The Way the Strawberry Dress is unveiling fatphobia in the fashion industry


Illustration is by Maryrose Ceccarelli

The fashion industry has a long history with fatphobia and although the industry is better than it used to be, it still has a long way to go. Luxury brands are starting to become more inclusive with plus size clothing options. There are more plus size models on the cover of magazines and ad campaigns. Yet, there are still instances of fatphobia in the fashion industry that just seem normal to us because of the extensive history of fatphobia that the fashion industry supports. Plus-sized models have a hard time making it big in the industry and when they do they face a lot of scrutiny. 

Tess Holliday is an Instagram influencer, plus-sized model, and blogger based in LA and has made a career of empowering plus size women like herself. Recently, Holliday experienced fatphobia based around the popular strawberry “TikTok” dress. A nationwide obsession sparked around the strawberry dress $490 midi dress designed by Lirika Matoshi. It is a very unique dress, with shin-length pink tulle and embroidered sparkly strawberries.This dress is a sure-fire attention getter. But sadly it got Holliday the wrong kind of attention. 

Holliday wore the infamous strawberry dress back in January to the Grammys red carpet. At the time, she had been exploited on best and worst dressed lists, and most of the time ended up on the negative side of those lists. Holliday didn’t stay silent. As any good activist would do, she posted about it. On August 16 she posted a picture of herself in the strawberry dress on the carpet and captioned it, “I like how this dress had me on worst dressed lists when I wore it in January to the Grammys, but now bc a bunch of skinny ppl wore it on TikTok everyone cares.” She goes on to say, “To sum it up: our society hates fat people, especially when we are winning.” This post has 217k likes and the comments have been turned off due to the sheer traffic this one post created. 

Holliday turned the situation around into an empowering moment for herself and other victims of the unfair fashion police, but not everyone has the strength to do so. A worst dressed list can be the thing that ruins someone’s confidence. The best and worst dressed lists are just another way that the fashion industry promotes fatphobia and unfair beauty standards. The fashion industry has come a long way, but fashion media like this is at the forefront of fatphobia.

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Hi, I’m Maria McGinnis, a senior journalism student from Stow, Ohio. I’m also the editor in chief of A Magazine. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important and entertaining news from the realms of fashion, beauty, and culture. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate to A Magazine.