Fashion

Lane Bryant, your market is changing #teamfance

30 July, 2010

Let me preface this with a huge disclaimer: I’m Australian and I’ve never shopped at Lane Bryant, however I have bought a couple of Lane Bryant dresses second-hand via the fatshionista community. Through reading fat-o-sphere blogs, I’ve gained a bit of understanding about how LB have catered to a disenfranchised market and how for some people the store has been a gateway to body acceptance. That’s really cool.

Which is why it’s really odd to me to see Lane Bryant coming up to a certain line in the sand (i.e: the word FAT!) and then scurrying away. Most of their market probably still abhors the word, and little wonder given the huge and unjust abuse that fat people have to cop. I get that they might not want to engage in activism for fear of alienating a chunk of their market. But the world is changing, and body acceptance is a transformative thing. In the last few years fat phobia and bigotry has not been put to bed, but more and more people are transmitting the radical and viral notion that FAT IS A DESCRIPTIVE WORD. The internet has been quite the fabulous medium for the new size activism, and the recent explosion in the fat-o-sphere of plus size fashion blogs surely attests to my entirely unscientific observation that fat people are making themselves more visible.

Screenshot of a tweet from Lane Bryant saying "Is this really necessary? We say NO! Share your thoughts!" and a link to my "Does my fat arse look fat in this?" tshirt on Cafe Press.
So, I’m kind of disappointed to wake up to this: a frowny-faced link to my “Does my fat arse look fat in this?” shirt. It demonstrates a failure to understand their market. Yes, I know I said the majority of their market were probably still living in fear of the F word however Lane Bryant are not talking to those people on Twitter. No, on this medium Lane Bryant are talking to tech savvy, social media loving fatties who are likely well acquainted with the fat-o-sphere and size activism online.

How did the market respond? By voicing their strident disagreement and slapping a hashtag on it. Thanks Lauren! Personally, I’m agog that something I did could garner this amount of attention but I’m not surprised that the fat-o-sphere would react this way. The internet has given us a soapbox, dammit, and we will climb on top of it and preach until the damn box breaks under our weight. We’re a smart bunch who use humour to cope with the reality of being a hated, stigmatised, and usually headless group of people. Who else would adopt the “deathfatty” mantle with pride while eating “two whole cakes” and “baby flavoured donuts” while dressing up like “fat satan”?

That’s why the shirt I designed isn’t insulting, it’s empowering. I will stand by that. Lane Bryant, this is how your market is changing and why you really need to pay attention to medium. You might get away with all that “real woman” bullshit in traditional media, but the fatties on the internet have reclaimed the F word and we are spreading the message. (Pass it on!)

You Might Also Like

  • I'm looking forward to seeing whether Lane Bryant come up with any response to the overwhelming response to their tweet.

    GO #TEAMFANCE!!

  • Bravo!

  • I'm weeping with laughter. Actually weeping.
    YOU ARE AMAZING AND HILARIOUS!

  • Kelly

    Yarp. Well done Natalie and all at TEAMFANCE. Hopefully LB will catch on & do better, & soon. If they don't there are plenty of other places for women to spend their money.

  • If you like it then you gotta put a hashtag on it. :)

  • That is so amazing, I'm cry-laughing! <3

  • bri_fatlotofgood

    LB obviously didnt get the memo about the thunder of women from Down Under! Go Nat, Go Team Fance!

  • Definatalie,
    I used your horribly offensive t-shirt design as an image for a fan group on Facebook. If you would like me to remove, just let me know. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Team-Fance-to-Lan

    Peace,
    Shannon

  • Notblueatall

    Yes! Thank you and thank you!!! I was quite upset about this yesterday and shot them a msg. back. No response of course, but I want everyone to know that corporations have no place in the indie scene.

  • Pingback: Lane Bryant Debacle Response, and Fatshion Suggestions « Big Liberty()

  • Pingback: An OOTD experiment, including some amazing sunglasses | definatalie.com()

  • Looks like they've issued an apology:

    http://insidecurve.lanebryant.com/buzz/we-made-

  • I think there's also some cultural humour-clash happening – I know some of my Malaysian friends have trouble parsing Aussie snark and self-deprecating class-breaking humour because they find it mean or take the sentiment really sincerely.

    Hopefully this leads to tons of sales for you :)

  • eemvee

    Have you ever read the comments on the Lane Bryant FB page? It's obvious that a large portion of their customers hate themselves for being fat. I don't know how many threads I've seen on there talking about how disgusting–disgusting!!–it is for fat women to wear leggings, or short dresses, or whatever these fat women decide that other fat women shouldn't be wearing on any given day. I like LB's clothes, and I shop there (when I have coupons and there are sales…hello, overpriced). So it's sad to see that “they” (whomever runs their Twitter account) obviously feels the same way as their customers: that we should all really be ashamed of being fat.

  • Pingback: “Does my fat arse look fat in this?” – About Curves Curvy Angle()

  • Pingback: What’s up with Lane Bryant? | Return to Sender: A Fat Girl's Letters to the World()

  • Pingback: #teamfance is the best team | definatalie.com()

  • Sam

    I was in LB in New York last summer and overheard a conversation by a beautiful black woman about 23 years old and her high school teacher:

    Teacher: (Name), who was that man you were just talkin’ to? (some white guy who was trolling LB for numbers, or so it seemed.)
    Girl: Oh, Miss, he was just askin’ for my number so he could take me out.
    Teacher: Are you really going to go out with him?
    Girl: Well, Miss, that depends on how hungry I am when he calls.

    I laughed out loud. Wonderful stuff.