Plus-size women are being forced online because they can’t buy basic clothes in Ireland’s high street shops, according to a body positivity advocate.
It comes after actress Lena Dunham warned that overweight women are being dehumanised by the fashion industry.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, body positivity advocate Michelle McCormick said there are “only a couple” of high street shops in Dublin that cater to plus-size women.
“I would say maybe two shops out of all the shops you can think of on those main shopping streets,” she said.
“We are talking about underwear, we’re talking about bras, we’re talking vests, leggings, jeans, joggers, active-wear – really, really basic things – to the point where most plus-size women I know just don’t bother with bricks and mortar shopping at all.
“Everything is done online and the availability of those kind of basics is very tough to access because the brands that are out there that are doing plus size – the likes of Asos, misguided and Boohoo – it is all very trend-driven throwaway pieces that are not made to last.”
Ms McCormick said the need to shop online can make it “a real struggle to try and just simply clothe yourself” if you need something urgently.
She also warned that the lack of choice on the high street leaves plus-size women isolated socially.
“Shopping is a social activity as well that people do with their friends and their families but if I go shopping with my mother what I am doing is walking after her through shop after shop watching her try things on and there is nothing for me to do,” she said.
“Shopping is a huge social activity for young girls where they walk around with their friends and for some of those girls who are plus-size, they are walking around seeing their friends try things on and it is very exclusionary and quite isolating.
“You do just feel completely left out of this part of society that is fashion and clothing and style almost.”
She said plus-size women need more options from the city’s major outlets.
“On the high street, I would love to see our big everyday staple brands like Penneys and Dunnes and places really expanding their ranges so you can go in and buy a pair of pyjamas let’s say,” she said.
“But then, for style over and above that, I would really like to see a push by the ethical and sustainable brands to expand their size range so that plus-size shoppers actually have a choice.”
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Main image shows a store in New York promoting its inventory of plus-size fashions, 15-06-2018. Image: Richard B. Levine