Health doesn’t have a dress sizeReading Time: 3 minutes
Anyone with an acute cultural awareness or an eye on their instagram ads will have noticed a shift in the size of the models that are used to advertise activewear; a diverse range of body types is used to demonstrate brands’ wearability. And, quite rightly so – it’s something we take to heart here at Fashionizer, as we design our uniforms to fit well and look good on a variety of body shapes. It’s great that the lifestyle industries are finally embracing diversity and inclusion, and have gotten to a point where size, no matter what it measures, is accepted not only as beautiful but healthy too.
Last month, Nike made a stand for cultural diversity when they unveiled plus-size and para-sport mannequins in their London flagship store. Whilst many on social media praised the move, others criticised it, claiming it was dangerous to ‘accept’ a ‘fat’ physique. The Telegraph published an article that lambasted the idea, with its author – Tanya Gold – going so far as to assume that; “She is not readying herself for a run in her shiny Nike gear. She cannot run. She is, more likely, pre-diabetic and on her way to a hip replacement.”
If you’re mentally wagging your finger to the tune of your own put-out “Excuuuuse me?!” at Tanya’s downright-rude presumption, then you are not alone. Many have run to the defense of the brand’s decision (including beauty watchdog Estée Laundry), finding it refreshing to see a mannequin that actually reflects their own body shape. Fashionizer’s multicultural workplace defends it too and, like others, this defense isn’t solely mounted on the sensitivity of offending anyone; it’s grounded in scientific fact.
In 2016, the University of California-Los Angeles conducted a study in the US, which found that body mass index (BMI) is not a reliable way to measure someone’s health. It revealed that focusing on BMI ignores overweight and obese individuals who are cardiometabolically healthy, which accounts for nearly 50% of overweight individuals, around 29% of obese individuals and around 16% of obesity type 1 and 3 individuals.
What’s more, the study found that putting the onus on BMI also ignored individuals whose BMI was considered ‘normal’ yet they are cardiometabolically unhealthy – that’s about 30% of the US population. All in all, the study showed that using BMI as the main indicator for cardiometabolic health misclassifies over 75 million individuals, which amounts to around 23% of the US population.
So, if the so-called health ‘experts’ are on the wrong track, who can we trust when it comes to knowing if we’re healthy or not? We think the answer is: Ourselves. Here at Fashionzier, we appreciate cultural diversity in the workplace – be it our own or the people we work with. We design our uniforms with a rainbow of body shapes and sizes in mind, so that all staff can feel comfortable, proud and healthy wearing a uniform that flatters and fits.