

Seeing what size 12 thighs are going to look like in those jeans will help us buy.

Seeing what our size 16 armpits will look like (those bits that look like a bum) in that dress may encourage me to hit ‘check out’ and less likely to order 6 sizes and send 5 back.

Trailblazing the normalisation of body diversity might just stop someone like me or one of my precious friends feeling shit about themselves and crying into changing room curtains again.

It’d reduce wasted deliveries, tackling climate change and help fashion retailers make money.

E-tailers: Start by showing videos of models of diverse sizes, in fact, show models in all sizes available on the catwalk.

Fashion doesn’t need to be made out of hemp to help, but being eco-conscious could help us all.

Founder of Lend and Tend | Recycling Advocate | Actor | Activist.

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