Fast fashion: Is it hard to be sustainable and plus-size?

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A picture of SamImage source, Instagram/FattyBoomTatty

On Sam Rowswell's blog, she describes herself as a "chubby babe sharing style, colour and body positivity".

It's clear from her regularly updated Instagram feed that she takes pride in her fashion choices.

"Fashion is my thing", she tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

With the damage fast fashion is doing to the planet increasingly in the spotlight, influencers like Sam are becoming more aware of the environmental impact of their clothes shopping habits.

In the UK, consumers buy twice as many new clothes as they did a decade ago.

Some brands have responded to calls for the industry to become more sustainable by making their products less throwaway or introducing schemes which mean clothes can be reused.

Sam says it's harder for her than others.

Although there are some sustainable brands selling bigger clothes, she says the move to sustainable fashion has "left plus-sized people behind completely".

"You don't have enough choice and you end up wearing fast fashion. It's cheap, mass produced brands that you end up going to.

"I see new shops opening that are using ethical fabrics, organic cotton, and still there are no plus sizes. I feel like we're forgotten."

Sam says that even in second-hand shops she very rarely find clothes which will fit her.

Image source, Instagram/FattyBoomTatty
Image caption,
Sam blogs about fashion, food and lifestyle

Sarah Lees, a fashion lecturer at South Wales University, says sustainable plus sized brands do exist, but aren't always as convenient or well advertised as fast fashion brands.

She tells Newsbeat: "These companies are there, but they aren't the obvious high street stores we see.

"They might not be all over social media and being promoted by the bloggers and influencers."

But, she also says the lack of larger sizes in sustainable brands is reflective of a wider problem in UK fashion.

"Bigger sizes are commonly sold out because shops aren't buying enough of those sizes, and what they do stock isn't necessarily representative of our population."

Plus-size model Tess Holliday spoke to Elle UK about the struggle she has trying to find environmentally friendly clothing that fits her properly.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Tess walked the runway at New York Fashion Week

Tess said: "I want to be conscious of not contributing to fast fashion because of how wasteful it is, but it's either that or I run around naked."

"I want the option to wear high end items of my choosing and it's not available."

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