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For years, Katie Sturino has utilized social media to empower plus size women to let go of fashion “rules” and wear what makes them feel powerful. The Mega Babe founder and The 12ish Style blogger has gained nearly 550,000 followers on Instagram for recreating celebrity and royal fashion looks, sharing outfit-inspiration and giving honest trend and product reviews.
While she still delivers the day-to-day fashion goods followers have come to know and love, Sturino is giving the fashion industry a much-needed kick in the pants with her latest online campaign, #MakeMySize.
Created in 2018, the #MakeMySize campaign highlights the lack of size inclusion from some of the most popular names in fashion. The social media series features photos of Sturino trying on items from retailers, such as Zara, Club Monaco and Reformation. Sturino gives her honest opinions after each turn through the fitting room, noting which stores lack plus size clothing and which brands misrepresent sizing through vanity sizing. Sturino, a size 18, reveals that many brands fail to consider any customer over size 12 not only in their ad campaigns, but in the clothing they choose to keep in store.
In February, prior to COVID-19 lockdown, Sturino shared a series of dressing room photos and a message to Danish clothing brand, Ganni.
“You’re breaking our hearts with these adorable clothes that I want to live in!” She captioned her photos. “I was hopeful when I saw you expand your retail footprint (congrats!) that you might be expanding your sizes. Give us hope! Tell us you are heading beyond a US12...look how good I look in your bucket hat! I can do that for your clothes...I couldn’t even get certain pieces over one shoulder.”
The post, which received more than 10,000 likes, prompted a response from the brand who revealed they are working to make their fashions more accessible to their customers.
Each of Struino’s posts are meant to alleviate the frustration shoppers have when trying on clothes, and puts the onus back on the retailers who are underserving their customers.
“The most exciting thing to happen for me from #MakeMySize is watching the power shift for you guys in the fitting room!” Sturino wrote her followers. “Instead of shaming yourself or vowing to skip the next meal, you are leaving the store blaming the brand!”
A frequent collaborator on Canada’s Breakfast Television, Sturino has even taken aim at Artizia, a Canadian retailer that has been slow to carry inclusive sizes.
“Aritzia, girl, you gotta take a look in the mirror,” Sturino wrote the brand in 2019. “Or at least take a look at me looking in the mirror in the largest size you carry in store. Very cute designs, adorable staff, nice price point...I wish your founder felt the need to include more women in his business plan. Size 12s (the biggest size you make) were no where to be seen on the floor and they are limited online as well (also I don’t wear a size 12)Canada is so welcoming! I wish @aritzia was too!”
In January, Aritzia announced they would carry up to a size 18 on a “trial basis” but has yet to include any plus size models on their site.
The #MakeMySize campaign has earned praise for Sturino, from followers who used to fear heading into the change rooms of certain stores.
“I follow very few people on Instagram and I don’t remember when or how I added you. But I love your posts,” a female follower wrote Sturino. “I love ones of you wearing too small pants the best. The feeling of not being able to pull too small pants up is often shame. You grinning and looking fabulous and ‘shaming’ the clothes manufacturers, is so great!”