“It’s so funny how there are no designers wanting to help me…that will change, and I remember everything.” —Leslie Jones
When you’re famous, having the right outfit to wear on the red carpet or a magazine cover is part of the job. Generally, celebs and their stylists borrow these outfits from designers, but not every celeb gets the same opportunities.
Though a lot of fashion snobbery is involved, it’s not always about not being “famous enough” in the brand’s eyes. Oftentimes, designers refuse to lend someone their clothes because of that person’s body size, race, or age.
However, a lot of the celebs and stylists who’ve been turned away by designers have also been brave enough to call them out.
Here are 23 times celebs and stylists called out the designers who refused to work with them:
“Zendaya made it to the cover of Vogue, [and] she had never worn Valentino, Gucci or Chanel… We built that girl’s career and my career using smaller brands and emerging designers to prove a point. Now that they want to dress her, I say no,” Roach told the Hollywood Reporter.
Danielle Brooks told Vogue that “no matter how many SAG awards, Tony nominations, Grammy wins” she has, “a lot of people won’t design for [her]” because she doesn’t fit into a “sample size.”
She said, “I haven’t been given an opportunity to wear these big-name designers, it has never been an option whether I had a stylist or didn’t.”
Kristen Stewart’s longtime stylist Tara Swennen called Lanvin every two months for seven years asking them to dress her client, but the brand said she was too young. Each time, they responded, “Listen, our demo to sell these clothes is closer to the 30s, so she’s not what we want quite yet.”
“Finally, it was like the clouds opened up, and we got it, and [Stewart] was like, ‘Nah,'” Swennen told the Hollywood Reporter.
In a 2019 essay for the Guardian, Jane Seymour wrote that, after being a glamour icon and “unofficial muse” in the ’80s and ’90s, “nowadays not every designer will dress someone [her] age.”
She continued, “I don’t care whether re-wearing clothes is acceptable or not – if I’m feeling the dress and the occasion, and if it fits, then I’ll wear it again.”
Before the 2019 Emmys, Aidy Bryant tweeted that having cool clothes as a plus-size person “seems like a fairly basic request.”
In response, Eloquii fitted her for a custom gown.
While gearing up for the premiere of Ghostbusters (2016), Leslie Jones tweeted, “It’s so funny how there are no designers wanting to help me… Hmm, that will change, and I remember everything.”
In response, designer Christian Siriano stepped up to the plate. On Twitter, he said, “It shouldn’t be exceptional to work with brilliant people just because they’re not sample size.”
Dascha Polanco had her publicist reach out to a luxury brand she adored and had spent a lot of her own money on, but they responded, “You’re not the sizes we have, not right now, maybe in the future.”
“Now even if they want me to [wear their designs] down the road, I will not give them the pleasure. It’s disappointing, but I try to work with up-and-coming designers who will make things for me and who will collaborate with me,” she told Vogue.
Melissa McCarthy asked five or six high-profile designers to make her a dress for the 2012 Oscars but was consistently turned down, so two years later, she started her own line of plus-size clothing.
Clothing design isn’t too far out of field for Melissa, who studied clothing and textiles in college. She previously designed her own dress for the 2011 Emmy Awards with the help of her friend, Daniella Pearl, who also collaborated with her on the fashion line.
In 2011, Jennifer Hudson called out the designers who only wanted to dress her after she lost weight and said that “so many more opportunities open up when you’re on the other side.”
She told the Daily Mail, “I’d no idea what I was missing out on. It’s like a whole other world. Suddenly every designer wants to dress you. It’s like, ‘You look amazing! Please, choose a dress. Have a bag. And what about shoes?’ I mean, wow!”
On the 2012 Palm Springs International Film Festival red carpet, Octavia Spencer informed reporters that “no designers are coming to [her]” for the upcoming Golden Globes because she’s “just a short, chubby girl.”
She said, “It’s hard for me to find a dress to wear to something like this! It’s a lot of pressure, I’ll tell ya.”
When Megan Mullally announced that she’d be hosting the 2019 SAG Awards, she also said, “Looks like I will be buying my dress online though, as per my usual, even though there is literally a 100 percent chance that I will be on camera, because I’M HOSTING IT.”
On Instagram, she continued, “Designers do not send me dresses. I’m online scrmolling through the gowns sections of various websites — which I know how to do pretty well at this point.” She ended up buying herself an Alexander McQueen gown.
Ashley Graham made it known that she couldn’t attend the 2016 Met Gala because she “couldn’t get a designer to dress [her].”
She told the Cut, “You can’t just show up in jeans and a T-shirt.”
Since they couldn’t yet afford to buy their own designer outfits, Beyoncé’s mother and uncle made all of the group’s costumes from scratch. She said, “[They put] so much passion and love into every small detail. When I wore these clothes, I felt like Khaleesi. I had an extra suit of armor. It was so much deeper than any brand name.”
Gabourey Sidibe bought her own dress from Torrid for her first major red carpet event in Cannes because designers decided she was “too fat” for them to dress.
She told Teen Vogue, “Even though we are moving towards more visibility for plus-size people, there is a lot [of] pushback. So it’s important to keep fighting [and] to keep being visible until the conversation changes and [it] is no longer about our bodies because I’m not my body. I’m a whole person.”
In 2020, Jonah Hill pointed out that it was challenging for him to develop a personal sense of style because “clothes aren’t made for people who are overweight to have style.”
He told GQ, “For me, that was a big turning point of realizing: okay, be yourself. You don’t have to be anything you don’t want to be. And if you’re really interested in fashion, then you should be, don’t push that away. Lean into it.”
Many designers refused to dress Bebe Rexha for the 2019 Grammy Awards because she didn’t fit a runway size, so in an Instagram video, she said, “If a size 6/8 is ‘too big’…then I don’t wanna wear your fucking dresses.”
After her post, many A-list designers reached out to the Grammy nominee, and she attended the event in a ruffley Monsoori gown.
After multiple designer brands denied Rachel Bloom’s request for a dress, she purchased her own Gucci gown off the rack and wore it to the 2017 Emmys.
She told E!, “I’ve said in an interview before, ‘Oh, sometimes it’s hard for places to lend me dresses because I’m not, like, a size zero,’ but also, I can afford it, so it’s okay.”
On Twitter, Amber Riley pointed out that, because of the limited options available, she risked seeing other plus-size celebrities “in the same shit” on the red carpet.
“We can’t win,” she added.
During a cover shoot following her weight loss in 2016, Khloé Kardashian pointed out that she “would never have options for clothing” at photo shoots previously.
She told Harper’s Bazaar, “There would always be this attention on Kourtney and Kim, but I was too much work for [stylists] or they had nothing in my size.”
Bryce Dallas Howard went to a department store and bought her own dress for the 2016 Golden Globes because she likes “having lots of options for a size 6 as opposed to maybe one option.”
She told E!, “I just picked it up at Neiman’s this week.”
After “Bodak Yellow” went big, requests from Cardi B’s stylist were rejected “by both high-end designers and Instagram boutiques” because she was “not the It girl,” but Cardi said she didn’t take it personally.
She told Teen Vogue, “I’m not going to turn down an opportunity because they don’t want to let me in, or they just don’t like me in their clothes, period.”
Tom Ford refused to dress Hayden Panettiere for the 2014 Golden Globes because he was only dressing one actor for the event, so she purchased her own Tom Ford dress.
She told People, “It’s like buying a piece of art.”
And finally, even after she was voted the “Sexiest Woman Alive” by Esquire in 2012, “not one designer in town” would loan Christina Hendricks a dress. She said, “They only lend out a size 0 or 2.”
She told the Daily Record, “So I’m still struggling for someone to give me a darn dress!”