To eliminate fast fashion, sustainable fashion has got to ditch the exclusivity label

Close up of clothes rail with an assortment of colourful clothes on wooden and plastic hangers

Fast fashion and I broke up a couple of years ago. It was going great until I got rid of clothes that no longer served my body and suddenly had very limited options for what to wear. I decided to purchase staple wardrobe garments that are made to last and will serve the natural changes to my body. Except nothing I have ordered has fit. I’ve had to return every garment and when I look to reorder in a size up, I find out that the size I originally ordered was the largest that brand make.

Before you say anything, I know that the best way to stop the detrimental effects of fast fashion is to avoid buying new; to cherish the clothes you already have and buy second-hand clothes to stop them ending up in landfill, but it’s still nice to save up and treat yourself to a new garment every once in a while.

I’m happy to pay more if a brand proves that they are paying their staff at least a living wage, fabrics are ethically sourced and they are doing as much as possible to reduce their carbon footprint. The issue I have with sustainable fashion is that almost every brand only caters to one body type (thin and predominately white).

For fast fashion to really be disrupted, sustainable fashion brands have got to get rid of the exclusivity and open their doors for every single body. When you go into a store that only caters for sizes XS to M it is beyond demoralising. Trawling through sites online that only show one type of body is even more demoralising. The excuses that these brands use stink of fat phobia and are deeply rooted in a society that shames bigger bodies; sending a damaging message that, in order to be accepted into the club you must shrink yourself.

If sustainable fashion brands are going to shake up the industry they must celebrate diversity. I want to see brands celebrating every body – thin or fat, tall or short, and everything in between. I want to see every single wobble, lump, stretch mark, scar and bump on models.

Fear not, there are slow fashion brands who are here for all bodies. However, for the industry to change we as the consumers need to call out brands for not being inclusive.

Girlfriend Collective

Athletic clothes are by far the hardest to find in a variety of sizes. Luckily there’s Girlfriend Collective, who create athletic attire to empower all. Their sizing is indicative of this, going from XXS to 6XL and they have a diverse group of models to show them off. I proudly own a pair of cycling shorts and leggings, and they really do make me feel empowered!

If you are not living in the US, you can purchase from Sports Edit but I still love perusing the Girlfriend Collective website – seeing so much diversity makes me very happy.

Batoko

Wearing Cockatoo swimsuit by Batoko at Clevedon Marine Lake

These fun and funky swimming costumes are made from recycled plastic bottles. It’s not just the designs that make Batoko so cool; they also don’t hire any models. The brand relies on their customers and uses Instagram to showcase their swimsuits. And it works, you see all bodies truly enjoying Batoko and it’s also great for seeking out wild swimming spots. Admittedly, there is sadly a lack of ethnic diversity, which is an issue that stems from the swimming community (probably one for another time).

Emperors Old Clothes

I am currently patiently waiting for a custom pair of trousers from the Emperors Old Clothes (using their fantastic in-house paying scheme). This Brighton based fashion brand that use off cuts and end rolls of fabric to hand make gorgeous wardrobe staples that are designed to last, and you guessed it, made for all bodies. They are a great option for supporting small business and the most transparent brand I have ever encountered.  The Emperors Old Clothes Instagram is also a treasure trove of insightful and inclusive content.

Please let me know if you know any other slow fashion brands that celebrate every body.

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