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Plea for more plus-size thrift racks for sustainability

May 5, 2020

Plea for more plus-size thrift racks for sustainability

CRUSHES STORE ON KARANGAHAPE ROAD INVITES ALL TO BROWSE. PHOTO: BRIANNA STEWART.

Plus size women are being shut out of thrift shopping for clothes to help save the environment and money.

Plus size fashion blogger Megan Kerr says she has trouble finding clothing above a size 24 in second hand stores and sticks to online outlets.

“It would be great to have more options available, especially in brick and mortar stores where we could try things on.”

She says if a store does not specifically advertise they carry plus-size clothes she will assume she cannot shop there.

Rose Hope, co-owner of boutique vintage and homeware store Crushes, says plus-size people have historically been underrepresented in thrift stores and that is having an impact now.

“We see larger women and men coming in and they don’t bother to look because they’ve never been represented.”

Rose says stores ostracise a significant market by not including bigger sizes in their range.

“I think that is very sad, especially if you think about how positive buying second-hand is on the planet,” says Rose.

“The larger sizes don’t move so I can understand why other businesses don’t do it. It’s not a great business model for them.”

Rose says their goal is to make recycling clothes accessible for all and she will continue to include all sizes in her range.

Fat Studies scholar Dr Cat Pausé says it makes sense to her that plus-size stock does not move quickly because fat people are used to having barriers regarding their access to clothing.

“It would probably be really rare for a fat person to assume they would be included, because we’re always excluded.”

Dr Pausé says fat people are less likely to donate their clothes to op shops because it is rare an item fits, looks nice and is enjoyable to wear.

“Fat people don’t turn these clothing items over very often and when they do, they tend to donate them to fat-positive stores.”

Second-hand shopping is an entry point to making sustainable clothing choices by delaying that garment’s delivery to landfill.

Stylist Monique Doy says it also means garments made of higher quality materials are more accessible because they will be at a lower cost in thrift stores.

Ethical and sustainable considerations are often at the bottom of the list for plus-size women, with fit and affordability being the main concern, according to Monique.

She says ethical clothing choices are usually expensive and limited.

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