'I am not fatphobic': Local brand owner says he will use XL-3XL models who look like 'desired state'

The tagline is "For those taking control of their lives."

A local brand owner came under fire after sharing a TikTok video explaining why his brand does not use plus-size models.

Khai, who owns lifestyle apparel brand Okvmi, said he had been receiving that question a lot.

In the video posted on Dec 12, he said: "Just a heads up, I am not fatphobic or fat-shaming anybody. This is just from a brand owner's point of view."

@_khaivnl Replying to @Bing Greg is my younger self. #business #plussizemodel #okvmiapparel #models ♬ LET GO - Central Cee

Khai explained that Okvmi's sole purpose is to get its "dream customer" from his current state to his "dream state" and not his "worse outcome" state.

In the video, the worse outcome is depicted as a "loser, out of shape, broke" while the dream state is described as an "in-shape, financially-free, high-value guy".

"Which is why we use models who are already almost there," said Khai.

In response, several TikTok users posted their own videos criticising Khai's video.

One criticism is that by disclaiming he was fatphobic, Khai knew he would come across as fatphobic.

"He goes on to say that being fat is the worse outcome," said TikTok user doc.ho. "Why is being fat the worse outcome? That is fatphobia!"

@doc.ho #stitch with @Khai when you say your brand isn’t fatphobic but goes on to be fatphobic. #fatphobia #singapore #okvmiapparel ♬ LET GO - Central Cee

Others questioned why Khai made a whole video about not using plus-sized model when Okvmi was selling sizes up to 3XL.

@aliciatadah #stitch with @Khai my 2 cents  #bodyneutrality ♬ LET GO - Central Cee

TikTok user nurzatiman said: "What you are doing is you are alienating a segment of your customer base just because they don't fit the look or brand guideline of what you think your customer should be."

@nurzatiman #stitch with @Khai ♬ Lo-Fi analog beat - Gloveity

Another common criticism is that Khai's video has attracted "misogynistic, fragile-ego male commentators who think fat people are not worthy".

TikTok user Krysta Joy said that the video has created "this extremely toxic space of people being fatphobic and just disgusting" in its comment section.

@krystajoy #stitch with @Khai ♬ original sound - Krysta Joy

In response to the backlash, Khai posted another video the next day, saying: "This is not an apology video or me trying to play the victim because I stand by what I said. And no, I'm not afraid of getting cancelled. The only person that can cancel me is god.

"Firstly, I understand the comment was made so that the person who wants to wear a larger size can see how it fits on the model. I apologise for misinterpreting the comment.

"Secondly, I still believe that for someone to be in control of their life, they have to be physically fit, mentally disciplined and financially free."

For those "who are comfortable with where they are and not improving in the three aspects of your everyday life", Khai said: "You are not my target audience."

He continued: "Yes, we do sell 3XL clothes, so that people I mentioned earlier can wear our clothing while taking control of their life."

When contacted by Stomp, Khai said: "We will not be using plus-size models in the future. We will however be using XL-3XL models that look like the desired state."

@_khaivnl Replying to @Harjaz Singh Okami. For those taking control of their lives. #okvmi #okvmiapparel #gymtok #hustle ♬ Creepin' - Metro Boomin & The Weeknd & 21 Savage

In response to a comment that he was "in a position of privilege", Khai said: "Bro, my dad is a technician, bringing back less than $2.5k a month to support a family of five. My mum is a housewife. I've been on a financial assistance scheme since primary school and I have been working since Sec 2 so that I can support myself.

"Unless you are mentally challenged or you're really, really ill, you have no excuse to say that you can't get anywhere without hard work and hustle. If you're lazy, just say you're lazy."

Khai also shared on Instagram that despite it being considered "toxic masculinity", his brand "still believes that it's the man's job to provide for and protect his loved ones".

He told Stomp that the brand is called "Okami" but is legally registered as Okvmi.

@beefb0urguign0n #stitch with @Khai often having a different opinion that is “controversial” gets you cancelled, but this becomes counterproductive because it is then a war of words instead of engaging with the core issue : WHAT IS FATPHOBIA? and why is it problematic? #foryou #singapore #fyp #fatphobia ♬ Creepin' - Metro Boomin & The Weeknd & 21 Savage