My Open Letter to the Plus-size Industry…

The year is almost over, but it’s never too late to adjust our views, attitudes and start with a clean slate.

I have noticed in the last few years that while the plus size fashion industry and the community presence is growing, we seem to be more divided than in years past.

It feels like a big pond when it’s all of us in the same space, but when we step out of the “plus size” pond is when we realize how small we actually are. And we seem to be almost step on each other’s toes to own our space.

That’s dividing us.

I can’t say that it’s all of us, but it’s enough of us for myself and others to take notice. When an influencer turns her back on someone else simply because you don’t know them or “like” their style, that’s a problem.

Last month, I took to my IG stories to discuss this topic because it bothered me so much to see so many people feeling bad about themselves because someone they follow and admired had treated them unkindly. As I said in my stories, not everyone is a people person, bubbly, or feels the need to be BFFs with everyone.

However, if you’re an influencer, this is a PEOPLE job!

That means interacting with your followers! While you’re relying on comments, likes and engagement from THEM, you should also consider that you will have to kiss some babies and wave at the crowd at times, especially at big events and if you’re recognized out in public. It’s part of the job. No one in our industry should feel like they don’t want to attend events because people are not nice to them, when as a whole, people are not nice to US!

We are STILL nearly invisible in fashion, and here we are, clapping and shouting when a straight size brand throws us a little love here and there. We should be applauding and shouting for the brands that SPECIALIZE in dressing our bodies and actually create clothes that fit us.

Lastly, this feud between the smaller plus size and larger plus size individuals needs to be OVER!

Being smaller is not better, does not make you elite and does not give you preference over anyone else. If you are a larger plus size woman, you are not less than anyone else and you are just as deserving as the rest. We absolutely need to support one another, whether the woman does not seem PLUS to you, is not your decision to make. If there is a size 12 woman who identifies as plus size and is part of the community and supports all of us, why would we ever treat her like the rest of the world treats US?

When I take a look at the other side, I cringe.

Why are we only supporting a handful of size 24+ women? And when it’s done, it’s done under the radar or we are tiptoeing towards them. They are just as much a part of the fashion industry as the rest.  When I was a size 24, people I knew for YEARS looked and treated me differently than when I was a size 18/20. Why is that? Weight doesn’t determine worth! PERIOD!

It all comes down to respect.

We have to respect each other’s individuality, presence, and journey whether they’re a model, influencer, blogger, or just a regular, fabulous person. Likes, numbers and comments do not make us better than anyone else… they bring us the responsibility to live in service of those who follow and allow us to live the life we have chosen.

Being kind feels so good and there is no bigger reward than knowing you have done something good for someone else, without expecting anything in return. If we intend to elevate the industry then we have to support and bring us all together: the advocates, the champions, the designers, the influencers, the models.

Because we are all pursuing the same goal.

In service,

Maddy Jones