I don’t usually post about fashion news, as it is often covered elsewhere (and better!) but this announcement got me thinking. I found it from Lauren’s fabulous blog, Pocket Rocket Fashion, who did a more positive spin – go check it out!
H&M recently announced their new collection, out in March 2011 – “Inclusive”, a one time collection that spans from (roughly) size 6-
2024 US filled with lovely pieces.
Here is their press release:
This spring H&M presents Inclusive – a one-off collection of colourful and feminine fashion with lots of attitude in a wider than usual range of sizes. The twenty pieces will be available in sizes 32-54 and will be sold exclusively through H&M Online from early March. The collection includes figure-flattering party dresses in 50’s styles with large polka dots and rose patterns, as well as skirts, tops, cardigans and lingerie following the same theme.
When it comes to down to it “Inclusive” is anything but. The use of the word “Inclusive” as the collections title really rubs me the wrong way. Don’t get me wrong – some of the clothes are fabulous but (for me) it is a joke, instead highlighting what is excluded.
A few things to consider:
There is a precedent set. H&M already offers a plus range online (or at least not in US stores) – BiB or “Big is Beautiful” (questionable naming, again) that is available up to a size UK 32 (US 28). I’m curious why they didn’t continue that size range with this collection. Euro sizes 32-54 roughly convert to a US size 6-
2024. Honestly, I don’t do much shopping in straight sizes but many seem to offer up to a straight size 16/18/20 in stores. H&M has demonstrated the ability to produce an extended size range – why not continue that to be truly inclusive?
The lack of international shipping. I can find an H&M store in most major cities in the San Francisco Bay Area. None of them carry the plus line, which I believe is not in US stores – but I could be wrong. The plus line is available online but H&M doesn’t ship to the US, Canada, etc. Yes, this is an online collection – so straight or plus, if you want to get your hands on these pieces… you better make friends abroad!
Personally, I see the capsule collections and smaller size ranges as breadcrumbs. A way to test the waters, if you will. Which is perfectly fine, if not necessary, because these ARE businesses.
A good example is ASOS Curve, size UK 20-26 or US 16-22. The first season was extremely successful. They created a lot of buzz and they are still going strong. Yet with this success, the range is still very limited compared to the straight size collections they offer and they have not extended sizing, despite the demand.
This collection is particularly insulting because it is titled “Inclusive”. Honestly, if it was named anything else I wouldn’t be writing this. Am I putting too much stock in the name of their collection? Possibly, but it is arrogant and rude to proclaim this era of inclusivity when they are far from it.
Some of pieces look fantastic. I love the fabrics, details and 50′s silhouettes. The party dress? I want it. But I refuse to praise H&M for being “inclusive” when they truly aren’t. To praise them for moving forward when they are actually moving backward. So far, the only thing they are doing differently is producing an entire collection in from straight to (limited) plus size. Instead of selecting a few, plain, figure flattering pieces to produce for plus sizes.
Part of me is just tired of seeing companies do things halfway intentionally. An illusion of progress. But we’re left here to hope and wait that one day, some company will take the chance.
Breadcrumbs – they keep you from starving but always waiting for more!
Edit: Ariel pointed out in the comments that H&M’s 54 is more like a US 24, so I edited the post to reflect that. Thank you! Funny (okay, maybe stupid) that I researched size conversions but never looked at their size chart that had all my answers!