What started out as a well-meaning sweatshirt has led to an uproar on social media over mixed messages about fat shaming and body positivity.
Social issues advocate and artist Florence Given found the sweatshirts on Revolve’s website on Wednesday, with the featured image showing a straight-size model in a pullover that read, “Beng fat is not beautiful it’s an excuse.” Disgusted by the message the sweatshirt sent, Given shared photos of it on Instagram. She also shared another sweatshirt the brand had on its website, emblazoned with the phrase, “Too boney to be boned.”
In tiny print below the quotes, the sweatshirts say, “as said to” beside an Instagram handle, giving the impression that these were comments pulled from someone’s Instagram account. The accounts attributed on the sweatshirts belong to models like Cara Delevingne and Paloma Elsesser.
According to Fashionista, the quotes were comments reportedly said to famous women — but the campaign backfired when the apparel was released early without any context . Since the $168 sweatshirt went up on Revolve’s website on Wednesday, Twitter has been awash with comments bashing the brand for the offensive message.
why is no one talking about revolve selling a “being fat is not beautiful it’s an excuse” sweatshirt, that’s so messed up
What is there to say about @revolve's decision to include this sweatshirt in their inventory? That they think it's okay and will resonate with their customer base speaks volumes. pic.twitter.com/9x1xXXyBGR
Also like may I say that the attribution text is so small as to render my first few reads of the sweatshirt as CHAMPIONING this awful line? You could read the quote a city block away but would have to be in conversational distance to catch the "as said to".
“They have a huge following that’s mostly young women and they are perpetuating the toxic idea that our worth is tied into our size,” Holliday said in a statement to Mic. “They must have never seen me, because I’m fat and beautiful.”
Instagrammers were just as pissed. “I am actually disgusted and bewildered….. who in the design meeting thought – “hey – I know a good idea” … and what idiotic team agreed with them!!??????” someone commented on Florence Given’s post. “This can’t be real,” another pleaded. “BEING DISRESPECTFUL ISNT BEAUTIFUL ITS DISGUSTING.”
Revolve already has a reputation for its lack of diversity (remember #RevolveSoWhite?) and this sweatshirt is just fanning the flames. According to Fashionista, the largest size available in the sweatshirt was an XL. And that’s a stretch for Revolve, since the brand usually doesn’t sell anything beyond a size large. Just look at their size guide.
The fact that it’s modeled on a slender woman is just a slap in the face to curvy girls everywhere.
“Can’t believe this is real? Why wouldn’t they just hire Paloma or another model who has been a victim of this kind of thinking. Do better @revolve@lpa,” someone suggested on Instagram.
As for plus-size representation? If you google “Revolve plus size” you’ll find it. You won’t find anything in it though; there are “0 items” in the section. Not even the sweatshirt in question.
If this was Revolve’s foray into size inclusivity, it appears the brand missed the mark.
Given got a hold of LPA founder Pia Arrobio on Instagram, who explained the idea behind these sweatshirts, which was a collaboration with five women to “shine light on how horrible trolling is.” The plan was to launch the sweatshirts on Thursday, but they “went up early on Revolve for some reason,” Arrobio tells Given on Instagram before the context of the quotes in question were made clear.
Still, social media users aren’t satisfied. “[O]kay but why would they sell a shirt like that???” someone commented on Instagram. “Even with the explanation, those shirts are an awful and poorly executed idea.”
When the answer is “The merchandise went up early? Also, fundraising! And bullying is wrong!” to the question “Why are you selling a sweatshirt conflating fatness with laziness?” perhaps a rethink is in order? https://t.co/bJzdtovmHj
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