New Look Responds To ‘Fat Tax’ Criticism By Promising To Review Plus-Size Prices

New Look has responded to criticism that it adds a “fat tax” to plus-size items by promising to review its pricing structure.

The fashion brand has repeatedly come under fire for charging more for items in its Curve range. Most recently shopper Maria Wassell complained when she found a pair of green striped trousers were on sale in the shop’s Curve range for £22.99 – 15% more than the £19.99 charged for a pair in for sizes 6-18.

New Look’s Curve range starts at size 18, so a customer purchasing this size would pay more for selecting the pair in the Curve range.

“It’s like being discriminated against for being plus-size when I’m only slightly bigger than average,” the 43-year old, from Ashford in Kent, told The Times. “The average size for a British woman is now a size 16.”

Shopper Sarah Doherty told HuffPost UK she also complained to the brand last November after finding they charged £29.99 for a grey aviator jacket with faux fur detailing in sizes 6-18, but a similar grey aviator jacket from the Curve collection (sizes 18-32) was priced at £54.99.

“This is colloquially known in the plus-size blogging world as a ‘fat tax’,” Doherty said at the time. “So many brands think they’re being progressive by providing the same clothes for both their straight and plus-size collections, but then whack an extra charge on it, which undoes anything even remotely positive in their original intention.” 

Debating the issue on the Victoria Derbyshire show, plus-size fashion designer  Anna Scholz argued the price increase was not unreasonable as it can take twice the fabric to make the same item in a larger size. “As a company we sell from size 16 to 28 – if I had smaller sizes as well I would have to price them differently,” she said.

However New Look also stocks the green stripe wide leg trousers in its longer length ‘Tall range’ in sizes 10-20. Despite these cuts needing more material, they are still available for the lower price of £19.99.

When HuffPost UK first raised the issue to New Look last November they declined to comment, but now after facing further criticism the brand has released a statement, saying: “To ensure pricing differences like these don’t happen in future, we are in the process of reviewing the pricing structure of our plus-size collection in a way which works best for our customers and our business. We are proud of the ranges we offer to our plus-size customers and value all customers, no matter what their body shape or size.”