When Depop launched in 2011 the world was engulfed in what we had labelled “fast fashion”. Oxford Street-housed brands such as Topshop, River Island, and other fast-fashion labels perpetuated the nation that it was normal to buy new clothes and, as soon as they no longer fitted or fell out of fashion, to simply get rid of them. This vicious circle was known to be providing unethical brands with a constant income, but it was easy, it was cheap, and as the name suggests, fashions change fast. Enter Depop.
Described as a mix between eBay, Pinterest, and Instagram, Depop seemed to fill a market no one knew needed filling. Flash forward ten years and it now boasts over 21 million users. With young people especially feeling pressured to keep up with each new fashion trend and season that’s released, Depop ensures that trends are reused and recycled rather than chucked away.
While Depop began to grow, so did another market: the Plus Size or Curve ranges. Finally, it seemed that fashion brands were beginning to cater to those who did not have the supermodel figure that dominates Instagram, and the world at last seemed to realise that all body sizes are normal, and that fashion should be available for all. Now it seemed that whatever your body shape, fashion was available for you.
Except on Depop, that doesn’t seem to be the case. But why is it so hard to be a curvy girl on Depop? Whilst there is no definite answer, there are a few things we can guess. Being curvy myself, when shopping online I often order things in multiple sizes and being able to send a size back is something I rely on. With one brand’s size 12 being equivalent to another brand’s size 16, you simply cannot rely on a size to always fit you. In my opinion, the term “size guide” might as well be labelled “random-letters-and-numbers-we-have-assigned-to-confuse-and-upset-you”. How do I know when ordering a second-hand Zara size 12 skirt if it’s the same size 12 I am? With many sellers not offering refunds or return, if it doesn’t fit, you have to either dispose of it or sell it yourself. Could it also be this hesitation from buyers which then also leads to curvier sellers holding off posting their own clothes for sale? Does it in fact create a circle where clothes are not being posted and not being bought out of caution on both sides?
Whilst I am grateful that brands have finally realised that people with curves can wear crop tops, and do not just have to survive in floaty, “slimming” outfits, it can still be hard to find clothes that fit every inch of your body. With vintage clothing becoming more desirable, and a push for sustainability on more people’s minds, the want for vintage pieces is bigger than ever. Depop is the perfect place for people to sell either original or upcycled vintage pieces, but in what sizes? Sizes have changed over the years; a size 8 now roughly equates to a size 16 from 1950’s. The truth is that clothes were cut smaller, with women wearing waist-cinchers and girdles. These clothes simply do not always fit a curvier body, making this division of Depop unavailable.
If clothes shopping in person can be hard for curvier bodies, then its fair to say it’s even harder on Depop. Yes, there are accounts selling for curvier figures, but it still makes up only a small percentage of what’s available, despite the fact that, in the UK, size 16 marks the average. For whatever reason, being a curvy girl on Depop is hard, and smaller clothes do sell faster, so maybe skinny does sell?
Whatever the reason, just as we’ve seen fashion begin to move to catering for all, perhaps we will see Depop taking steps to ensure inclusivity. One day.
Image courtesy of Priscilla Du Preez.