Is being fat really a fault? Are the larger clothes more expensive because using more materials? The size of clothes is definitely the sensitive issue between apparel industry and ladies. Recently, the British high street fashion brand “New Look” has been accused of charging more for the clothes of larger size, and it has brought about heated debate. Some even criticize the brand for forcing females to pay “obesity tax.”
Owned by Brait SE and having 393 branches in England, New Look has stirred up a debate whether people should pay more for the clothes of larger size. According to the SUN, Maria Wassell, a customer in New Look indicated that in New Look’s store, the price of a green striped trouser of over size 16 is 15% higher than the ones of smaller size.
“It makes me feel like I am punished for my shape bigger than the average by the unreasonable charge,” Wassell told the SUN. She criticized retailers compulsorily levy taxes for obesity. There were also some negative comments on the social media: “Do those with bigger feet have to pay more for the shoes of the same design?
Amanda Bowes, a fashion designer of a British online retailer thinks the standard of pricing is too strict, and the point that the demand of more fabric should be charged more can’t be established. “Indeed, for using more fabrics, the cost of producing plus size is higher. However, if the pricing standard depends on the size, each size should have different price,” she said in the interview. “If there is no benefit for those who wear smaller size, then those wearing larger size don’t have to pay more. It is rare that the prices of the clothes are different for the height or pregnancy. It is cruel and unfair that only being fat have to be charged extra expenses for clothes.
Tam Fry, the chairman of National Obesity Forum which is a charity organization dedicating to raising awareness of obesity in society, noted that it is sensible to charge extra expenses for clothes of large size. “People should pay for those extra materials and time for manufacturing those clothes.” He also mentioned that many people wearing smaller size think they should get the discount, and they fall to understand why they should provide subsidies for people wearing larger size.
When Wassell asked New Look why there were different prices for the same products, she got an ambiguous answer: “Although some products seem the same, they in fact, have some tiny differences.” This company later announced that they were reviewing the pricing standard on the New York Times.
Most of the customers said that they haven’t found out the differences of the price if the media didn’t expose it. “There is not a huge gap between prices, but I think that is all about principles. I understand how it feels because I have bought clothes of plus size,” customer Madeline Moll said. “Plus size is always a sensitive issue for girls. The shop raises the price by the size as if they say: ‘lose some weights, darling.’
In fact, New Look is not the only retailer pricing by the sizes. In 2014, the clothing brand Old Navy was criticized for charging more for the large female clothes but didn’t do the same to the male clothes. Nonetheless, Old Navy rejected to lower the price and claim that the design of female waist’s outline cost more than male’s.