In Zambia, and in most parts of Africa, we have shapely women. Unfortunately, finding clothing, particularly sportswear that celebrates this, is difficult unless garments are made to measure.
The lack of size inclusivity in sportswear is a pressing issue in the fashion industry. There has been a global shift in the past few years, especially during and post-pandemic, towards exercise, health and well-being. There has been a growing number of plus-size customers, whom many brands continue to overlook and offer limited options for larger sizes.
Research has shown that sportswear companies have been neglecting the plus-size market for far too long. For instance, it has been reported that only 2% of sportswear brands cater to women above a size 16. This insensitivity to the needs of curvier individuals has had negative effects not only on them but also on the brands' sales. Moreover this lack of diversity in sizing not only excludes a significant portion of the market but also perpetuates the societal stigma sending a message that larger bodies are not worthy of representation in athletic wear. This has a negative knock on effect on plus-size individuals engaging in physical activity and leads to lower self-esteem and confidence.
To address this issue, sports brands must prioritize size inclusivity in their designs and marketing strategies. They need to expand their sizing charts to accommodate a wider range of body types and recognize these different fit requirements and ensure they provide adequate performance and comfort level.
The one-size-fits-all approach no longer suffices; brands must consider the unique needs of their customers in order to build a loyal customer base that is relevant to these current times.
In conclusion, the lack of size inclusivity in sportswear is a pervasive issue that affects millions of customers. Brands must recognize the importance of size diversity and prioritize their efforts to cater to all body types. The industry must promote body positivity, inclusivity, and equality, allowing all individuals to feel comfortable and confident in their athletic wear, and feel motivated to participate in sports, regardless of their size.