Thursday, December 9, 2010

Former Gucci Designer Tom Ford On Fat Women and Clothing

Melissa from Shakesville, would probably have called this post, Today in Fat Hatred.  It seems that Tom Ford, the former designer for Gucci, recently had something significant to say about fat women and clothing.
He said: "I spend most of my time at home naked. You know, most people actually look better nude. We are all one harmonious colour, with a symmetry and an innate elegance. Fat women almost always look better without the constraint and lumpy pinching of clothes, all the straps and elastic squeezing and sucking. (emphasis mine) "We are the only animal that wears clothes, and that can't just be because dogs can't do up buttons."
While he believes most people look better naked, Tom - who recently released his first womenswear collection in six years - says he wants his clothes to be flattering and timeless.(source)
So, what he is really saying, is that he does not want fat women wearing his clothes.  It seems that the reason certain clothing does not look nice, is because of  a failure of fat women to have size appropriate bodies and certainly not that of a designer, who never bothered to learn how to design for fat women.   Even though Tom Ford is an ass for being so direct in his obvious biases and hatred, many designers simply reify his statements by not creating clothes for fat women.  Many fashions don't even go up to a size 16, let alone a 20-30.  It's as though because of the very nature of being fat, we don't deserve  clothing to wear.

Much of the clothing designed for plus size women is cheaply made.  If you are looking for ugly polyester pants, with a terrible elastic waist,  head straight for the plus size section. Quite often, the fabrics are incredibly cheap and the production of the clothing itself is cheap.  It as though we are held hostage by an industry determined to make us feel ugly and unwanted. Even though there is clearly a demand for clothing in larger sizes, designers and clothing store refuse to capitulate. Even popular stores that carry the occasional plus size option, often only carry them in their catalogs, or online.  That's right, they don't want our fat asses to cross the threshold of their beloved sizeist clothing stores.  What is this, but another indication that fat women should stay sequestered in their homes?

I think part of what frustrates me the most, is because they don't cater to fat women, we cannot even boycott their clothing. The very nature of sizeism means that while some might be initially horrified by his statements, when they need a new dress to wear, they will still purchase his items.  When one is not personally attacked by an ism, the harm is not personalized and therefore, is easily forgettable.  Language that props up, or somehow supports an ism, is often rewarded and encouraged, and so Ford will not receive social censure for his statements.  Even as he empowers an elite section of society, he harms others and this is the basis of hierarchy.  When I talk about how unhealthy a hierarchy of bodies is, it is statements like that made that Tom Ford that I specifically speaking about. When we seek to be better than others, rather than equal, we harm marginalized groups and that is something that everyone should think about every time we learn about an incident in which one group is essentially shamed to promote an undeserved privilege and or elite status.