It’s your fault you’re fat: Judgements of responsibility and social conduct in the fashion industry | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 1, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 2050-0742
  • E-ISSN: 2050-0750



Examining the beliefs in the fashion industry surrounding the obese is critical to understanding discrimination issues and the resultant fit and sizing issues for plus-size consumers. The fashion industry offers certain styles in limited sizing, which in turn structures our society in such a way that only certain sizes can participate in choosing and wearing fashionable clothing. Therefore, the need to examine the people’s beliefs who will work in this industry is critical to restructuring the sizing, fit and discriminatory issues experienced by fat consumers. Understanding these beliefs among student designers, or the ‘gatekeepers’ of the fashion industry, may explain why plus-size women repeatedly report feeling discriminated against by the fashion industry and have difficulty finding clothing in styles, colours and fits they desire. The results of the study indicate that fashion design and merchandising students have strong negative beliefs about obese people. This article investigates the reasoning for such disdain towards obese bodies in the fashion industry and hopes to rectify the situation by offering suggestions to normalize fat bodies and incorporate information about plus-size consumers into fashion design and apparel merchandising courses.


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