Tess Holliday’s Strawberry Dress Reminds Us That Fashion Still Has A Problem With Thin Privilege

The model wore the 'dress of the summer' in January, but was still placed on worst dressed lists.

tess holliday

by Bonnie McLaren |
Updated on

Tess Holliday has always been at the top of her game. Ever since she became famous, the model has been breaking boundaries for plus size women and dismantling beauty standards with the hashtag #effyourbeautystandards - and always looks amazing while doing so. But, unfortunately, there's still a lot of progress that needs to be made in the fashion industry.

This is something the model highlighted yesterday, when she reminded us that she was one of the first to wear this strawberry print dress by Kosovo-based designer Lirika Matoshi, which has since become something of an internet sensation, largely thanks to its ubiquity on TikTok. But while Matoshi's creation is now being hailed as 'the dress of the summer', Holliday was keen to point out that, when she wore the outfit in January, she was placed on 'worst dressed' lists.

'I like how this dress had me on worst dressed lists when I wore it in January to the Grammys, but now bc a bunch of skinny ppl wore it on TikTok everyone cares,' she wrote on Instagram and Twitter. 'To sum it up: our society hates fat people, especially when we are winning'.

The model later recognised that she did make some best-dressed lists - but, regardless, the point still remains that she ended up on worst dressed lists, when everybody's now seemingly obsessed with the dress because thinner people are wearing it. 'I'm aware some people said I looked nice in my Grammys dress & I never said I didn't make best dressed lists as well as WORST dressed,' she tweeted, 'but y'all are purposely ignoring the important part of my post: SOCIETY TREATS FAT PEOPLE LIKE WE ARE INVISIBLE.'

Holliday is right - it's no coincidence that the dress has become popular now that a variety of people, all of whom are extremely slim, have started to wear it on the internet. While fashion may have made some progress in its representation of body shape and size – Fendi's last show featured its most diverse cast of models yet, while labels like Christian Siriano and Chromat have been championing models who don't all adhere to the 'thin' ideal long held up by fashion – it's true that most of the 'aspirational' images we face every single day implicitly hold very slim, able bodies in higher esteem than anything else.

Even outside the fashion industry, the problem is rife. Take a tweet from a few weeks ago hailing Kendall Jenner as one of the most fashionable women in the world. In the photos selected of her, she was wearing plain jeans and crop tops. Many were quick to point out that, actually, it isn't her outfits, as opposed to her thin frame with which people are preoccupied.

Holliday is a reminder that plus-sized women have just as much right to be seen as fashionable. Especially when she predicted the so-called dress of the summer six months early.

Available in sizes XS-XXL (the equivalent of UK sizes 4-20),the dresshas sold out multiple times and is restocked frequently. The designer also saw huge success with herface masks, which she started producing at the beginning of lockdown. There's even a strawberry print style to match the dress...

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