Moncton — The question of ethics regarding clothing labels for people of a certain girth finally made it to our live-and-let-live rural province of New Brunswick on Sunday.
Outside the main entrance to Champlain Place, home to designer label retailers such as le Chateau, GAP, American Eagle and Aéropostale, stood a group of larger-than-life Monctonians brandishing placards with slogans such as: “Why can’t I wear what you wear?” or “Fuck Floral Prints, I’m No Gardener!” and “I Enjoy a Great Meal and Great Fashion!”
“This is about equality within a sex, whether male or female. Just because I didn’t win the genetic lottery, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be able to clothe myself with what an ‘average man’ can,” said Donny Gautreau, spokesperson for the group of 5 protesters. “If my only choice of clothing is between the penguin-patterned muumuu, or the muumuu covered in a weird, feminine paisley pattern — which makes me look like an entire walking rainforest — that is no choice at all.”
When asked about why New Brunswickers above size 14 are usually at a loss when it comes to finding fashionable clothing in franchise outlets like those mentioned above, Lisette Gambon, noted Moncton fashion critic and size 2, decided to weigh in on the matter with both petite feet. “It’s about the bottom line, literally and figuratively,” she said. “You wouldn’t believe the tight, thin margins faced by design houses these days. The economic bust in 2008 leaves no room for ample busts, if you know what I mean.
“Look at Joe Fresh. They decided to cater to the ‘plus’ crowd in their favourite pasture — the supermarket,” Gambon went on, standing near enough the protesters that they could undoubtedly hear her remarks. “Knowing the additional strain it would cause the sweat … err, garment workers, they knew they would need an abundant, rotating workforce, willing to work around the clock for their already reasonable hourly rate. They set up shop in Bangladesh out of necessity. Nowhere on Earth can you find such loyal employees — that is, until they can no longer work due to carpel tunnel, tendonitis and rotator cuff issues from the overtime required to cut and sew X-number extra metres of fabric for their ‘inclusive’ line. If you ask me, this was what contributed to that unfortunate building collapse.
“In terms of retail space, think of the pressure this would put on display and browsing area — I believe the wall-space ratio is 2-to-3 outfits to one in the appropriately named Addition Elle, for example. I mean, who wants to be jostled in the aisles by someone else’s hips while contemplating a $350 purchase?” Gambon continued, unnecessarily. “I mean, how would fat people know they’re fat these days unless we give them a wake-up call and tell them?”
With this, the protesters began to surround Gambon, and looked ready to begin whacking her with their signs.
“I feel the fashion industry is doing these people a practical health service by showing them what they could wear if they ate fewer meals,” she said fearfully, pointing at them as The Manatee‘s reporter watched and did nothing in order to maintain journalistic integrity. “It’s positive reinforcement! Fitting in is — and always has been — important physically and mentally. Things are just easier when you do.”