The New York Times
, Dunham stated that she saw a need in the market for luxury items in extended sizing.
“Right now, the only thing I’m doing is speaking about my own experience,” she says to
The New York
. “So this clothing line is a direct response to my experience.”
One could argue that most of her projects directly respond to her experiences, like her film “Tiny Furniture” and HBO series “Girls.” But Dunham’s not wrong. NPD reports that 70 percent of women are above a size 14, yet few retailers carry clothing past a size 14 in stores. However, Dunham’s frustration of finding clothes in her size isn’t her experience alone.
Recently, LOFT announced that extended sizes would be removed from its line later this year. In a report by Dia & Co., an inclusive apparel subscription company, 30 percent of retailers that carried extended sizing havepermanently closed due to the pandemic. It is now more challenging than ever to find plus size apparel IRL.
Many online critics are questioning Dunham’s sudden move into the category. Dunham has made several statements in the past protesting the plus-size label. So while she may have embraced the term and found self-acceptance, her past comments still sting in the very community she wishes to reach.
Dunham isn’t the first celebrity to collaborate on a product they didn’t support. In 2018 Gene Simmons of KISS helped launch a cannabis line, Invictus MD, which drew controversy from his fans as he is a noted teetotaler. Unlike Dunham, Simmons admitted his blind spots and has since stepped down from his role at the company.
When a brand is working with a celebrity on a product collaboration, the brand needs to do its due diligence. Does the celebrity truly stand for your brand? The partnership will get noticed when working with a celebrity, but that doesn’t mean it will succeed. Will your customers overlook that you’re aligning yourselves with a star who has repeatedly distanced themselves from the very category you’re in? Dunham may have come around, but the internet never forgets.
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