Beyoncé’s Blind Spot? Ivy Park’s Relaunch Was Exceptional—But to Some, Still Exclusionary

Illustration for article titled Beyoncé’s Blind Spot? Ivy Park’s Relaunch Was Exceptional—But to Some, Still Exclusionary
Screenshot: Ivy Park/Adidas (YouTube)

The orange boxes have dropped, the orders have been placed, and Beyoncé offered the rare Instagram caption on Monday, thanking fans, followers and faithful shoppers for making her Adidas x Ivy Park launch an unequivocal success, writing:

I want to say a huge thank you to all of the incredible human beings who stood in those long lines in the snow and rain. All the beautiful people who waited in the waiting room online. All of the friends and family who took the time to film videos and dress up in the unboxing. I am humbled, grateful and proud. Y’all look so good in your IVY PARK. I love you deep. B


We love you too, Bey—but you know who won’t be looking so good in Ivy Park’s first triple-striped collection? As per the official press release about last Saturday’s launch, anyone over a size XL. Despite the well-deserved nod the collection gets for being gender-neutral, like Rihanna’s Fenty Maison, fuller-figured fans (and their allies) were disappointed to discover that the majority of Beyonce’s new line (accessories notwithstanding) likely won’t accommodate anyone over a size 16-18. This runs contrary to Bey’s inclusive aesthetic elsewhere (and Rih’s, for that matter); a fact that was widely discussed on social media.

As we well know, the Hive comes in all shapes and sizes—so why wouldn’t Ivy Park? Unlike Fenty Maison, a French-based luxury brand that is exclusionary in both price-point and sizing (facts that don’t make it at all right, but are nevertheless consistent with the broader luxury fashion realm), Ivy Park’s aesthetic is athleisure. And yet, the question remains whether all of us are meant to fit in (at least, to everything offered), despite the fact that the demand, the dollars, and the momentum are there, as evidenced by Rihanna’s much more accessible Savage x Fenty lingerie line, which features plus sizes in every aspect of its retailing and marketing. (Editor’s note: Please excuse the handle of the following commenter in favor of the message; we, too, have questions.)

As Teen Vogue noted:

A major issue for many was the marketing behind Adidas x Ivy Park. It was created to be gender-neutral and powered by the message of inclusion. Considering the facts that Beyoncé has fought for size representation before, and that Adidas has recently expanded its size range through a collaboration with Universal Standard up to a 4X, many assumed Ivy Park would also cater to a wider spectrum of plus.


Fans of Beyoncé—and by extension, her latest offering—argue that Ivy Park did offer a few options up to a 4X, presenting purported screenshots as proof. Additionally, tester and blogger Keep It SimpElle, while not disputing the XS to XL size range, noted that select items included the sizing advice: “This item fits true to size for men. Women should go 1 size smaller than their usual size” (though men come in plus sizes, too).


As the premiere collection is entirely sold out, save for a few accessories (and Adidas has inexplicably since removed the size ranges), we aren’t able to verify for ourselves. But it’s worth noting that while full-figured icons like Missy Elliott, Lizzo and Ashley Graham were happy recipients of the full collection (and hopefully fit into all of their gifted items and not just the jackets, shoes and accessories), indisputably plus-sized bodies were conspicuously absent from Ivy Park’s teaser trailer, despite being a welcome presence on stage at 2018’s “Beychella.”


And therein lies the issue: Who gets to represent for one of the biggest icons of our lifetime? And who is deemed deserving of her public offerings? If the absence of inclusive sizing is true, is it fueled by the opinion that fuller-figured customers aren’t likely to be active (spoiler alert: false), don’t deserve of-the-moment athleisure options (also false)—or worse, don’t deserve to represent Ivy Park?


Whatever the reason, it’s 2020, and this isn’t the first time the brand has faced concerns over exclusionary sizing. As our Editor-in-Chief Danielle Belton wrote about Ivy Park’s inaugural launch in 2016:

Fashion is about fantasy. They’re selling aspirational, overpriced dreams in size 4 pants. They are selling an aesthetic, a brand identity that people can buy into.

From Lululemon to Givenchy, it’s about that “it” factor, that coolness, that status. And to the fashion industry, nothing says “status” like thinness. Which means that what it’s not doing is selling to the plus-size market—one of the largest-growing markets, at $17.5 billion, and the most underserved market—because to the fashion industry, fat people are like “the dead Macy’s in the dying mall” of clientele: Nobody in the industry wants to go there because selling clothes to the average woman is not cool.

“Nobody” now includes Beyoncé...she’s yet another retailer taking part in the “aspirational” fantasy, this industry standard of ignoring fat people.


As Ivy Park has just relaunched, we’re holding out hope for more inclusive launches to come—including adaptive wear, which some of Bey’s breakaway items seem ideal for. (Business Insider reports a spokesperson for Adidas did not immediately respond to their request for confirmation on whether new sizes would be added at a later date.) But though Ivy Park’s initial offerings may prove disappointing to some, we nevertheless find the outcry encouraging. In this age, we’d hope most launches at this level would consider the totality of their potential customer base, but we’re fully aware that it won’t happen without significant and ongoing demand. Thankfully for the still-marginalized plus community, we’re demanding more...and we deserve it.

Updated: Tuesday, 1/21/20 at 5:55 pm, ET: All that said (and steadfastly stood by), Megan Thee Stallion just gave us the most epic orange box unveiling yet, and we can’t not share it with you.


Maiysha Kai is managing editor of The Glow Up, host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast and Big Beauty Tuesdays, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. May I borrow some sugar?


Murry Chang

So...cancel Beyonce?