KOOKAÏ: Do Better

I was scrolling through my ‘For You’ page on Tik Tok the other day, as I do regularly, and I came across this Tik Tok. 

As soon as I heard this girl explaining her experience in this clothing store, I felt like I was there with her. The Mean Girls reference was so damn accurate. Plenty of other women chimed in with their experiences in the comments of the video (and in a question box I added to my Instagram story) as well.

Before I talk on this topic I want to make a very clear disclaimer that these opinions are my own, and the comments included are people’s own opinions. Not everyone has the same shared experience and I am aware that some people may be piggybacking on other’s comments, however we cannot deny the amount of people who have felt the same way while shopping at KOOKAÏ. 

For those following along from other countries, you may be asking what or who KOOKAÏ is. Taken from their Australian website, “KOOKAÏ is an Australian owned women’s fashion label, defined by an essence of femininity, confidence, allure and independent style.” They state, “KOOKAÏ remains true to its origins in providing a collection infused with Parisian chic, and continuing to provide an opportunity for women to embrace their individuality and the power of expression through their wardrobe.” 

Looks good right? They have their own sizing system and it includes – sizes 0, 1 and 2. The standard Australian size equivalents are provided in the screenshot below. The biggest size they carry (1 of only 3 exclusive sizes) is an Australian size 12. 

The KOOKAÏ Sizing Guide found on the KOOKAÏ website.

I understand there are stores that cater to petite women, and others that cater to “plus size/curvy” women, but nowhere on the website does it state that KOOKAÏ only caters to petite women (contrary to comments on the original Tik Tok video stating KOOKAÏ was originally made for petite women). 

FYI, petite refers to height, not weight anyway. 

Definition found on liveaboutdotcom.

So, the argument that there are other stores that cater to larger women and KOOKAÏ doesn’t need to cater to these women doesn’t really stand here. Might I add, one of the only reasons “plus size/curvy” clothing stores exist is because a lot of mainstream clothing stores don’t carry these sizes in the first place. 

Anyways, moving forward, I conducted my own research to find out what the average Australian woman’s size is. I found that, in 2017-2018, the average waist circumference for women aged 18 and over was 88cm. Using the Sewing Patterns Online dress size conversion chart, I discovered that the average waist circumference of an Australian woman roughly equates to an Australian size 16-18.

The Sewing Patterns Online dress size conversion chart found on the Sewing Patterns Online website.

 If we then check back to KOOKAÏ’s size guide, the largest waist circumference they offer is 74-78cm, or a size 12. 

KOOKAÏ: Do Better.

Furthermore, not only is the sizing not inclusive of the average Australian woman, it is alleged that some of their staff have been judgemental and rude to people that don’t fit their size range.

Here are some comments of peoples’ experiences in KOOKAÏ stores. Once again, a disclaimer for legal purposes: these peoples’ opinions are their own. I am not able to validate their accuracy and/or credibility.

Comment 1:

They are THE WORST. I walked in and before I could even start looking she said, “Just letting you know that nothing in here will fit you.”

Comment 2: 

Yes this happened to me. I’m a size 8 and the lady looked me up and down and goes, “Oh no, we don’t do plus size.”

Comment 3:

Went there once and have not had the self esteem to enter again. They made me feel so low.

Comment 4: 

I once bought a dress there and the saleswoman asked if I’d tried it on and I said, “Yes, it fits,” and she said, “Are you sure?”

Comment 5:

[They have] pretty stuff, but I’m not a size 6 so I don’t even bother looking anymore.

Comment 6:

I’m a fairly average size 12/14 and feel so uncomfortable even walking into that store.

These are just a few of the comments among many that had similar experiences. To bring some balance to this article, here are some comments I did find that included positive comments about the store. 

Comment 1:

Can safely say the girls at the Parramatta store are so nice and I always feel fine walking in! Haven’t been to any others though, so I don’t know.

Comment 2:

This makes me so sad because they’ve always been so nice to me, but it’s probably just because I’m a size 6.

Comment 3:

I’ve literally never experienced this and I’m a size 14-16.

I’ve worn KOOKAÏ clothes before, and I have never faulted their quality. Being the size I am now though, I wouldn’t be able to fit into most of their stuff. I feel the same way a lot of other girls feel while shopping at KOOKAÏ, that if you’re over a size 10, you feel uncomfortable and shamed for even having the audacity to step foot in the store. 

KOOKAÏ needs to do better. For starters, the size range needs to accurately reflect the average Australian woman. Secondly, HR needs to investigate why so many women are having similar negative interactions and feelings when dealing with KOOKAÏ employees. 

If they do what they say they do, “provide an opportunity for women to embrace their individuality and the power of expression through their wardrobe”, they should allow the average Australian woman to do just that. 

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