IvyPark: Tried and Tested. What do the Critics Say?

by Tatiana Louis

So I love Beyoncé, but homegirl really messed up when she was thinking about the size range for her collection Adidas x IvyPark. 

Adidas released the IvyPark Collection on January 18th, 2020 and to all of our surprises, the size range was everything but inclusive, which is what Beyoncé really hoped to promote with her clothing. She even said in a press release, “From the accessories to the clothes and footwear, I wanted to design and re-imagine pieces that serve as favorite armor for anyone who acknowledges the strength in their individual style and lives freely and boldly.” Little did we know that she meant living freely and boldly for sizes XS-XL. 

First I thought, “Maybe Adidas is the one that messed up” and I scrolled down their website only to find plus sizes from 1X-4X. So where was the disconnect? How did Adidas x IvyPark not have the range we all needed it to have? 

To find out more, I turned to Twitter to see what folks had to say and it’s no surprise that people are pissed:

                                           

“Big girls deserve more than only being able to rock a hat, socks and shoes when you dropped an entire damn clothing line. And we deserve more than having to wait to be included in the next release phase that never comes. Do better, Bey. Shit. Just do damn better.” (@CandiceBenbow)

                                           

“She said weighing like 175 pounds was “every woman’s worst nightmare” and recklessly helped promote a starvation diet within the last year or so. I’ve been good since that time, so this is not surprising or shocking but it’s still disappointing. I’m glad people are speaking on it” (@TheDeLaDoll)

                                            

“Most ppl will combat this.. but Thank You for calling this exclusion. When it doesn’t affect you you’re less likely to recognize the issue. The more we bring attention and awareness to this problem the more intentional other celebrities and Beyoncé will be in future projects.” (@boooooojee)

There were so many more tweets about the exclusive size range, but these were the ones that hit me the most, especially the second tweet. In an advertisement for a 22-day diet, Beyoncé says, “every woman’s worst nightmare” as she steps onto a scale. I don’t know about you all, but there seems to be a lot more that us femmes can worry about. Although she may be exaggerating, it is still hard to to condone with a platform as big as hers while simultaneously commending her slim-thick body. Simply put, Is Beyoncé’s exclusivity fatphobic? We want to hope not, but she has said fatphobic things, whether intentionally or not.

Going back to Adidas x IvyPark, if Beyoncé really wanted this collection to have plus sizes, who is Adidas to tell her no. She is Queen Bey. And if they did say no, she should have taken her business somewhere else to create an all-inclusive selection. When Beyoncé became the first black woman to headline Coachella, she spoke about it being important to not compromise her values of inclusivity for anyone. Why couldn’t Bey apply that same pressure to Adidas? It is possible that Beyoncé intentionally left out plus-sizes from her gender neutral collection because it wasn’t the inclusivity she had in mind. 

However, there are others who have supported Beyoncé in not including plus sizes, invalidating the experience of plus-sized femmes such as this tweet: 

                                          

“I’m sorry… this is an athletics line what woman do you know who’s over a size 18 who takes exercising seriously. Don’t expect adidas to pay out more for fabric for customers who’ll only use them for an instagram post.” (@ArumGrace)

To some, this is obviously bs. But some of y’all still think this way. To be clear, there are so many issues with this tweet. For one, Adidas x IvyPark is an athleisure line—you do not only have to workout in these clothes, but you can wear them out as well. Even if it is simply for an Instagram post. There are celebrities who have only worn the collection for an Instagram post. But even celebrity culture is a bit damaging. For example, the only celebrities we see Beyoncé send her collection to are relatively slim people. Where’s Lizzo’s grandiose package? Why did she only get an orange trunk? It just shows who Beyoncé is catering her collection to and it shouldn’t be the case. One may be comparing themselves to how a celebrity wears the clothes and might think that they cannot rock them like the celebrity can. This mindset is self-damaging.

Secondly, I know many femmes over a size 18 that enjoy working out. See Lizzo’s IG. Also, we don’t even need Lizzo to prove anything to us because we see her singing, dancing and playing the flute year round on tour for 2 hours a night! It’s frustrating that sometimes people forget that exercising does not and should not only come with the goal to lose weight. Exercising can be a coping mechanism for stress, a way to stay active, and a means to keep the body healthy and prevent disease and illness. Just because someone is “fat” to you, does not mean that they are not healthy. And a lot of people fail to realize this. Especially fatphobes.  

Lastly, It is consistently clear that Adidas (and Beyonce) do not care which people are buying the clothes. They don’t care if someone is only using it for pictures on Instagram, working out in them or leaving them in the drawer to not be worn.  That money is still going into their pocket. They’re in it for the money!!!

And it shouldn’t be about the money. It should be about creating clothes with a purpose to make everyone feel amazing, comfortable and in their element. Not having clothes for plus-sized folk excludes them from feeling powerful in their own skin. It should also be a human right, a basic, bare minimum standard for people to have clothes that they like. For folks to be able to part take in pop culture. In the age of social media, it can be really frustrating for folks to consistently look forward to the launch of their fave’s clothing lines, only to find out they’re not made in their size. The average woman is a size 16, which means the average woman probably couldn’t fit Ivy Park. People start to think, “There has to be something wrong with my body if there aren’t any clothes to fit it.” This is extremely harmful because this is not the case!! Just because one’s body does not fit the eurocentric beauty standards that permeate our time does not mean that they are not beautiful or healthy, and this is a big misconception that I want to continue to address. It’s time for designers to create collections with sizes inclusive for plus-sized femmes not in a second release or a third release, but in the pre-sale. And come on Beyoncé, you could have done better.    

the unplug collective

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