Meet the Woman Calling for the Fashion Industry to Ditch the Size Large

No matter your size or body type, there’s a chance that at some point in your life you’ve been surprised by what a clothing label has told you. Perhaps you’re a regular size 10 but in specific stores you’ve snugly fit into a size 12 (even though you haven’t put on any weight) or maybe the opposite is true and you’ve gone down sizesdepending on where you shop.

The fact that there is no universal size chart is incredibly frustrating for many people (especially in an era where online shopping is the new normal), but what’s perhaps more concerning is how those words on the clothing tag make you feel.

Meet Rhiannon Duke, Founder of Duke the Label who is calling for change when it comes to size labelling in the fashion industry. Here, Rhiannon details why she thinks the word ‘large’ needs to be removed from size charts.

Firstly, tell us how this idea came about?

I got a call one day from my sister who was in tears in a shopping centre. She had just had her second baby and was turned away from a store by a staff member who explained that the garment she was trying on was “the biggest size available”.

The size she was trying on was an Australian size 14. This was shocking to me because size 14 is considered average size of an Australian woman. I couldn’t believe that a store didn’t stock clothing for an average sized woman (let alone women who might be curvier than that).

The whole experience was obviously distressing for my sister and in turn really upset me. Feeling this way was what sparked me to make a change, so I started my brand Duke the Label. The idea behind the brand was always to create something that would be empowering for women and allow them to feel good about themselves. I wanted to make it size inclusive and avoid any negative connotations when it comes to size labelling.

What do you think size inclusive should mean?

In short, offering a wide array of sizesthat actually fit – we stock from Australian size 6 through to size 24. I believe women’s bodies shouldn’t have to fit into society’s preconceived notions of what a ‘normal physique’ is, nor should a description found on a clothing tag size-shame a person. I’d love to one day see a universal size chart that uses appropriate language and appropriate sizing that actually fits men and women, and represents all sizes.

Talk to us about why you think the fashion industry needs to ditch the word ‘large’ from size charts?

Unfortunately, many women (and men) experience size discrimination, where they are prejudged by their size. This obviously has an extreme emotional impact and I do think the fashion industry needs to catch up by removing words like ‘large’ that can feel like body shaming or size shaming.

I think for some people the word ‘large’ can feel a little derogatory (especially when many brands call a size 14 ‘large’) and it feeds into casual shaming of women’s bodies. Unfortunately, body shaming like this is stitched into the fabric of our culture and everyday lives that people don’t often recognise when they are perpetuating fatphobia or discriminating against someone because of their size. 

For our brand Duke the Label, we have completely removed the word largefrom our size chart and in its place you will find sizes ranging from Small to Extra Extra Extra Curvy, because we believe this is a better representation of Australian women’s bodies. We are ultimately trying to reimage sizing and rid the labelling of women as ‘large’.

Our modified size guide allows women of all shapes and sizes to feel empowered, beautiful, feminine, and confident.

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