I rarely shop at H&M, but when I have, the entire experience is frustrating, infuriating, or both. On the same shopping trip, I once bought something in a UK size 10 and another in a UK size 18. I, at the time, was a UK size 14. Also at the time, I suffered from horrific body image issues and felt that my worth was directly linked to the number on a clothing label. As a result, I tried avoiding the place as much as I could.
Proving that even years on, they still haven't been able to understand that inconsistent sizing loses people's affections, and this week they came under fire for their jeans.
Samantha Bell posted a photo on the body positive group Free To Be Ok With Me Facebook page of a comparison between a UK size 16 pair of skinny jeans from H&M and a pair from Primark. The photo shows a dramatic difference, will Bell actually measuring a 5.5 inch difference between the two pairs of jeans.
The post gained a lot of traction as people clapped back at H&M for encouraging unrealistic sizing, and some shared their awful experiences with the brand's products and in their stores. In fact the more I'm looking at the photo as I write, the angrier I'm getting.
Amongst all the uproar, an H&M representative responded saying: 'Our dedicated, in-house sizing department works according to an average of the sizes and measurement suggested by the markets we operate in. H&M sizes are continually reviewed by our in-house sizing department.'
Honestly, they'd have been better off not even saying anything, because what kind of response even is that? I personally also feel that if brands just step up and take responsibility for the bullshit that they pull, it would go down a whole lot better. Despite the little pointless representative statements, stores like H&M seem to be unable to fathom the level of damage that they're causing amongst their consumers, and won't allow themselves to be held accountable for it.
On a final note, a message to H&M: You can be good for the environment and good for people's body image at the same time. It's not rocket science. Just an idea.