AP Newswire — Neil “Neilochka” Kramer, a popular blogger from Los Angeles, and a well-known advocate for women’s issues (despite him being a red-meat eating hetereosexual), has called for a boycott of many of the top fashion designers and most exclusive boutiques.
“A few days after writing my post on stereotypes against “fat” people, I went shopping for a Mother’s Day gift for my mother-in-law,” said Mr. Kramer.
My mother-in-law is size 18-20, and as usual, it was impossible to find any nice clothes for her. When I got home, I did some Googling on the fashion industry. It immediately became clear to me that most fashion designers and popular boutiques do not want their fashions to be worn by anyone over size 12. Even the popular H&M in New York doesn’t carry any large sizes.
I think there can be a strong argument that these companies are involved in discrimination. These fashion designers and boutiques are involved in an apartheid system, making everyone over size 12 a second-class citizen. I say it is time for the female consumer to take back control. I am going to start keeping a list of every designer and boutique that ignores larger sizes. This list will contain some of biggest names in fashion. I suggest that women refuse to shop in these stores or wear a designer’s clothes until the companies change their discriminatory practices against larger sized women. I know most women are caring and supportive of each other, and will be glad to show support for their heavier friends.”
Some female bloggers were surprisingly unsupportive.
“Not wear Dolce & Gabbana?” asked Joan, a Cleveland mother who writes the blog, “The Daily Fashionista. “Is Neilochka crazy?”
Other female bloggers just quietly dropped him from their blogroll.
There is a long tradition of the billion dollar fashion industry catering to what it considers the “thin” elite. According to the Washington Post, H&M discontinued carrying larger sizes after being publicly scolded by fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld.
“Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld complained publicly that in a much-hyped collaboration, the company had manufactured his line in larger sizes. “What I created was fashion for slim, slender people,” he was quoted as saying.
The designer’s recent book, “The Karl Lagerfeld Diet,” encourages readers to subsist on raw vegetables, curiously named “protein sachets,” and little else — ostensibly with the goal of looking like the emaciated Lagerfeld himself, who pared his 5-foot-11 frame by 80 pounds on the plan.
Lagerfeld’s motivation? Not health, as he freely admits in the book’s introduction, but the desire to fit into designer clothes.
If you’re H&M, [industry analyst] Cohen asked, which is more important to the image of your brand: your association with Karl Lagerfeld or serving this market?”
Mr. Kramer thinks it is attitudes like those of Mr. Lagerfeld that have made this an important issue.
“I really think this boycott idea could work,” insists the defiant Mr. Kramer. “Look what’s going on in Georgia. When women come together, they can be powerful.”
Mr. Kramer refers to the current protest going on at the Augusta National Golf Club, where Bill Payne, the new chair, has stated that he will uphold the all-male club’s practice of denying membership to women.
“It was these women’s organizations that led the 2003 protest against the Masters Golf Tournament, and caused CBS to broadcast the event without corporate sponsorship for two years in a row.”
Currently, these same organizations are trying to raise public awareness of companies who sponsor the Masters or whose CEOs maintain their Augusta memberships, which violates their companies’ anti-discrimination policies.
Mr. Kramer is anxious to speak with these women.
“I am trying to reach members of National Council of Women’s Organizations and the Feminist Majority and tell them about my boycott idea, said Mr. Kramer. “If anyone could get this off the ground, it is these committed women. My argument to them is simple: The NCWO and the Feminist Majority consider male-only golfing as a way of keeping the old boy’s network alive. I believe that a lack of shopping opportunities prevents large women from building important friendships with thin assoicates.”
So far, no one from these women’s organizations has returned Mr. Kramer’s calls.
A spokeswoman from the Feminist Majority, however, told the New York Times that, “Most of our members have strong opinions on the fashion industry. We call for the elimination of all fur products and the abolishment of the sweatshop. But really, when you work hard to look thin, you want to dress nice. Most of our members are not going to shop at Walmart with the fatties.”