What (gaping) waist? H&M introduces new Curvy Fit denims made with South African women in mind

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H&M Curvy Fit denim campaign. Styled by Bee Diamondhead and photographed by Tatenda Chidora. Image supplied by H&M South Africa
H&M Curvy Fit denim campaign. Styled by Bee Diamondhead and photographed by Tatenda Chidora. Image supplied by H&M South Africa
  • Size exclusion, which often plays out in the form of fat tax, continues to be one of fashion's biggest flaws not just in South Africa, but globally too. 
  • In a bid to be more inclusive to local women, H&M now introduces the Curvy Fit Denim, which launched in all South African stores on 8 October 2020. 
  • This comes after Ackermans extended their size range to include up to size 50 last month. We also give you nine more fashion retailers including Asos, Donna and Miss Moneypenny that offer sizes over 42 in a selection of styles that are en vogue too. 

Fashion isn't fun for everyone. Shopping isn't fun for everyone. As an industry that has for years, beat its chest about its exclusivity, fashion found itself excluding many. It is only recently - in our collective buzz of consciousness and self-empowerment - that fashion's legacy of exclusion is being gradually corrected. 

However, to this day, there are still several stores and boutiques that leave many women feeling like an afterthought to the fashion industry due to the lack of size options beyond a Large or a 42. In some cases, the Large realistically fits a person who is no bigger than a 34. 

More disappointing for plus size and curvy women, is the fact that when retailers do offer their sizes, the styles available do little to no justice to the word, essentially adding to the 'mommyfication' of fat women. And then add fat tax (rise per size) to that. 

In a 2018 W24 article, Marisa Crous spoke to Lesego 'Thickleeyonce' Legobane, who co-owns LeeBex Fashion, about debunking the myth that "fat girls can't and shouldn't wear tight clothes". 

In this article, Thickleeyonce revealed that one of the reasons that birthed LeeBex was the fact that most plus size brands make clothes that are too sophisticated, mature and modest. "LeeBex does the opposite - the brand is about making fashionable, trendy outfits for big girls," said Thickleeyonce.

Fashion’s struggle with inclusivity has spanned decades. For far too long, women who didn’t fit into sample clothing sizes have had difficulty walking into a store and leaving with something they can wear. 

READ MORE: The #MakeMySize movement calls out fashion brands for not making cute plus-size clothing  

H&M South Africa now adds to the list of retailers offering ranges that make practical sense for the South African woman's body. We've long complained about jeans that gape at the waist - well, H&M is introducing a new product to its denim range this October, the Curvy Fit Denim, which launched in all South African stores on 8 October 2020. 

The campaign, produced locally, features three South African women who embrace their bodies and reflect an authentic representation of women around the world; singer, songwriter and performer Zoë Modiga, digital creator Le'Chelle Aldridge, and MC and digital creator Nandipha Mqoco.  

H&M curvy fit denim
Image supplied by H&M South Africa 

Designed with less gaping at the waist, and more room through the hip and thigh regions, the Curvy Fit denim range is seemingly created with the South African woman's figure and wallet in mind (the range costs between R249 and 629). Offered in seven different shades, the partially eco-friendly Curvy Fit Denims are available in EU sizes 34 to 46, and three different styles, namely; super-skinny high waist, push-up jeggings regular waist fit, and a straight-cut high waist. 

Ever since European retailers entered our malls, their vanity sizing has been the root of much personal body image misgivings. Could this be one of the first corrective measures then? 

READ MORE: Vanity sizing unmasked - why clothing sizes from different retailers are so inconsistent  

According to H&M South Africa's Country Manager, Caroline Nelson, it seems so, as she reveals that "[H&M] customers required a denim product that is more accessible for a diverse range of body shapes." 

The Swedish retailer also reveals that it aims to provide an inclusive product offering in all their concepts, as well as a wider range of sizes by increasing size curves as of early 2021.

Also in an ongoing bid to be more inclusive to all the women of South Africa is Ackermans which extended its sizing across all women’s product lines to offer up to size 50 this September, making it one of the few value retailers in the country to do so. 

Womenswear Buying Manager at Ackermans, Donna McPherson, said; "We are now offering a wider range of sizes in all outerwear and sleepwear lines with more fashionable and affordable options for women.”   

“South African women come in all shapes and sizes, which is something to be celebrated. This expansion will allow us to provide more choice to customers, in line with our promise to continuously strive to add value to their lives,” she adds.

The extended product lines include basic tees, fashion tops, dresses, denim, skirts and sleepwear. 

ASOS Plus-Size

Plus sizes available: up to 48

LeeBex

Plus-size fashion from 34 to 58. 

Donna

Sizes available: 38 - 56

Superbalist Plus Size

Size available: Selected brands offer up to 54 

Woolworths Classic Collection

Sizes available: up to 48

Pick n Pay Clothing

Sizes available: up to XXXL 

Miss Moneypenny Clothing 

Plus-size fashion made in SA. 

Miladys 

Sizes available: up to size 50

Plus-Fab 

Plus-size fashion you can shop at The Space and on Zando.  

Additional information provided by H&M and 99c PR

What other plus size fashion outlets do you love? Share them with us here.

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