The fashion world has been scrutinized for its environmental footprint and lack of size inclusivity. These issues may seem unrelated, but they do have a connection. Sustainable or ethical clothing can refer to the source and production of textiles, fabrics, and products, but it also deals with production processes, who produced it, and the product’s lifespan before it reaches a landfill. When discussing size-inclusive clothing, this means that “straight sizes,” or 0 to 12 and larger sizes of the same items are offered by the same brand, making it easy for people of all sizes to find fashionable, well-fitting clothes for their body types. The lack of size inclusivity or accommodation for weight fluctuations in fashion affects sustainability and their environmental footprint. When brands primarily offer smaller sizes, it is harder for people to keep using these clothes. If someone fluctuates between gaining or losing weight, the clothes they have may eventually become unwearable, leading it to be thrown out. The lack of bigger sizes may also lead plus-size people to buy clothes from fast fashion brands that are unsustainable or unethical, which has negative environmental implications and won’t provide high-quality clothes. Size-inclusive, ethical clothing is not always easy to find, but new innovations and solutions are emerging to make it easier for those experiencing weight fluctuations to enjoy high-quality, sustainable, and stylish clothing.
Why should fashion accommodate weight fluctuations?
Weight fluctuations are not an uncommon experience, but the fashion industry hasn’t yet found a mainstream way of accommodating them sustainably. The more nuanced discussions around weight have also ramped up demand for size-inclusive and ethical clothing. Even weight loss programs have been shifting their strategies. They now focus on guiding clients to sustainable health habits—which can come with fluctuations—rather than quick weight loss. Many people gain and lose weight for various reasons that differ from person to person, so regardless of a person’s size, everyone should easily be able to find, wear, and keep high-quality and ethical clothing. More access to such fashion prevents harmful practices and standards from being the norm.
How is the industry responding to the demand for ethical and size-inclusive clothes?
Increasing the size offerings in clothes is essential for inclusion, but fabrics also play a role. Stretch fabrics can accommodate people of various sizes, even if their weight fluctuates. This type of material allows for freedom of movement, and innovations, like the use of flatlock stitching and seamless engineering, eliminate chafing and abrasion against the skin. It’s mostly incorporated into activewear to make movement easier and more flexible, but regular clothes can also use stretch fabrics. You can check a clothing item’s fabric composition and look for elastane or spandex, which gives clothes elasticity. Wearing clothes with stretch fabrics can positively affect long-term wearability, reducing the chances of them ending up in landfills when your weight fluctuates.
It’s not easy to find models to match all body shapes and sizes, so some brands utilize technology to aid in helping consumers find the right sizes for clothes. The use of 3D body scanning technology allows consumers to scan themselves using their phones and then use their body dimensions to make personalized size recommendations. This will enable companies to base sizing standards based on the actual body shapes and metrics of their customers. Using 3D fashion design software also digitalizes the design operation, allowing companies to explore sizing on garment samples and reduce waste in the sampling process, which contributes to sustainable brand initiatives. Better insights on sizing also decrease returns and the carbon footprint. There’s still room for progress and improvement regarding size-inclusive, ethical clothing, but the fashion industry is making strides to ensure people’s unique values, needs, and bodies are accommodated. The discourse on weight and weight fluctuations is also shifting, which can pave the way for more companies and brands to boost their inclusivity initiatives to ensure everyone has access to the best clothing, no matter what size they are, at any time. To learn more about stretch and spandex clothing, visit Pine Crest Fabrics to discover more wholesale fabric.