Jess Jeetly headed to ITV studios on 22nd April 2015 to urge the media to highlight the need for more petite and plus size clothing on the High Street. This comes after the 'body-shaming' debate sparked by British singer Jamelia who said that women outside the size 8 to 18 category are unhealthy and should not find clothes on the High Street.
Speaking on iTV's programme Loose Women yesterday, Jamelia said: "I think everyone should have access to lovely clothes, but I do not think it's right to facilitate people living an unhealthy lifestyle."
Appearing to argue that the solution to the current obesity crisis is shaming people trying to find something to wear, she added: "I don't believe stores should stock clothes below or above a certain weight. They should be made to feel uncomfortable when they go in and can't find a size."
"It shouldn't be normalised in high street stores. They should have specialist shops."
The brief broadcast of Jess Jeetly's interview on ITV Central mentions a few words about the impact of Jamelia's comments and that specialist brands like JEETLY exist precisely because the High Street has not offered enough options for petite and plus sized clothing.
Jess says “We shouldn't ostracise women based on size or height, we now live in a diverse society so we need to embrace that anyone walking onto the High St should be able to find clothes that fit. Why shouldn't they be entitled to the same fashion as everyone else?.”
Brief excerpt of the interview with Jess on ITV
“The role of the fashion industry is to empower women with confidence to feel good about themselves regardless of their size. Women who are considered obese or too thin by Jamelia may be genetically predisposed to that size or have 'weight issues' as a result of emotional or medical reasons. When women feel good about themselves they make positive and healthier decisions, so if we are to tackle obesity due to poor eating habits, it should be through education about nutrition, not about restricting people's clothing choices.
“How do we define the 'average woman' in an increasingly multicultural society where women of different ethnicities shop on the same High Street. It is a complex issue which the fashion industry needs to address. Our take on this is that department stores and retailers should celebrate diversity and offer specialist brands a concession in their stores to fulfill the needs of petite and plus size women if they cannot offer the full range of sizing themselves.”
JEETLY has faced a constant challenge to receive PR in print media as fashion journalists feel petite sizing is 'too niche' a topic for their readers, when in fact 1 in 3 women are petite in the UK and are excluded or unaware of the choices available to them because petite brands are not featured in the magazines they read.
You could argue that JEETLY is excluding women over the height of 5'3 but we needed to take a stand for petite women and focus on fulfilling the needs of the under-served customer in fashion before we branch out to other sizes.