Plus-size mannequins?

Nike introduces plus-size mannequins in its flagship store

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Should plus-size mannequins be used in shops?

By Daniel J. McLaughlin

Nike's flagship store in London is now using plus-size mannequins to display their sportswear.

The move has welcomed by some who argue it has been a "long time coming".

However, critics warn that the "fat-acceptance movement" is selling women a lie.

The Claim

Jade Hayden says that the plus-size mannequins would "have made a massive difference when I was growing up". Writing for Her, she argues that they have been "a long time coming".

She says that more representation and diversity around size are important.

She writes: "[The campaigns are] representative of groups that have long been forgotten by the fashion and beauty industry, and maybe more importantly, they're real."

Hayden argues that being exposed to a variety of body types from a young age has a positive effect.

She explains: "I don't doubt that the likes of Nike's plus-size mannequins would have made me feel far more comfortable in my own skin growing up.

"They would have made a massive difference to my self-confidence, my sense of self-worth, and my fears about not being anywhere close to the skinniest girl in school."

The Counterclaim

However, the Telegraph's Tanya Gold argues that the 'obese' mannequins are "selling women a dangerous lie".

She writes: "I fear that the war on obesity is lost, or has even, as is fashionable, ceased to exist, for fear of upsetting people into an early grave."

Gold notes that the Nike mannequins are not size 12, which is a healthy weight, or even a 16 - which is "a hefty weight, yes, but not one to kill a woman". She describes them as "immense, gargantuan, vast" - and it "heaves with fat".

She argues: "The fat-acceptance movement, which says that any weight is healthy if it is yours, is no friend to women, even if it does seem to have found a friend in Nike.

"It may, instead, kill them, and that is rather worse than feeling sad."

She says that Nike can be "as accepting as it wishes of the obese female". However, Gold argues that "your own body will not be so accommodating of your delusions".

She adds that the obese Nike athlete is just another lie.

The Facts

Nike first debuted a plus-size range in 2017, which offers customers sizes up to 3X. They are not the only company to offer more clothing at bigger sizes, as the plus-size market grows.

In 2017, the plus-size market was worth approximately £6.6 billion in the UK - with £4.7 billion coming from female plus-size clothing, according to a PwC report.

It has also been outperforming the overall womenswear and menswear clothing market in the UK. The plus-size market grew by 3.3 per cent over the course of five years - compared to the men’s and women’s clothing sector, which grew just 2.4 per cent in the same time frame.

A third of UK women class size 18 and above as plus size, while one in four believe that a size 16 is where plus size starts.

There is, however, no agreed starting point for plus size clothing on the high street. The Mirror notes that retailers who do offer a plus size collection have a starting size range from anything from a 14 up to a size 20.

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