Chinese-based fast fashion retailer Shein has been advertising plus-size tights in a rather unusual way that sometimes does not involve actually using a plus-size model.
A tweet from October 2022 shared an alleged screenshot from Shein’s website advertising a pair of “Solid Plus Size Stirrup Tights” in beige for $8. The model in the photo is seen wearing the tights while also accommodating what looks to be an empty five-gallon water jug.
“Y’all couldn’t find y’all a plus size model???????” the user captioned the screenshot. “Wtf is THIS?”
SHEIN 😭 y’all couldn’t find y’all a plus size model??????? Wtf is THIS? 😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/Dif12Hl5K7
— 🔛🔝🔜 (@karmaxkarmm) October 26, 2022
“This is so disrespectful,” one user replied to the screenshot.
As of reporting, the image is no longer used on the U.S. version of the Shein website when you search for “Solid Plus Size Stirrup Tights.”
Instead, on the page dedicated to $8 tights under the same name and in the same color, there is a model posing in the tights while stretching them out in front of her. While the model’s face is not included in either the Twitter screenshot or the current Shein posting, the model in both images is wearing a similar-looking lace bralette.
In other plus-size tight advertisements on the site, models can be seen pulling the tights to ridiculous heights on their bodies and can accommodate their arms.
For one thing, this is not how tights are worn — on anybody.
Some Twitter users responded to the October screenshot suggesting the photos weren’t a dig at plus-size shoppers but rather a way to showcase how stretchy the material is. But Shein tights that aren’t categorized as plus-size are photographed and show stretchability in a completely different way too.
It’s disappointing for a number of reasons — one of which is plus-size influencers and shoppers have been very open about the fact that, a lot of the time, fast fashion is their only option when it comes to shopping for clothes that both fit and are affordable.
“As someone in the plus-size fashion space, it’s nerve-racking to tag the brands I’m wearing on Instagram when I know that a majority of them are fast fashion. But the truth is this: That’s all I have,” author and plus-size fashion expert Gianluca Russo told Refinery29. “As a plus-size man, my options for clothing are abysmal.”
To be an affordable fast-fashion option for plus-size shoppers and to simultaneously advertise these clothes in exaggerated ways is upsetting to people who simply want to buy a pair of tights.
The retailer is no stranger to controversy. The Financial Times reported on Jan. 18 that the platform’s valuation has plummeted to $64bn from its $100bn value in April 2022. While Shein blew up in popularity thanks to its inexpensive clothing and quick pace to match TikTok trends, the company has drawn criticism about its working conditions, too-low prices and lack of transparency.
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