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New look to review prices after ‘fat tax’ controversy

REVIEW: 'Fat tax'

THE POPULAR high street fashion chain New Look is reviewing its prices after it was criticised for pricing larger-sized clothing higher than smaller sizes.

For plus-size women in the UK, stores on the high street that stock the right sizes are far and few between. New Look had been one of them, but after a shopper noticed that trousers in its Curves range cost 15% more than the same pair in the main collection, the store faced an outcry.

Discrepancies in pricing

This issue has divided opinion over whether or not using more material should lead to higher prices. While some have said it seems perfectly reasonable to charge more for a larger garment, others have labelled it as ‘fat tax’.

Plus-size model Nyome Nicholas-Williams explained that she felt higher prices was discriminatory. On BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show, she said: “Some people don’t choose to be the size they are – or height. If you have to pay extra money [for clothes] subliminally, it feels like you are being told you have to lose weight.”

On the other hand, the plus-size fashion designer Anna Scholz told that same programme that there was often a limit placed on the size range that could be produced for the same price. This is due to the simple fact that it can take twice as much fabric to make the same garment in a larger size.

Where’s the loyalty to plus-size women?

As with many debates regarding plus-size fashion, two main areas of concern are once again raised. Exactly how much strain do plus sizes place on businesses, and how much strain are plus-size people putting on themselves? The phrase “more mass = more material = more money” has been brought up yet the fact that New Look doesn’t charge any extra for its Tall range, or any less for its Petite range.

Tam Fry, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, believes that paying extra for clothes will give women an incentive to lose weight. Understandably, this view was not met kindly.

Fry defended presenter Lizzie Cundy last year when she claimed that plus-size women should pay more for clothes, but those who are bigger for medical reasons should be entitled to discounts, showing prescriptions to prove that the reason for their weight isn’t just because of too much cake.

Cundy’s baffling idea only proves that being charged extra for being bigger will stand as no incentive to lose weight. Rather, it’s an obstacle that needs to be dealt with both by high street retailers such as New Look and further up in the fashion industry.

The plus-size industry is growing, with sites such as Ashleigh Plus Size offering clothes that are both on trend and on size, without the price hike.

New Look said in a statement: “We are in the process of reviewing the pricing structure of our Plus Size collection in a way which works best for our customers and our business. We are proud of the ranges we offer to our Plus Size customers and value all customers, no matter what their body shape or size.”

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