GB Member Sarah Chiyawa caught our attention with her new hashtag #plussizeplease created to encourage stores to carry a wider ranges of sizes. Here, Sarah tells us about how she came up with the idea and how it’s beginning to effect some real change within the industry.
I started #plussizeplease because I think fashion is for all bodies, not just the ones we see in magazines and on runways. Getting to this place of body positivity and seeing the beauty in all shapes and sizes was an uphill battle, though, because when so much of fashion literally does not fit you, it can be all to easy to feel like you don’t belong. It takes a lot of mental work to let go of the ideas we’ve heard all our lives.
Once I started to understand that fashion is not limited to one body type, I wanted to do something to help women of all sizes have access to clothes that reflect their personal style. From my participation in online communities like the Gwynnie Bee Facebook page and the fatshion and body positive blogging communities, I knew that there was a real demand for more variety in plus size clothing. Women over size 14 want fashionable pieces too, not just black flowy tents to hide under.
After a lot of brainstorming, and reflecting on my own experience as an avid shopper frustrated by the lack of options, I came up with a hashtag to show retailers this demand directly: #plussizeplease.
I laid out some guidelines for how to use it:
1) Snap a picture of a garment you love but does not come in your size. Include the brand and price, tagging the company if possible. For example, I am in love with this Zara marble print dress. I would have purchased it yesterday if it went above a size L. My tweet would be:
“.@Zara marble print sheath, $59. I’d buy it right now if it came in my size. #plussizeplease”
2) Use it on any social media – Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest… even Facebook supports hashtags now.
3) Tag anything you’d purchase, whether in store or online.
4) Feel free to include the size range it comes in and/or the size you think you’d need. Sizing can be tricky, so this is definitely not required.
5) Tell your friends! I don’t just want this to be a blogger thing – I want all women who wear size 14 and up to show their purchasing power and share styles they love. Let’s be unignorable!
From the moment I hit publish, the response I’ve received has been overwhelming, and evidence that I struck a chord. Within an hour of posting, my #plussizeplease post had been shared and viewed by tens of thousands of people on Facebook. The accompanying comments were inspiring in their vigor and excitement – for many women, the idea that they could actively tell companies what they really want was akin to a revelation. Since that first day, the idea has spread all over the world.
My initial post has been translated into multiple languages; other bloggers have written about their experience using the tag; and people have utilized it on every major social media platform, from Instagram to Twitter to Pinterest. I’ve received heartfelt messages from women saying #plussizeplease helped them rethink what “fashion” can be, and to stop assuming that they cannot be a part of it. My tumblr post has over 20,000 notes, and is still reblogged every day.
Moreover, retailers are listening! Some small boutiques have started carrying plus sizes in response, and even bigger stores seem to be catching the drift. Some of my followers on Twitter have reported that chains have increased the size ranges in styles after they tagged them with #plussizeplease. Women over a size 14 are the majority in America, so it makes good business sense for more designers to follow suit. In doing so, I hope this movement helps to reframe who “fits” in fashion.
Will you be adopting Sarah’s new hashtag? Comment below.
Visit Sarah’s blog, Curvilyfashion.com, here.