'Margins are so tight' - Kiwi fashion industry expert says charging more for bigger sizes not unreasonable and not 'fat shaming'

A Kiwi fashion industry expert says companies like New Look, who are accused of fat shaming a woman by charging more for larger sizes, are just covering costs.

UK woman Maria Wassell told The Sun she was upset after finding clothing over size 16 was priced 15 per cent higher than the same garment in small sizes at New Look.

Carly Tolley of the New Zealand Institute of Fashion Technology, speaking this morning to TVNZ 1's Breakfast, said she doesn't believe retailers are "fat shaming" at all, just charging more for items which use more fabric.

She said often manufacturers will find the average cost of a piece of clothing across the size range, and use that as their baseline price, but that it was also understandable if their price ranged across the sizes.

"I don't think any designer wants to fat shame people," Ms Tolley said.

"I think people genuinely are trying to charge what it actually costs."

However, Ms Tolley said much of that understanding depended on the price of the fabric - a very small variation from using a very cheap fabric did not really justify ranged pricing, while fabric costing, say, $100 per metre may do.

"If it was an inexpensive fabric, I would say they're being a little bit naughty," Ms Tolley said.

Overall, Ms Tolley said that fashion outlets are taking a few cents from anywhere they can because, within the industry, "people's margins are so tight".

Carly Tolley was responding to a UK woman's outrage at clothing over size 16 costing 15 per cent more at New Look. Source: Breakfast