In the latest row over ‘Fat Tax’ – which is when retailers charge more for their plus size items – high street store New Look has come under fire, and with good reason.
One eagle-eyed shopper spotted that the high street stalwart was charging more for a pair of trousers in its Curves range, while an identical pair in its standard collection came in at £3 cheaper. Maria Wassell, a retail supervisor from Kent, noticed the discrepancy and told The Sun that she was “absolutely disgusted” by the difference, adding: “It’s like I’m being discriminated against for being plus size when I’m only slightly bigger than average.”
“The average size for a British woman is now a size 16… Plus size purchases are on the increase. If you look at the statistics, there’s more money being spent on plus size clothing now then there was even three years ago.”
“Some retailers have claimed that plus size clothes need more fabric and that’s why it costs more. That’s basically rubbish. I used to work for a plus size brand so I do understand a lot about how it works.”
But it turns out that not many people are on her side, as shocking tweets like this show…
Fat women are complaining about a “fat tax” forcing them to pay extra for their clothes because they’re a larger size. Surely if you can afford all that extra food, you can afford a few quid more for your clothes?https://t.co/lXMfdDlQv4
— Julia Hartley-Brewer (@JuliaHB1) May 15, 2018
Don’t get why people are offended by New Look’s “Fat Tax”? If you’re of a larger size your clothes need more material which means more cost? If you’re size 20 don’t expect to pay the same price as someone who is size 8?
— c-j 👑 (@___courtneyxx) May 16, 2018
The new look fat tax thing is ridiculous. If you're fat your clothes will obviously cost more to make. Stop crying and get in the gym
— El profesor (@MisterMUFC) May 15, 2018
Wow. Just wow.
Justifying bigger clothes sizes
While plus size clothing may use more fabric than a smaller sizes, the argument that ‘the clothes are bigger therefore use more fabric, therefore should cost more’ is pretty redundant. If that were the reasoning, then surely the consumer should be charged more for a size 12 than a size 8? Or pay extra for an item from its Tall range and less for something from its Petite collection?
Another tweeter also highlighted a great point, showing that amount of fabric simply cannot be the reason certain items cost more, as New Look is also charging the same price for denim shorts as it is for full-length jeans.
New Look attempting to fat shame women by introducing an arbitrary fat tax on their "curves and plus" range is scandalous & contributes to an unhealthy discourse on body image. If the issue was additional fabric cost, then why do @newlook charge the same price for these products? pic.twitter.com/2WbSb93e1V
— Rory Stride (@rmstride) May 15, 2018
While the trousers that sparked the debate may have only been £3 different in price, another tweeter found a jacket that was a whole £25 more expensive in its Curves range, at nearly double the price of its ‘standard’ sized original. NOT OK.
*closes new look app forever* pic.twitter.com/LwtZnDqupN
— saz (@sazamophone) November 1, 2017
New Look responded to Maria’s complaint, saying that “some products appear similar but may be slightly different”, adding that they are in the process of reviewing the pricing structure of its plus size collection.
The drama comes at a time when the retailer is closing 60 of its 393 shops in the UK, cutting 1,000 jobs as a result as part of a wider restructuring plan.