The spectacular Substantia Jones, the bodaciousness behind The Adipositivity Project (be warned, that link is not safe for work), sent me a missive yesterday, which read in part:
…Fashion Overdose needs a Lesley smack-down. The good news is everything in 4x and 5x is half off through Friday with discount code 4×5x. The bad news is it’s because they’re discontinuing those sizes, come January 1. From their mailing:
“Effective January 1, 2009 FashionOverdose will no longer carry 4x and 5x. Due to supply and demand. FashionOverdose wil add small, med, and large. FashionOverdose size wll start from Small to 3x.”
I’ve met these guys. I’ll bet they can be talked out of it, were you to rally your troops.
Then let the smacking commence forthwith.
I don’t have a whole lot of new stuff to say about this that I haven’t already directed at B & Lu’s on-again, off-again booty-call-like relationship with the 4Xs and 5Xs in their stable. At least Fashion Overdose hasn’t started to drift into the realm of reselling mass-produced crap at an insane markup, so they’ve got that going for them, but their admirable commitment to selling truly original garments fails to make up for cutting out the larger sizes.
I’m going to assume that Fashion Overdose has made this decision for the simple reason that their 4Xs and 5Xs are not selling. This is a company, after all, whose motive is in successfully turning a profit and not in dealing a blow to fatter fats everywhere. I think the fact that Fashion Overdose made it a point from the beginning to market to plus-size consumers – and to use REAL PLUS SIZED WOMEN as models – remains impressive.
What worries me is not what this says about the company, but about the market. While some folks in the 4X-5X range are often frustrated by the lack of stylish options available to them, it seems clear that they’re simply not shopping at the Fashion Overdoses and the B & Lus of the world. Possibly there’s just not a critical mass of people at these sizes who are interested in the styles these shops sell. Possibly a lot of people at these sizes want to wear fabulously loud clothing but are afraid, afraid it’ll make them a target, afraid doing so would demand a level of self-confidence they’ve not yet achieved. It’s remarkably difficult to convince oneself that’s it’s acceptable to wear ostentatious clothing when the tacit messages one is getting from all sides is that those clothes don’t (and oughtn’t) exist for you.
So this is ultimately less a smackdown, than a morose little meditation on the frustrations of being a fatter fat who’s desperately seeking style. Could Fashion Overdose maybe compromise, and continue to offer 4Xs and 5Xs as special-order pieces? I don’t know – I don’t know enough about their production capabilities, or about how committed they are to serving the fats under any circumstances. All I can say is that this decision makes me sad, both for myself, as a body that often straddles the line between mainstream plus-sizes and the Great Beyond, and for all the folks who are working toward a place where they believe their bodies are worth dressing up and showing off.
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