New standard industry size: FAT

I went to the Vogue Knitting Spring Fashion Show at the Lion Brand Studio in NYC last night.   Here’s the email I had to send this morning:


I was at the Fashion Show at the Lion Brand Studio last night in NYC.  I have a big complaint that left me with a very sour taste in my mouth.

After the show the studio’s manager, Patty Lyons, stood with the rest of the Vogue Knitting staff and answered questions.  One question was “what’s the difference between a medium in one pattern and a medium in another?”  A Vogue rep said you should really go by the inches.

Ms. Lyons chimed in and said, “Yes, because whether you’re small, medium, large or FAT, you should go by the measurements in the specs.”  She even held her arms out wide when she said the word “fat.”  I was and still am very upset over this comment.  Most of the audience were larger women (as opposed to super thin).  I myself am one of those women who is usually a 1X.

I cannot believe that the manager of a store of such a major brand such as Lion Brand would make such a repulsive and hurtful comment.

I had never been to the studio until last night and, while I was considering staying and shopping for yarn for some of the projects, I preferred to leave immediately and I doubt I will ever return.  I certainly would not recommend anyone to the store either.


Rosi Garmendia

cc:  Vogue Knitting (via their website)
Lion Brand Yarns (via the Lion Brand website)

60 thoughts on “New standard industry size: FAT”

  1. Lion Brand is, on the whole, a very nice and user-friendly company who make a good product at a fair price. I don’t want anyone to penalize them just because ONE employee is unfriendly. I purchase their product, I just avoid their store.

  2. Mmh, as both a plus size knitter and someone who genuinely does not remember conversations and typed text I find myself sympathizing with both sides. Whilst I do appreciate that at the time the comment was perceived as hurtful, I hope she did not mean it that way, but I am writing this comment because I DO feel sorry for the ‘offending’ lady who wrote an apology and was crucified for it. The way I read it Patty DID apologize and DID mean it, and I am willing to believe she does not remember making that comment. Then again, I don’t remember writing posts on my own blog…
    So let’s all chill, and congratulate ourselves for being forgiving to our fellow human beings…and read the nice e-mail from the main man at LB…
    I am sure Patty will be more aware of remaining in the ‘politically correct’ range.

  3. For those of you who are saying it is OK to use the word “fat” in this context, I believe you are missing the point. This woman referred to a set of standard size delineators until she got to “extra large” when everyone suddenly became “fat.” I know several people who wear standard size clothes (S/M/L) but meet the guidelines for “obese” on the so-called health charts. Personally, I wear a 20/22 and am not “fat” by societal standards. I’m 6′ 3″ and broad-shouldered/wide-hipped. Had I been present, I would have taken umbrage with the comment. Wearing a particular clothing size does not determine one’s “fatness” necessarily. Actually, as I think of it, “fat” is following in the footsteps of the “n” word. It is socially acceptable for people of a particular race to refer to each other as such, but heaven help a white person who refers to someone as the “n” word. If fat-positive/body-positive people choose to refer to each other (and themselves) as “fat,” it is their call and no one else is entitled to use that language.

  4. The problem is there is that a person’s size has absolutely no effect on other people (except for potential medical issues that can effect family) it only hurts that person, whether they are under or over weight. What most people don’t know is that being underweight can be just as medically harmful as being overweight. However, the underweight people are held up as the ideal of beauty, and overweight people are held up as the ideal of lack of willpower. People will feel sorry for alcoholics, but will tell “fat” people to go loose weight. Anyone that says this has obviously never had to loose a substantial amount of weight or they would understand it’s more than calorie in, calorie out, especially for women. Women are made to keep their weight, which is important for carrying babies. So, people like those mentioned think that it is okay to call a “fat” person what they want because they were in some way bad. And to everyone that says it is just a word, you are right. Just like the “n” word and the other “f” words and the rest of racial, sexiest, and swear words are. I somewhat agree with lynn. If I choose to call myself fat fine. It’s short, to the point, and isn’t sugar-coated. But I would only say that about myself to close friends or family, as other people get squeamish and confused. It is similar to watching white people’s reaction to hearing the “n” word from a black guy. Fat is a loaded word because of how the average person uses it, even with out thinking, to make other people feel less worthy of consideration.

  5. I’m just reading this now, months later after finding a link on Ravelry. Amazing! Completely inappropriate to name smaller sizes as sizes, but group all XL and up into one size called FAT! Calling a huge range of sizes FAT is not precise and is incorrect, even if you take the emotion out of this issue. They were giving guidance on fit, so precision is key.

  6. As a plus size knitter I’ve never understood why I’ve been treated with snobbishness when shopping at yarn stores. I must point out that it’s the rare exception rather than the rule; I frequent many of the shops in my local area. The owners and staff know me and treat me as a valued customer. However, the times I have been given the brush-off stay with me; I wish I’d had the courage to tell them “you just missed out on a $150.00 sale; have a nice day.”

    The snobs, and ignorant Patty, are missing something very important and obvious: plus size knitters BUY MORE YARN. If they can afford to discriminate against us/marginalize us/piss us off in this economy, who knows maybe they’re well enough off they don’t need to be selling yarn in the first place?!

    They should freakin’ scatter rose petals before us…

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