It’s been nearly a month since Her Universe released their Avengers line at Hot Topic, and though a few styles went as high as XXL, Hot Topic uses what’s known as Junior sizing, counting on its demographic to be teenagers and young adults, so fully adult bodies (much less plus-sized bodies) often have difficulty finding properly sized versions. It felt like we (speaking for all fat people everywhere) were being deliberately left out when we’d had every assurance that this time, things would be different. (Check out Megan’s impassioned critique on this issue.)
It was supremely disappointing, especially since at WonderCon, where Her Universe and Hot Topic gave a sneak peak at the Avengers fashions, Her Universe CEO Ashley Eckstein promised that the Avengers line would be available in plus sizes; and I was not the only one disappointed to find out that was not entirely accurate. Although disappointed, I’m not going to blame Eckstein, since it’s entirely possible Hot Topic had told her they would release the entire line, and only later decided fat girls weren’t worth spending money on.
Eckstein revealed on Twitter that the Captain America and Loki dresses would be available at Torrid, Hot Topic’s plus size retailer, at some indeterminate point in the future. Gail Simone, who has been open about her admiration for Her Universe, took to twitter to assure people that the dresses were coming, at which point Eckstein spoke up to give a release date of May 16th. However, when I visited an actual Torrid location a week after that announcement, even Torrid employees had no idea when that was going to happen.
This week, the Captain America and Loki dresses are finally available, although without the fanfare of their Hot Topic release. (The Black Widow dress that Eckstein mentioned in this tweet, however, is still missing.) Should a Black Widow dress materialize at some point, however, that doesn’t change the fact that half of the collection, including both of the awesome jackets, was never made available in plus sizes. It should be noted that Torrid runs from sizes 12-28, which overlaps with Hot Topic sizing with Hot Topic sizes XL and XXL being roughly comparable with Torrid sizes 12 and 14.
Despite the fact that Torrid failed to announce the Cap and Loki dresses with any amount of fanfare, and Her Universe did not announce their release until the Saturday following Torrid putting the dresses online, both dresses were sold out of every size online except for 26 and 28, the two largest sizes that Torrid carries. For those who missed out, the dresses should be available in Torrid stores nationwide, but stores are limited by what stock they have on hand, and unless you live in an area with multiple Torrid stores within easy driving distance, once their stock is gone, it’s gone. There are no other options.
So, why would Hot Topic heavily promote their release and not Torrid? Are the retailers still unconvinced there’s a market out there? Or are fat girls just not supposed to have nice things? This is body politics in action. When a company gives one group of consumers half as much as everyone else, without fanfare, the only conclusion that can be drawn is that that company does not value that group as consumers, much less as people. As consumers, we’ve been told that in order to be heard, we need to put our money where our mouth is, but clearly, Hot Topic isn’t listening.