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Athleta Couldn’t Find a Plus-Size Model Anywhere

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Athleta, the fitness apparel brand owned by Gap Inc., has a pretty decent selection of plus-size clothing on its website. But you know what it doesn’t have? Any real plus-size models.

Here is the page dedicated to plus-size sale products; it only shows straight-size models. This dress, for example, is available in a size 1X and 2X, but is only photographed on a model wearing a size medium. (The same goes for full-price merchandise as well.)

Athleta’s plus size sale section

So many brands only shoot their products on one model, even if they have a full size range, and usually on someone who’s somewhere between a size 2 and 4. But Athleta boasts a designated section for plus and even allows you to sort by size with plus as an option. What you’re left with is several pages of all “plus-size” merchandise and zero models over a size 2.

Athleta’s new arrivals page, sorted to only show clothing available in plus sizes
Athleta’s new arrivals page, sorted to only show clothing available in plus sizes

Athleta explains that its plus section is for women “larger than XL,” and adds that the plus clothing is “created with the same proportions as our regular size range, only larger,” which is part of the larger problem with plus-size clothing. Just because you go up a size doesn’t mean your legs are twice as long or your shoulder starts at your elbow. Which is probably a rant for another day.

Update: July 12th, 2017, 2:58 p.m.

Athleta has given the following comment to “This is a place where we can do better. The positive portrayal of women in the media is very important to us. We celebrate women of all body shapes, sizes, ethnicities, and ages across our stores, website, campaigns, and social media channels. The Power of She campaign is what we really stand for. It’s really important for us to acknowledge the strength, health, and beauty all women have. This is something we’ve been looking at and working fervently to solve.”