If you’ve been on social media lately, you’ve seen it: the strawberry dress. The pink tulle gown with sparkly strawberry appliques has been declared “the dress of summer,” captivating the minds (and wallets) of Gen Z and many Millennials. Its hashtag has over five million views on TikTok, and an Instagram search will show an endless scroll of inspired fan art and memes about the dress. Its whimsical design has taken the internet by storm.
Designed by Lirika Matoshi, there has been a 738 increase in orders from July to August, not to mention the number of knockoffs produced since. It’s currently the best-selling item from Matoshi’s collection, according to Vogue, proving the immense influence of social media (and the influencers who were no doubt gifted the $490 tea dress). But model and body positive activist Tess Holliday is pointing out society’s double standards when it comes to the style.
On Sunday, Holliday shared videos and photos of herself wearing the dress to the 2020 Grammy Awards back in January. At the time, she referred to the look as “If Strawberry Shortcake & Lana Del Rey had a baby” and received praise from her fans and followers online. However, according to Holliday, many mainstream media outlets and fashion critics gave the look negative reviews.
“I like how this dress had me on worst dressed lists when I wore it in January to the Grammys, but now bc a bunch of skinny ppl wore it on TikTok everyone cares,” she wrote on Instagram alongside a red carpet shot and a behind-the-scenes video of herself getting ready for the event.
"To sum it up: our society hates fat people, especially when we are winning," she continued.
In a thread on Twitter, the model acknowledged the praise she did receive before elaborating more on her initial point. “I’m aware some people said I looked nice in my grammys dress & I never said I didn’t make best dressed lists as well as WORST dressed, but y’all are purposely ignoring the important part of my post: SOCIETY TREATS FAT PEOPLE LIKE WE ARE INVISIBLE,” she tweeted.
"The [minute] someone who is in a smaller frame that’s deemed acceptable by societies standards does/wears the same thing & “OMG THIS IS REVOLUTIONARY,” she wrote in another tweet. In this case, the strawberry dress became ubiquitous only after straight-sized influencers started posting pics in it.
So while she may not be responsible for the recent spike in sales, the point is: Holliday got no credit for contributing to one of the biggest fashion moments of the year, despite being the first influential person to wear the frock. Can you imagine if Taylor Swift, Zendaya or Emma Watson wore the Lirika Matoshi strawberry dress to a red carpet event? (Someone actually Photoshopped Watson in the dress as if she did!)
There is no denying that the fashion industry still has an issue with fat women, and I applaud Holliday for continuing to call it out.
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