More Fabric, More Money? British Retailer can be Accused of Charging ‘Fat Tax’
LONDON — Size can be a sensitive subject inside the clothing business. So when one of Britain’s most well-liked in addition to affordable clothing giants was found to charge more for plus-size clothing, the idea was accused of imposing a “fat tax” on women.
The pricing by the store, brand-new Look, revived a debate over whether the use of more fabric for the same outfit should logically cost more.
The controversy erupted when a brand-new Look customer, Maria Wassell, said she discovered which a pair of green-striped trousers cost 15 percent more in all sizes above 16 (the equivalent of a Size 12 inside the United States), which are considered plus sizes in Britain. (Even the phrase “plus size” can be problematic to some, who argue which the industry’s labels are unrealistic.)
Ms. Wassell, 43, a retail supervisor coming from Kent, in southeast England, also discovered which a T-shirt in addition to dress in standard sizes were cheaper than identical versions inside the plus-size section, according to the local news media.
“the idea’s like being discriminated against for being plus size when I’m only slightly bigger than average,” she told The Sun newspaper. “The average size for a British woman can be today a Size 16.”
She declared which the retailer was enforcing a “fat tax.”
Outraged social media users tossed in all sorts of comparisons: Should people with bigger feet be charged more for shoes? in addition to, perhaps more to the point: Should petite people be charged less?
Amanda Bowes, a British fashion designer for plus-size online retail outlets, called brand-new Look’s pricing criteria “harsh,” in addition to said which the more-fabric argument did not hold water.
“Obviously the idea costs more to make plus-size clothing because of the amount of fabric used, yet if the pricing metric can be going to be based on size, then every size should be priced differently,” she said in a phone interview on Wednesday.
“If smaller-sized people aren’t getting discounts, then plus-sized people shouldn’t have to pay a surplus,” she added. “We rarely see ‘tall’ in addition to ‘maternity’ editions of clothing being priced differently. the idea’s cruel in addition to unfair to single out one body type.”
yet Tam Fry, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, a charity which raises awareness about obesity, said the idea was reasonable to charge more money for larger clothing.
“People should pay for the material/time required to manufacture sizes,” he said in an email. He added which many smaller people “felt they should have discounts in addition to asked why they should subsidize” people who wear bigger sizes. “A Size 10 should pay for a Size 10.”
Ms. Wassell said which when she contacted brand-new Look — which can be owned by the investment company Brait SE in addition to has 393 stores inside the United Kingdom — to ask about the different prices, she was told which while “some products appear similar, they may be slightly different.”
However, the company said in a statement to The brand-new York Times on Wednesday which the idea was reviewing the pricing structure of its plus-size collection “in a way which works best for our customers in addition to our business.”
In one brand-new Look store in South London, most shoppers said they wouldn’t have noticed the cost differences if they hadn’t been highlighted inside the news media.
“the idea’s not a huge cost difference, yet I guess the idea’s about the principle,” said Madeline Moll, who said she used to shop coming from the plus-size section when she was larger. “Dressing in bigger sizes can be a sensitive issue for women. the idea’s almost like the shops are trying to make a point by putting up the cost. the idea’s like they are saying, ‘Lose some weight, love.’ in addition to which’s just mean.”
brand-new Look can be not the only retailer to come under fire for pricing clothes according to size. In 2014, Old Navy was criticized for charging higher prices for plus-size clothing for women, yet not for men.
Old Navy refused to lower its prices, arguing which women’s clothing had contoured waistbands which cost more to produce. Its parent company, Gap, relaxed the rules for the return of plus-size clothing in addition to said the idea might create a customer panel to gather more insight.