Home / Magazine / As stores charge more for curvy ranges, we ask whether plus-size shoppers should pay a fat tax for their clothes

As stores charge more for curvy ranges, we ask whether plus-size shoppers should pay a fat tax for their clothes

LARGER sizes may be more readily available now, but they come at a price.

TV host Lizzie Cundy provoked outrage by saying shops should charge more for bigger sizes.

 TV presenter Lizzie Cundy sparked outrage on social media when she suggested plus-size shoppers should be made to pay more for their clothesRex Features TV presenter Lizzie Cundy sparked outrage on social media when she suggested plus-size shoppers should be made to pay more for their clothes

Many on social media were quick to disagree – describing it as a form of fat-shaming.

Here, we compare the prices of mainline and plus-size collections of top brands (only River Island replied to our request for comment) and present the arguments for and against a “fat tax”.

No, says size 20 model and activist Felicity Hayward

THE size 20 model has more than 140,000 Instagram followers and believes that curvy women should not be punished for their looks. She says:

“The high street has so many more options these days, with most brands branching into the plus-size area.

 Felicity Hayward believes there needs to be equality in fashion Felicity Hayward believes there needs to be equality in fashion

“It is great news. But I completely disagree with having to pay more for bigger sizes.

“I understand more fabric can mean that the item could cost more in materials, but the petite sizes are never cheaper and they use less fabric.

“Why should plus-size collections be targeted? There needs to be an equality in fashion. It doesn’t seem fair to charge some people based on genetics.

 H&M's padded coat from its plus-size range costs £59.99 H&M’s padded coat from its plus-size range costs £59.99  H&M's padded coat from its mainline range costs £29.99 - the Swedish brand declined our request for a commentH&M H&M’s padded coat from its mainline range costs £29.99 – the Swedish brand declined our request for a comment

“Everyone is unique in their own right and should be celebrated, not discriminated against. Skinny models, for example, don’t always send out the most healthy message to young, impressionable girls but seemingly get rewarded by being given cheaper clothes.

“More curvaceous women, who it could be argued portray a more realistic, attainable body ideal, get scrutinised and pay the price.

“Curvy girls are often targeted for their weight, deemed unhealthy or an expense to the NHS.

“Someone with a smaller frame could be regarded as being healthier but they could have a drug, nicotine or alcohol addiction which could make them a greater burden.

 Missguided's plus-size mesh dress is priced at £28 Missguided’s plus-size mesh dress is priced at £28  Missguided's mainline mesh dress costs £25 - the company declined our request for a comment Missguided’s mainline mesh dress costs £25 – the company declined our request for a comment

“My body-positive brand, called #selflovebringsbeauty, stocks sizes S-5XL and we create an equal price by dividing the cost between all sizes. Imagine being a young girl walking into a store and finally finding that leather biker jacket all your other friends have.

“Then you find out it is £20 more than everyone else’s.

“It would make you feel your weight is an issue and that you have been excluded from the gang.

“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.”

Yes, says Tam Fry of the National Obesity Forum

TAM believes it is only fair that those who are obese should pay for their actions. He says:

“Being male – albeit a wise old one – I tread warily whenever I enter a debate over women’s clothing.

“But the spat on plus-size clothing prices is, for me, a simple problem to resolve.

 The National Obesity Forum's Tam Fry believes increased prices might encourage larger shoppers to lose weightRex Features The National Obesity Forum’s Tam Fry believes increased prices might encourage larger shoppers to lose weight

“Lizzie Cundy was absolutely justified in her assertion that larger people should expect to pay more for their clothing, since more material would be used to manufacture them.

“I was always taught that you should pay for what you get.

“Those who disagree quite evidently have little experience in the rag trade, where stitching extra yardage together is bound to have an additional cost attached to it.

 This black lace dress from New Look's curvy range costs £27.99 This black lace dress from New Look’s curvy range costs £27.99  The same dress from New Look's mainline range costs £24.99 The same dress from New Look’s mainline range costs £24.99

“We expect to pay more for a large pizza than we do a medium one, so surely the same should be expected when it comes to clothing. There is, of course, an exception to every rule and Ms Cundy was again right to envisage that people who had a recognised underlying medical condition might qualify for exemption.

“Extra-large ladies who have a genetic disposition leading to obesity could carry a GP’s letter to verify the fact.

 This flippy hem skirt from Pretty Little Thing's plus-size range costs £12 This flippy hem skirt from Pretty Little Thing’s plus-size range costs £12  A similar skirt from Pretty Little Thing's mainline range costs just £10 A similar skirt from Pretty Little Thing’s mainline range costs just £10

“Genetic testing is so sophisticated nowadays that specialists could quickly sort out the deserving from the undeserving.

“It’s a workable idea and one that society ought to welcome.

“If eating everything in sight is your game, be prepared to pay for it.

“It should not be up to society and the NHS, who would prefer you managed your weight to an acceptable body mass index [BMI].

“Charging extra prices would kickstart the larger lady into adopting a healthier lifestyle which, in the long run, would be much cheaper.”

 River Island's plus-size range sequin jacket is priced at £70 River Island’s plus-size range sequin jacket is priced at £70  A sequin jacket from River Island's mainline collection costs £68 A sequin jacket from River Island’s mainline collection costs £68

River Island respond

They say: “We aim to always price our main and plus range the same, providing the same great fashion to more women. The item in question was mistakenly priced incorrectly online. The online team has been notified.”

‘Cater to all… but not at a price’, says Fabulous Daily Editor Joely Chilcott

“The lack of diversity in fashion is nothing new. I’ve been thrilled to hear of more and more retailers expanding their ranges in order to cater for all customers – big and small.

“But it seems counter-productive to charge more for bigger sizes.

“Shoppers want to feel valued and this does nothing for self-esteem.

“A size 16 dress does not cost more than a size 6 in mainline collections, so why is it one rule for certain sizes and another for others?

“Some retailers may state that there is less of a demand for bigger sizes, therefore the price is increased.

“I am well aware of the national obesity epidemic, but I don’t think setting higher prices is the answer to changing this.

“Fashion should be for everyone to enjoy.”

Plus size model Tess Holliday tells Loose Women why she loves her body as it is

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