Asked why and when plus sizes had been pulled from all stores in what's arguably the fashion capital of the world, a spokesperson for H&M gave the following statement:
"H&M’s product range has grown in the past few years, with e.g. an extended sports offering, a new beauty assortment and our interior concept H&M Home. This means not all stores have room for all our fashion concepts. The assortment in the stores is evolving as we continuously assess the product mix, which is decided by each store’s specific pre-requisites when it comes to e.g. its size and the customers’ requests. We refer customers to our online store hm.com, which includes all our fashion concepts, and a broader assortment."
Translation: We don't have room for plus sizes anymore.
The irony of that is flooring when you consider that NYC is home to H&M's largest location in the world, Herald Square.
And I know for a fact — because I used to shop it quite frequently — that Herald Square was one of the few H&M NYC locations that used to carry plus-sizes.
Over the past few years, I've watched the plus-size section at H&M Herald Square be relocated from the first floor to the second floor, and shrink from a modest quadrant near the fitting room to a shoebox-size cubby next to the cash registers.
Personally, I stopped shopping there about a year ago. The selection was so small, disorganized, and constantly sold out in my size, that it wasn't worth it anymore. If plus-size women in NYC stopped shopping in-store for H&M clothes, it isn't because they wanted to, it's because the retailer made it so awful that online became the better option.
This distancing from plus sizes was alluded to in the H&M studio fall '16 campaign, which was first praised and then condemned for its inclusivity — or lack thereof.
The "groundbreaking" campaign featured plus model Ashley Graham wearing the collection that would be offered in straight and plus sizes.
The images marked the first time that a plus-size model fronted an H&M campaign that wasn't promoting body positivity and plus sizes alone. Dozens of publications, including this one, lauded the effort as a step in the right direction.
Then Racked read the fine print at the bottom of the campaign poster: "plus size will be sold exclusively on hm.com." So much for inclusivity.
The question now is, will H&M start to remove more plus-size sections from its 4,135 stores around the world?
A representative told Revelist that H&M Plus is still offered "in the majority of US locations," but declined to provide an exact number of stores that currently carry plus sizes.
Here's how H&M Plus is represented in a few states across the country, according to H&M's store locator tool.
17 out of 75 stores in California carry plus sizes
4 out of 16 stores in Ohio carry plus sizes
7 out of 35 stores in New York state carry plus sizes
15 out of 29 stores in Texas carry plus sizes
6 out of 21 stores in in New Jersey carry plus sizes
5 out of 21 stores in Pennsylvania carry plus sizes
4 out of 16 stores in Washington carry plus sizes
15 out of 29 stores in Florida carry plus sizes