Saturday, November 09, 2013

Dear Abercrombie and Fitch's CEO Mike Jeffries AND Chip Wilson, founder of Lululemon Pants...I GOT SOMETHING TO SAY.

Dear Abercrombie and Fitch's CEO Mike Jeffries (who is now marketing to plus size wearers after making it very clear that he did not want big people wearing his clothes) and Chip Wilson, founder of Lululemon Pants (who just explained that they had to recall one fifth of their pants because they were too sheer...yet, he implied that some women were too fat to be wearing their stretchy pants.),

Well, yes, gentlemen, the truth is that you don't have to market to or make your clothes for everyone...but, and here the is the sticking point for me, do you have to be such a dick when telling us all about it?
Now, boys, if you are sitting there in your yoga pants (which are certainly made of gold, since that is what is reflected in the price tag) that probably took too long to get hemmed OR your faded, washed out, ripped out over priced jeans with your gym flip flops and have a moment...I would like to tell you a little tale. 
No pressure if you boys don't have the time for a gal like myself, but I am gonna write you anyhow.
I feel that it will be good for my soul.  
So, Mike and Chip, I don't know about you, but when I was growing up I found myself concerned about my weight... from, what I swear, is about this age.

Okay...Maybe it wasn't THAT early...but it felt that way. 
Now, I am gonna tell you guys a little secret that I don't share with a lot of people.
I wanted to be a ballerina.
But when I got to dance school I was going through one of my bigger times, and though my awesome young teacher was very supportive, the lady who ran the Marlene Robinson Dancing School on Upper Sherman in Hamilton, an ex-ballerina who had had an injury and walked with a cane...and was by no means a small woman, discouraged me from the get go.
She always looked at me with distaste when she came and sat in the class...and told me that it really wasn't worth my time...and that I should try tap dancing.
Which is hysterical to me now...she wanted to move all the thick-thighed young ladies into tap dancing...which, incidentally, I loved.
Because, I guess, if we were going to be obvious, we should be REALLY obvious.
So much noise to be made!   
But, I stopped taking ballet classes.

HUH...that is me in my last ballet recital costume before I quit.
Again, WAIT!! What? 
You know how you go back and look at a picture and you realize you have, literally, blown it out of proportion?
I was not big.
I was not a bone rack...but I was not a big girl...AND, on another note, WHO PUTS PEOPLE IN THAT HORRID COLOUR?!
It does no one's form a favour.  
I loved ballet...and one person's opinion of my frame...when I was not old enough or secure enough to hold my own thoughts or decisions about my body...made me stop.
And made me ever more aware of a problem that didn't actually exist.
Well, that just sucks ass...imagine...people doing that to kids today? 
Huh, Chip and Mike
Especially with the social media!
Basically telling people who don't fit properly into their idea of normal, that they don't count...that they don't fit...that they are too different.
How damaging.
How horrible.
I am a big girl.
No matter what I weigh...and I have starved myself down to dangerous weights...I will always be a big girl.
Many years ago, after I had spent a good deal of time OBSESSED with my weight and a 24 hours a day kind of deal...I remember telling a dancer friend of mine that I weighted 130 (which was a weight that once my own mother didn't recognize me at) and she sucked her teeth, and said, "Wow, well, you'd never know look normal."
I just stood there in disbelief!
And then I became obsessed with that too...the number...a number!?! 
We are obsessed with the number on a scale or the tag on a piece of clothing.
Something that is just a number, something without feelings or emotion, can influence the way we relate to the world.
It can wreck a day, a vacation, a week, a party...that number can, literally, change the way we view ourselves.
We looked fine in the mirror a moment ago...but then we stepped on the scale...or went shopping for PANTS!!
Maybe I should just give myself a break and buy myself some stretchy pants...oh...well, MAYBE NOT!!!!  
Don't you think?
That is BANANAS!!!
I could talk about health and eating here, which is indeed important...but TRULY this is it's own issue.
Self esteem. 
My weight fluctuates a lot and it has my whole life...I like food...AND I like exercise...I do it almost everyday... hot yoga... walking... treadmill... swimming...I know the inside of a gym.
I am a girl in this world...big or weight may change again...or no...but, and here it is, I have decided today to NO LONGER be obsessed with a number.
No more. 
And I vow to do my level best to not let people like you, Mike and Chip, make me feel bad about myself.
At the risk of sounding conceited...and because it was such a struggle for me...I would like to say that I think have developed a great sense of style...and I have a person to thank for that...Lisa Williams who was the stylist on Canada Sings.
The first season of the show she came to my house, and I had just gone through a hard period in my life and had gained weight...and didn't have a lot to wear in my closet and was too ashamed (LORD!!!) to go and buy new clothes.
She came into my house and asked me how I would like to look on the show...and I turned to her...and I tried not to cry...and I said,

"I want people to look at me on TV and say, 
"Wow...she looks awesome" ...not for my  weight... but just, "she looks awesome." "

And Lisa smiled, and went about it.
And I think she did an excellent job...because I felt like I did and I thank her from the bottom of my heart.
Just so you know, Lisa, there is NOT a fashion decision I make that this phrase doesn't pop into my head:
"How would Lisa do this?"
During the performance shows on the first season of Canada Sings...with help from the wonderful and inclusive Fashion Crimes (you go, Pam Chorley!) people were writing me and asking about my clothes and where they got them...I did a big article about how Fashion Crimes and a number of stores cater to the plus sized, and ALL SIZES...and how I wished that all stores in this world added just a little extra fabric to their designs...that they would ALL cash in!! 
How hard is to add a bit more fabric, make the designs inclusive?
Even the PR lady for the show said, "We are gonna do a little focus on your fashion on the show."
By the second season of Canada Sings, I had spent a lot of time researching stores and models and prominent celebrities whose looks I liked and I felt great and, god help us all, EXCITED about looking for clothes...not ashamed... why should I be ashamed? 
I was just me!
But that shame a bad smell or those kids who try to make you buy those effing door-to-door cookies...just waiting for the chance to show itself sell you on a bad idea.
And when I read about you both and what you said, Mike and comes to the surface.
But, as I said earlier...NO.
I am not gonna let the crap that you feel it is OKAY to say get me down.
AND I am gonna spend my money on the places that make me feel, what? 
So, two more things.

1.ABERCROMBIE and FITCH CEO, Mike Jeffries, YOU ARE TOO LATE!! You may get a few people...but I TRULY HOPE the "plus size" peeps will NOT be helping you save your perfume infested, shirts for Barbie, jewelry-usually-worn-by-douchie-guys-who-have-topped-their-look-with-pooka-beads STORE!!! I personally WILL NEVER GO BACK IN YOUR STORE!! And I hope everyone follows suit.

2. Chip Wilson, Founder of Lululemon, please suck it. YOU MAKE STRETCH PANTS! OVER PRICED STRETCH PANTS! You know who likes to work out? People who are bigger?! WHY WOULD YOU NOT MAKE STRETCH PANTS THAT ARE APPROPRIATE FOR THEM!?!? IT BOGGLES MY MIND.

So, there you have it boys.
I doubt you will ever read this.
But, I don't really give a crap.
I got stuff to do...clothes to wear...things to go and feel good about.
And I will do my best to spend the day trying to put some positivity back in the world.
Maybe you can try the same.
Sharron Matthews   


TT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TT said...

Oops, typos. Let's try this again...

Sharron, this is fabulous. I am in a constant struggle with my weight as well, although sometimes it is far more obvious than others. It takes all the inner fortitude in the world to not be affected by the thoughtlessness or at times the deliberate cruelty of those who take sick pleasure in slighting people's dignity based on where they tip the scales.

As I've gotten older, I've realized that obsessing over with the exteriors of people is a direct byproduct or not cultivating one's own interior. When the mind and spirit have stunted... when the soul is unevolved... the internal world becomes a realm in which people don't know how to function. It makes them uncomfortable and insecure. And so they function in the simplest realm they can, which is painfully superficial.

Katy Yelovich said...

This was wonderful Sharon. You know that my background comes from my family and I helping the big and tall of Hamilton and the world feel good about themselves. No one has ever been given disparaging comments about their size since we work hard to understand that outside our doors the big and tall are constantly barraged with idiotic and insensitive statements about their size. 10 X anyone? We'll help you dress well and hopefully feel good about yourself, even if it only happens in the confines of our store. I have a beautiful daughter and I have NEVER had a bathroom scale in our house. If the waist of the skirt/pants are hard to do up time to cut back. Stretch pants give the illusion that you have not gained weight...the pants stretch and give you a false sense of size. Don't wear stretchy pants folks if you want to really know where your at and when to cut back. Besides, I've always felt that properly fitted clothing makes everyone look great. Thank you Sharon for speaking. I intensely dislike Abercrombie and Fitch. I've got to say though I am partial to Lululemon's sweaters and yoga inspired outfits....not the stretchy pants.