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Time to design bigger

Curvaceous: Queen Latifah has never been afraid to show off her curves

I HAVE always been overweight, but I do not buy my clothes in plus-size shops because the clothes tend to be badly designed. I do, however, like to shop in high street stores, but the problem here is that the selection in these shops is very limited, and if you are larger than a size 18, you are often out of luck.

I am also not a fan of designer fashion for one reason: as a size 18 woman, the clothes are never sold in my size.

Refreshingly, US actress, rapper and busineswoman Queen Latifah recently launched a new line of clothing, hoping to make larger women look sexy – and it’s about time. Whether we like it or not, the world is getting fatter and the plus-size industry is worth over 32 billon dollars a year in America alone. Many designers are missing out on profiting from this market due to their short-sightedness and bias.

When it comes to larger size clothes, the latest fashions are ignored and fuller-figured women are often left with shapeless, geriatric-looking garments. It seems that taste declines as waists expand.

Perhaps designers believe people no longer want to feel or look sexy when they are overweight, and that all they should hope for is comfort.

But plus-size models, like Jordan Tesfay and the late Mia Amber Davis prove that larger women can be confident and sexy in all types of clothing.

Many prominent entertainers like Jill Scott and Oprah Winfrey have battled outside insistence on becoming super thin in order to be more acceptable in their designer clothes. And of course, it is easier for a celebrity, being styled by a team of experts.

But it seems that all areas of society are coerced into thinking that being slim is the ultimate goal and being fat is disgusting. There is a particular demand on bigger women to wear what is ‘appropriate’ or loose-fitting, and the idea of a large person wearing sexy clothes leaves a lot of people uncomfortable because it goes against convention.

Black women in the UK are at a particular disadvantage when it comes to fashion, as the clothes designed for smaller European figures, such as jeans, do not fit around the derrière. But still, there is no suggestion that they stop wearing them.

The problematic question with making all garments in larger sizes is: at what size do you stop? Should we force designers to make larger clothes until it takes a fork lift to carry one garment? No, of course not.

Obesity in the UK is a problem and one that shouldn’t be ignored. The rate of obesity in England is higher than it has ever been, with 33 percent of women and 43 percent of men being overweight.

So yes, there is a limit to how far the ‘you can be fat and fabulous’ thinking should go. Being dangerously overweight isn’t any good for an individual’s health or quality of life, and simply making clothes bigger will not solve that problem.

When weight affects one’s ability to carry out simple tasks, people should be encouraged to lose the excess pounds, instead of trying to buy larger garments to accommodate them.

Still, the prejudice that exists against larger people, particularly when it comes to fashion is truly sad. Discrimination comes in many forms, and almost all are considered unacceptable – unless it’s against a fat person.

In these days of increased social awareness and freedom, you should be able to be fat, sexy and happy and have the freedom to wear whatever clothes you choose.

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