The student newspaper of Vernon Hills High School

The Scratching Post

The student newspaper of Vernon Hills High School

The Scratching Post

The student newspaper of Vernon Hills High School

The Scratching Post

One size fits all: Companies should work towards more inclusivity in the fashion industry


As a teenager heavily influenced by pop culture, I’d like to think that I have a unique sense of fashion. I’m aware of what looks good on me and what doesn’t. I’m aware of what’s socially accepted as pretty or stylish. However, the one place I always find myself questioning my size and looks are when I have to actually buy a piece of clothing.

Growing up, the clothes I wore were the least of my worries. I never cared if a shirt or a pair of pants was stylish enough, nor if a certain part of my body would stick out. All the clothes I wore would fit me in a way that let me be myself. 

Ellie Wold (11) shared her experiences with body image growing up.

“I was always told to ‘cover up’ and [not] wear clothes that match who I am. Society as a whole should improve how they look at other people. Many bigger people are told to hide themselves, but you need to put yourself out there,” Wold shared.

Most of the time, I’d buy clothes that were the most convenient, affordable and comfortable, which at the time seemed like the easiest way to style myself whenever I was out in public. As I grew older, I gained the independence of choosing what clothes I wanted to wear.

Eventually, I grew tired of putting on my Nike t-shirt and Adidas sweats every single day. I started subconsciously monitoring the way my body looked in public, and I started seeing more separation between the skinny, fit models I was seeing in retail stores and myself. 

I started putting more weight on my body, and my insecurities spoke greater volume than ever before. I felt the pressure of having to carry my skin around with hopes that if I walked in public at the right pace in the right position that my stretch marks, my breasts, or my chin wouldn’t stick out.     

This mindset only changed me into a people pleaser, and nothing I did helped, especially when all I saw while trying to find clothes accommodating my size were skinny, fit models who wore the item. The fact that I wasn’t under the umbrella of being socially accepted as ‘skinny’ infuriated me and distanced me even more from feeling like myself in my own skin.

Gil Liandisha (9) offered his perspective on the fashion industry.

“When I was younger, I cared less about what I was wearing. I do like my fashion sense more [now] than when I was younger,” Liandisha said. “Especially in advertisements, I only see white, female skinny models. It’d be nice to see more men and people of color being included.”

I felt similarly to him when he discussed the lack of representation in the clothing industry. I always had to walk to the back of any clothing store to look for any article of clothing that may, in the slightest, fit my body type. Not only this, but anything I did find wasn’t a true alignment with my style and my personality.

Anytime I found a shirt or a pair of pants that fell between a certain range of my size, it was like a breath of fresh air. 

Eventually, I started to wonder what that feeling was called — the feeling of finally seeing a piece of myself represented in an article of clothing. An article of clothing that actually reflected my size, aligned with my style, and made me feel euphoric enough to comfortably wear it out in public.

My epiphany came when I began spending more time on social media. On apps like Instagram, I would only post photos that painted a false image of myself. Moreover, I altered different parts of each picture, including my body, my face, and the color of the image.

I was so fixated on creating a fake version of myself on the internet that I didn’t stop for a moment to question whether this was for the good of myself or others. My life, up until very recently, has been me conforming to the cultural norms of society and only created more sameness between myself and the people around me.

With this in mind, I was able to go out in public with a fresh perspective on fashion. Rather than spending my time wallowing in the person I could’ve been, I let my body be the driver of what I wore and how I expressed myself.

It’s been widely recognized from many retail brands across the globe that the level of inclusivity within the fashion industry has increased over the years, including the promotion of body positivity. 

Amanda Rakers (12), owner of small business ReworksByMandy, shared how she accommodates all sizes in her brand.

“Brands [are] including more body types and sizes—When I post pictures for my brand I use different body types, both female and male, from small to 3XL and promote different people,” Rakers said.

Jan Sancho, a career and technical education teacher, noted the progress the fashion industry has made over the years.

“We are progressing in the right [direction] because [companies] are promoting more body positivity and inclusive clothing,” Sancho said.

Sancho also added that many brands do have the aspect of size inclusion expressed a great amount, but noted that larger sized items cost more than smaller sizes, and brands often limit plus-size consumers to a smaller variety of colors compared to other body types.

Despite the negativity I’ve dealt with over the years, I’ve recognized that major progress has been made towards more inclusivity in the fashion industry. More plus-size models, both male and female, have been recognized across multiple brands and created a more accepting community.

Overall, I believe that there’s still a long way to go until we reach a level of equality between all sizes. The one thing I encourage all retail clothing brands to do is focus their attention toward reaching a broader audience in order to improve inclusivity for all body types.