H&M released a video celebrating the diversity and beauty of women. In it we see bald women, strong women, women with natural hair, women of colour, older women, badass women, androgynous women,… Having fun and being unapologetically themselves. Which is awesome. The idea of the video in general is really awesome. Have a look here.
The video also features 2 plusmodels, size 16 Paloma and size 12 Katy, both gorgeous and awesome. They even start the video with an image of Paloma walking in her underwear. And that is where the problem begins. At first I thought it was so cool but then I was like, wait… hang on… Why are you using plussize models in your video when you treat your plussize consumers like crap?
opening shot: Paloma in her underwear
Hang on… but H&M has a plussize collection! That’s awesome right?
Yes, it is true that they have a plussize clothing line (H&M+). But that is where the good news stops.
Why H&M treats their plussize consumer like crap
- Their plussize collection is uninspiring and small: Their current plussize collection has about 150 pieces, mostly basic jeans and tops, while their regular women’s clothing line line has over 5300 items.
- Their sizing and fit is severely off, and despite consumers telling them this for years there has been no improvement.
- Their catalogue shows about 100 pages of straightsize fashion but only 2 pages for plussize.
- The shops that carry the plussize collection always put it somewhere in the back of the store, next to the pregnancy clothing, and only show a really small part of the collection (20-25 pieces).
- Designer collabs are only available for the smaller sizes, and “size diverse” collections that come in a bigger size carry the small sizes in store and the plus sizes are only found online.
- They have also started pulling plussize sections from shops, with the excuse that they don’t have enough space… but when even the biggest H&M in the world stops selling plussize clothing in store, you know that that is just a bullshit excuse.
Conclusion: they don’t like their plussize consumer. To me as a consumer, it feels like the plussize collection is just a little extra they do on the side, and squeeze some money out of, and that they can use in campaigns like this one so that they can say they are size-positive.
They’re not alone in this. A lot of brands want to dip their toe in the water of the plussize market, but none of them really want to go for a swim (I wrote about this earlier on here). And I am SO OVER IT.
Dear H&M. I like you guys for a lot of reasons. I am happy I can occasionally squeeze myself into some pieces of your straightsize collections. But you have not only lost me as a shopper of your plussize line, you have also angered me. You get away with this crap because plussize women are used to settling. We settle for ill-fitting clothes and being treated like second-class consumers because we can’t get any better. And that ends now. I’ll be taking my money elsewhere, because guess what: while you have been getting away with this, other brands have emerged and other retailers have stepped up their game. I no longer need to settle for this. To use us for publicity but then treat us this poorly is wrong.
The video you created is awesome, and I love the diversity of women. But if you’re not going to treat your plussize consumers with the respect they deserve, then don’t use us in your video’s either just because it makes you look good. We deserve better.