Image: me mid-pose, in my bright prink and yellow ice cream print dress.
This post has been many months in the making, I keep putting it off and putting it off – there’s so much I want to say that it feels insurmountable. But it’s getting ridiculous now, so I’m going to attempt to muddle through what is, pretty much, the pinnacle of my time as a plus size/fatshion/whatever blogger.
In November of last year, I got an email from Simply Be. This isn’t unusual as I’ve been to a few of their events, and am in contact with the team there (they’re all lovely) – but this time, they wanted to know if I was interested in taking part in a blogger collection, and designing an outfit.
From there, I went up to Manchester for a meeting with the team, which included their buyer Natalie, and Mark the designer. Everyone was so lovely, as you can imagine! They emphasised that they wanted us to be as bold as we could – they didn’t want us to water anything down or worry about whether things would sell, etc. Then each of us (myself, Laura and Georgina) talked about what ideas we had. I brought up a sketchbook I’ve had for years, which I sometimes doodle designs on that I swear I’ll make when I learn to sew. I also created a mood board on pinterest here:
Image: a screengrab of the colourful and kitsch inspiration I had for my dress.
I wanted something kitsch and colourful. I have a real problem when it comes to prints, as you can probably tell. If anyone hears of a Prints Anonymous group, by all means, let me know! I wanted something that the badass babes of tumblr and in my own real life would be proud to wear and put their own stamp on. At the same time, I wanted it to be accessible and wearable in every day if needs be – a knit fabric (also so it could stretch and those above a size 32 could wear it), light and an easy shape. I considered an a-line shape and initially was against the skater shape – but I suit that shape so much, and so eventually I decided to go for it even if it’s a bit ubiquitous at the moment!
After the meeting, I kept in touch with Mark who sent me over possible print options. We’d talked about heart print, lightning bolt print and lip print, but nothing seemed quite right. And then he sent me this:
A mock up of the dress shape and possible patterns, including the final ice cream print in pink and yellow.
As soon as I saw it, I knew. As much as I liked the green and pink, the pink and yellow just popped so much more. It was just… perfect! I mean, look at the fabric swatch from later! ARGH!
Image: a close up of the fabric swatch.
After that was finalised, we were kept in the loop of how things were progressing manufacturing-wise, and later myself, Laura and Em (George sadly had to drop out – we missed her, but it was so she could do the awesome Evans campaign so yay!) for a follow up to try the test garments and iron out any changes that needed to be made before final production.
The next time we all met up, it was shoot day. With the final dresses. Aaaah!
Image: left to right Laura’s dress; my dress; Em’s dress on the rail.
Each of us was made up then shot individually over the course of the day. I have to be completely honest here: the team were absolutely lovely and wonderful, but I found shooting really difficult. I know that might sound odd since I have a website full of photos taken of myself, but the difference is that when I take outfit photos I’m in my bedroom by myself. My camera’s on a self-timer and that’s it. So to go from that to having a team of people photographing me in the middle of Hoxton was quite a departure! Em also touched on abuse she received, and I also got nasty comments from men in vans, schoolboys and various office workers. I’m not strong like Em, so I didn’t answer back. To the one girl who whispered “you look beautiful” as you walked past though, whether you meant it or not, thank you!
Image: getting “touched up” in the street by the lovely MUA.
Image: the crew. Look at all that equipment!
The shoot and how I look in it isn’t really the point, though – what I’m most excited about is seeing other awesome fatties wearing it and how you’re all going to style it! There’s also going to be a launch party that bloggers and possibly customers can attend, so more info on that when it comes. I can’t WAIT!
I really still can’t get my head around the fact that this has happened. It’s SO mind-blowing! Hannah, Natalie, Mark and the Simply Be team have been so, so amazing. I literally can’t thank them enough. And I’m so happy I got to do this with women I consider my friends as well as fellow bloggers: Laura, Em and George. I love Laura and Em’s dresses as well, and I’ve seen their photos and they look stunning! I’ll be buying both of them, for sure.
The dresses will be available in June. It’ll be in sizes 14-32 (UK). I really hope you like what I’ve come up with. <3