Throughout the country we’ve encountered a louder ask for body positivity. Activists such as Jameela Jamil have publicly condemned publications that photoshop or airbrush models and actors in order to create unrealistic body expectations, for young women and girls in particular. Brands like Aerie have entire campaigns surrounding self-love and promoting what “real bodies” look like, meaning no airbrushing or retouching.
However, the fashion industry still has a long way to go. Many retailers are still creating a “one size fits all” model that in fact does not fit all. Or, their sizes do not reflect the realistic bodies of their consumers.
H&M is trying to change that.
The Swedish retailer decided earlier in 2018 that they were going to adjust their sizing system to match their American consumers. So, for example a size M would change to an S, and a 12 would now be a 10. This comes after several consumers complained that their sizes were not consistent to the American standard.
A spokesperson for the brand spoke to Teen Vogue in order to share the reason behind their decision. “H&M in the USA will be updating their sizing structure for ladies’ customer starting with new summer and fall 2018 products. We always want to listen to our customers and their feedback. The new sizing will be more in line with the North American sizing standard and the retail landscape of the market.”
Size charts are subjective and every brand can decide how to determine their own measurements. Many large retailers are choosing to use a more widely used sizing system in order to have some similarities throughout the market.
However, that ignores the problem behind the sizing system.
Retailers and brands still focus mainly on thin, taller people as a base to create their products. So instead of acknowledging that most people don’t look like the models in their catalogues, consumers are left frustrated when the clothes don’t fit as promised.
Understanding what their consumers want and need could really benefit these brands. H&M has started to change, but the body positive conversation is one that still needs to happen often. Particularly in the offices of clothing retailers and the fashion industry.