Are inclusivity and diversity at the forefront of the sustainability movement?

> Currently, we have a dilemma in our ethical and sustainable movements where it seems again and again that the plus size community is routinely excluded from the conversation simply by the fact that many ethical and sustainable brands aren’t making clothes to fit various bodies.  How is that any sort of revolution?

We can’t sit back and claim that our movement is better than the high street while engaging in the same oppressive power structures and not including a certain portion of the population.  Sustainability simply isn’t enough anymore.  It never has been and it never will be because all issues of oppression are intrinsically linked (thank you Kimberle Crenshaw for intersectionality). Inclusivity and diversity must be in the forefront of any of our movements if we want true, equitable change and a better future for all.
The thing about fatphobia that many folks simply don’t understand is that it is an oppression.  It’s more than walking into stores and being told that nothing fits you.  It’s constantly being portrayed as lazy or stupid on the television.  It’s the assumption of unhealthiness while a skinny person who smokes two packs of cigarettes a day is never questioned. It’s not feeling like you should take up space in the world because you’re… bigger.  As someone who has been four different sizes in my adult life, I can tell you with honesty that the world treats you much differently when you’re bigger rather than when you’re smaller.  
While tackling many of the issues mentioned is going to take a change in public consciousness, at the very least… everyone should be able to dress themselves.  Currently in our movement, there’s a massive hole for people bigger than an XL. (I often struggle myself and I help people get dressed for a living!)  

We can’t ask everyone to get on board with our sustainability movement until our movement dresses everyone. We can’t continue to exclude people and then wonder why everyone’s not making environmentally friendly and ethical choices.

The brand which understands this quickest will be the brand who will prosper in the future I’m building because I’m no longer accepting that dressing plus size people is something which the world should opt out of.  I understand that smaller brands have to work within their margins but once a brand begins to grow, if adding more sizes isn’t on the agenda, I question their values and whether or not they align with my own.
In the days where everyone wants to be an ally, true allyship is the act of doing the heavy lifting so that your friend experiencing the oppression doesn’t have to do it alone.  It’s pushing brands we enjoy to increase their size range so everyone can shop guilt free.  It’s walking away from brands who have the power to be more inclusive and flat out refuse.  It’s recognizing that we’ve done a massive disservice to the plus size community up until this point and vowing to create movements where all bodies are truly welcome.

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Aja Barber

Writer’s Bio: Aja Barber is a writer, personal stylist and style consultant living in South East London. Her work focuses on sustainability, ethics, intersectional feminism, racism and all the ways systems of power effect our buying habits.

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