Recently, LA-based BBW, adult star, erotic performer and model April Flores went to American Apparel. She asked the showroom rep if they ever considered making plus sizes, and the woman told Flores, "That's not our demographic."
It's funny that youth-centric companies like American Apparel are so fascist about the size of the women they'll cater to, but are much more permissive when it comes to their male clientele. This is where I found the loophole through which I have been supporting a company that openly discriminates against people who look like me. I wear American Apparel men's briefs. Almost exclusively. I probably have about 20 pairs. The picture of me on the About page? I'm wearing a purple acid-washed deep V-neck from American Apparel. I have lots of their deep V-neck shirts, not to mention a pair of suspenders, some dresses that are WAY TOO SMALL and two bowties. Not your demographic? Are you fucking KIDDING me?
The problem, of course, is that our society has grown and changed, evolved, become more diverse and more accepting. Yet fashion — and what it means to be fashionable — has, in some ways, remained stagnant. As the old saying goes, "you can never be too rich or too thin." (An unspoken addendum? Too white.) The idea that thin IS fashionable has become ingrained in our minds. Often there are photographs on sites like The Sartorialist in which women are wearing incredibly simple ensembles — a white shift dress with sandals, or a black T-shirt with jeans — and the only "fashionable" element is how slender and young the subject in the image happens to be. Whether this idea — that to be thin is to be stylish — is a remnant of a more classist era ("good genes," lithe ladies of leisure versus robust peasants, etc.) or just a by-product of our obsession with beauty and distaste for that which, for some, "offends" the eye (fat, for instance) is debatable. But not in question? The fact that companies like American Apparel are willing to turn down hard, cold cash that stylish women like April Flores and Lillian Behrendt (and yes, yours truly) are more than willing to spend. As Behrendt puts it:
I will wear the shit out of your stupid clothes, and so will others like me. Your assumptions that fat people are too poor or stupid or uncultured or uncool to be worthy of shopping at your stores are discriminatory and unfounded. Now give us your ridiculous pants while we're still young enough to want them.
And seriously, if you don't want April Flores as a customer, you're out of your mind.
"Not Our Demographic": American Apparel Denies My Existence [My Unacceptable Body]
Fatty D [April Flores Official Site]
April Flores Shoot (NSFW) [Bizarre Magazine]
April Flores [Facebook]
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