RIP Fashion Bug
The title of my blog post is not a hoax — Fashion Bug will permanently close sometime in 2013. I was shopping at the store today with my mom and during a chat with the clerk who rang us up, we were informed of the bad news. All its stores and its website will cease to exist by the end of next year.
The reason behind this decision was not because the store was losing money, as it was actually making a profit in some locations. No, the simple decision to get rid of Fashion Bug, one of the largest sellers of plus-size clothing, was strictly an aesthetic one.
Charming Shoppes, the company that owns Fashion Bug and the other major plus-size clothing retailers (Lane Bryant, Lane Bryant Outlet and Catherine’s) was bought out by another company called Ascena Retail Group, who also own Maurice’s, a store that carries more trendier fat fashion (think of it as Torrid Lite), and Dress Barn, another mainstream fatshion store.
Apparently, Fashion Bug wasn’t trendy or contemporary enough for Ascena, so it was the one that had to go, since Fashion Bug was being compared to big-box chains such as Kohl’s and Wal-Mart, which Ascena believes are now the go-to places for customers looking for larger sizes at cheaper prices.
The problem is, not all big-box stores are the same when it comes to their plus-size departments. Their attention and care toward big women looking for fashion can be less than desirable compared to fellow, thinner female consumers. While smaller women usually get what’s in season now with lots of options, us fatties are lucky if we find something that doesn’t include t-shirts with rude sayings spouted by Disney characters, ill-fitting stretch pants, and anything that doesn’t have a) sequins, b) ruffles, or c) both at the same time.
The disappearance of Fashion Bug is just rubbing more salt into the wound that is the lack of affordable and stylish plus-size clothing. I understand that FB wasn’t for everyone, but it was one of the few places where you could find tops for under $30, jeans and pants for under $40, and sizes that went to a 4X (rare for a brick and mortar retailer).
Now most of us who weren’t completely sized out of purchasing clothes without the use of a computer will be forced to head back almost exclusively to online or mail-order catalogs and television shopping channels. There, prices can be even higher and you’re constantly gambling to see if what you buy will actually fit without having to pay to return it.
I realize losing one clothing store shouldn’t be such a big deal, but it actually is, considering how many clothing companies either refuse to design for fat people or offer very limited, sub-par items. Yes, clothing is a privilege, but it’s a privilege that everyone should be able to enjoy, whether you’re a size 8 or a size 8X.