There has been a lot in the press the last couple of weeks about a new ‘fat tax’ that is being introduced in some high street stores and it makes for an interesting discussion piece. While some argue that plus sized clothing should be more expensive and stores are right to charge more money as more material is used, a stronger debate seems to have come in opposition of this in the name of fat shaming – something which was publicly backed by the outspoken Piers Morgan on last week’s Good Morning Britain and has since been supported on social media and by a number of high-profile people including one of my girls; Felicity Hayward. I was really proud that Felicity, an influencer and curve model at my agency MiLK Management, spoke so openly about this topical issue in the press, standing up for women of all sizes and representing everything we at MiLK stand for; DIVERSITY.
Felicity argued there “needs to be an equality in fashion as it doesn’t seem fair to charge some people based on genetics”. I whole-heartedly agree. We all come in a variety of shapes and sizes and whether big, small, curvy or tall, should be celebrated for the skin we’re in, not discriminated against.
There is also the issue of what messaging this promotes to young, impressionable girls and the affect this will have on their self-esteem. Felicity put this perfectly when she said “not providing equal price points in fashion – especially products aimed at young girls – could lead to so many different issues, including mental health, body confidence and eating disorders. High-street brands have a huge influence on our youth, so have a responsibility to not only show diversity in their campaigns, but ensure everyone feels welcome and able to express individual personality and style.” I think this point is really important in highlighting the accountability we all have for nurturing the next generation, promoting inclusion and recognizing the positive impact this has on young people.
The argument of body image and the unattainable ideals that are portrayed by the media and brands is also crucial here. “Everyone is unique in their own right and should be celebrated, not discriminated against.” I definitely feel in today’s society we have got better at recognizing this and agencies like mine have revolutionized the industry by championing the notion that beauty is not limited to a certain size but there is still work to be done and relevant debates such as this are a great way of bringing the situation to light to continue moving forward and marking change.
Anna Shillinglaw, founder of MiLK Management http://www.milkmanagement.co.uk/ @milkmodelmanagement @annashillinglaw1