No coverage clothing: Clothing retailers have a love — and hate — relationship with the word “curation.” On one hand, it’s become the go-to phrase for merchandising and in-store experiences.
On the other hand, it’s also a word that’s been so overused and misused that it has officially jumped the shark.
As a result, even though you can find plenty of articles claiming that shoppers want to see fewer fast fashion selections and more thoughtful curation (And we do! So much!),
This doesn’t seem to be translating into new retail practices quite as much as many would hope.
Reducing your product assortment by dropping fast-fashion brands is an excellent start toward creating stronger brand perception, but for most stores, this isn’t enough.
It just isn’t possible to sell everything you need in one place at once — Because there are some things you shouldn’t sell if you want people to actually buy stuff from you.
The Situation With No Coverage Clothing: Why Stores Shouldn’t Sell It
Stores selling clothing without coverage have gained popularity in recent years. Many of these stores sell logo-emblazoned clothing that is often referred to as “non-traditional” or “alternative” fashion. This unique market has grown in popularity due to the edgy, authentic, and original designs it offers, among other things. If you’ve ever been inside one of these shops, you know they have a very different vibe than most retail locations. They tend to be smaller and more intimate, with exposed brick walls and dim lighting. Perhaps their most eye-catching feature is their lack of clothes intended for work or casual wear — everything they sell leaves little to the imagination. These stores leave little to the imagination because they don’t sell clothing with any kind of coverage…
Why Stores Shouldn’t Sell No Coverage Clothing
There are numerous reasons why no-coverage clothing should not be sold in retail stores. Firstly, it is important to note that no coverage is fashion that is created exclusively with cisgender women in mind. That means garments like underwear and bras are not manufactured with transgender or gender non-conforming people in mind. As a result, people who are not cisgender women often find themselves unable to shop in these stores. For example, women who have undergone breast cancer treatment, mastectomy, or are breastfeeding may not be able to wear clothing with no coverage. People with larger busts may not be able to find garments that fit properly. And trans or gender non-conforming folks may be left out of the shopping experience entirely. Unfortunately, this exclusivity is nothing new. Fashion has long been a source of discrimination and oppression. We have seen countless examples of designers refusing to create clothing for people of color, plus-size individuals, and people with disabilities. This is why no-coverage clothing should not be sold in retail stores — because it is exclusionary, discriminatory, and ethically unsound.
Lack of Diversity and Inclusivity
As discussed above, no coverage is exclusively designed to suit the needs of cisgender women. As such, it often entirely ignores the needs of other people. This is particularly problematic in terms of diversity and inclusivity. For example, consider women who have larger breasts. They may be left with no choice but to wear bras and tops that are ill-fitting and uncomfortable. They may also be left with little to no support whatsoever. Similarly, breastfeeding mothers may find themselves unable to wear certain garments due to a lack of breastfeeding access. Plus-size individuals may struggle to find garments that fit their bodies properly.
Responsibilities of Businesses
Businesses have a responsibility to treat their customers with dignity and respect. In order to do this, retailers need to create clothing for every type of person. This includes people of various sizes, races, and gender identities. It is also important to note that retailers should not just hire a few people from these marginalized groups. Rather, they should be creating products that appeal to and serve the majority of these individuals. This is not just a matter of being respectful to a few people. Rather, it is a matter of creating a shopping experience that is inclusive to all. This is especially important considering that most people engage in some form of shopping every week. In fact, Americans spent over $4 trillion on retail stores in 2017 alone.
The Ethics of No-Coverage Clothing
The lack of ethics in no-coverage clothing is not only evident in its exclusivity. It is also evident in its association with sex. To be clear, clothing with no coverage can still be sexy. There are plenty of ways to be appealing and provocative without leaving very little to the imagination. However, no coverage is often used to sell sex and provoke people. This is apparent in the way many of these stores are decorated. They feature red and purple lighting. They also have posters and images on the walls that are sexual in nature. This association with sex, in addition to the long history of oppression and discrimination, is why no-coverage clothing is unethical. It is also why people have a right to challenge this clothing and ask for better options.
Ultimately, no-coverage clothing is an ethically questionable fashion choice. It is also a discriminatory one that is created exclusively for cisgender women. There is no reason why this type of clothing should be sold in retail stores. There are better alternatives out there. Plus-size companies, for example, are creating more coverage-based garments. These companies recognize the need for more ethically sound and inclusive fashion. Thankfully, we are in a time when shoppers are more empowered than ever before. These empowered shoppers are speaking up when they encounter products and services like no-coverage clothing. They are not only challenging these choices. They are also working to create a better and more inclusive shopping experience for everyone.