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River Island is one of my favourite high street fashion shops. I’ve always admired their clothes… From afar. Even as a teen I was always one or two sizes too big to actually shop there. So the news that they will be releasing almost a hundred plus size items got me really excited. And then came their press release, announcing RI Curve. Here are some tweets that summarise the disappointment better than I can:

RI Curve’s development has taken the exact same trajectory as boohoo.com, Missguided, Dorothy Perkins, Mango and Forever 21’s plus size collections before them: initial excitement, puzzlement at the misuse of body positivity slogans/”real women”/references to curves in their teaser campaigns… And finally, the disappointment when the official announcement comes around, because they only service a smidgen of women beyond size 18. Bonus points if it’s only available in a sprinkle of shops – everyone else has to order online (a.k.a. pay the Fat Tax).

In RI Curve’s case, the collection stops at a size 24 (a US20), and will be available in ‘top stores’ only. So, you guessed it, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to waltz into your local River Island with your head held high and try before you buy.

Only time will tell if they complete the set and end up revealing 75 sad, lifeless imitations of their main range.

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Look, I’ve got no doubts that the team are working as hard as they can on this, that they believe in RI Curve and want it to succeed. And I genuinely think the collection will be fairly trendy, given River Island’s brand. Indeed, the working illustration looks great! (Although blazers and jeans are not my thing.)

But this just cements – for me at least – that there is still such a cognitive dissonance between what fat consumers want vs what the fashion industry are willing to give them.

What does a fashion-conscious fat babe want? They want to wear the same cool, on-trend and downright fabulous shit their friends wear. Surely the logical solution for a fashion retailer looking to harness fatties’ spending power is to introduce larger sizes to the clothes they’re already producing?

But, fashion brands don’t. They won’t – and they insist it’s because they can’t. So they dance like fuck around the issue and act like it’s the same thing.

Personally, I believe their resistance has more to do with brand management than any logistical excuses. Fashion-focused retailers have thin women as their main demographic, for better or worse. That is who they’re looking to please. That is who they are: even in plus size only retail head offices, it’s really rare to see someone who is actually plus sized. And as any fat person who’s walked into a mainstream fashion shop will know, thin women do not welcome you with open arms on the shop floor. (Obviously #notallthinwomen, and all that malarkey. But way, way more often than many think.)

With that in mind, is it any wonder attempts at opening established fashion brands up to big(ger) customers has to be kept separate, and dulled down? Think about it. If your brand rests on a very particular demographic who famously do not want to be associated with fat people, are you going to enable those same fat people to parade about wearing exactly the same outfits? (My god, I wish someone would. That’d be brilliant, wouldn’t it?) If you’re a multi-national retailer, are you going to create a PR nightmare and go up against the likes of Jamie fucking Oliver and fucking Jamelia (lol), to create nice clothes for fat people and ENCOURAGE OBESITY?! No, I guess you wouldn’t.

This is exactly why Beth Ditto’s new collection is so important – there are no restrictions like this. No advertisers or industry bods to consider, or market research featuring solely women who hate themselves to base their final designs on. It’s by fat people, for fat people. It makes all the difference in the world.

Straight size fashion brands want fabulous fatties’ money but they want to assuage their core customers’ fatphobia at the same time? Maybe they’d be better off leaving us to it. I’d rather that than one patronising, separate-and-inequal collection after another.

All in, or out.


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Aaaaaaaaargh. There’d been rumblings for a while about reigning supreme fat babe Beth Ditto designing her own independent collection, but I didn’t let myself believe it. I just couldn’t deal with the disappointment if it never happened, you know?

BUT IT’S REAL. It’s happening! In February! There’s a website and everything! The collection was announced today with pictures of Beth looking incredible in her limited edition t-shirt with Jean Paul Gaultier (more on that later) and I’m so excited I think I might be sick. Also, please can we get the lowdown on that make up look as soon as?

I know that Beth has mentioned in interviews about the limitations of her Evans collections and how she wasn’t 100% happy with the process. Evans are a giant retailer, so it’s understandable that some amendments had to be made. What blows my mind is that Beth’s two Evans collections pushed SO MANY boundaries for plus size fashion, even with those limitations. Can you imagine what will be on offer now that she’s got full creative freedom?

The fact that she’s reached out to fat activists to be part of the team is also awesome. Specifically Jessica (Tangled Up In Lace, and the inventor of the fatkini), who remains an inspiration for when I’m getting dressed each day. I can’t think of many people who are more deserving of a gig like this. As it says in i-D magazine, the collection is “by us, for us” and by getting the fat community involved, it really feels like it.

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As for the t-shirt itself, some have talked about it being problematic and/or boring, which, I mean, okay, but I don’t see why some are writing off the entire collection based off one t-shirt. This is a PR move and a savvy one at that. With a Proper Designer(TM) on board, the collection will be taken more seriously by the fashion press. Maybe I’m just bamboozled to see a genuine collaboration with an A+ fashion designer, I don’t know.

MOST IMPORTANTLY: the t-shirt (and, I’m assuming, the collection itself) fits up to size 32. In an age when every new “plus size boutique” launches with their backs turned on our size 26 and over sisters, this is a bold move. I’m for it.

What do you reckon? Have any of you gone and bought one? If so, TELL ME EVERYTHING.


Outfit

Image: Me (short, fat, white-skinned, brunette) stands wearing a faux leather biker jacket, leopard print skirt and boots with my bed and coats hanging on the door behind me.

PU Biker Jacket: So Fabulous! by Very (gifted for review)
Leopard Skirt: ASOS Curve
Boots: Evans
Glasses: Glasses Direct (also gifted)
Black Jumper: Peacocks
Turquoise Fake Fur Collar (below): ASOS

Could I look any more miserable?! Oh dear. I was actually rather happy when taking these photos as well!

I’ve been attempting to cut down on reviewing items because I feel guilty, but certain people I just can’t say no to! I’ve been a massive fan of Very for years and years – I think at one point at least half my wardrobe was from them. I’ve gone backwards and forwards on their plus size range, So Fabulous, over the years but recently it’s taken a turn for the better. They got in touch and offered me an item to review, and I chose to indulge  in this lovely faux leather biker jacket.

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Image: me, as before in the same place and same clothes, with an added turquoise fake fur collar

Biker jackets have been one of those things that I resisted for a long time before finally thinking it was something I could wear! I first started seeing them on uber scenesters about four years ago but never thought it’d be for me, but I’ve since had a change of heart. I’m glad I waited because honestly, this jacket is pretty damn lovely! It’s buttery soft and so warm – even warmer than my coat! – and there is so much detail which you don’t normally get on plus size items. I got a 22 even though my size is more of a 24 now, and it fits perfectly. Having read the reviews on their site, a couple of people had problems with it fitting right on a large bust, but as I don’t have that problem it sits really well. The only snag, literally, was a couple of loose threads. That’s it! And I can snip those off no problem. So yes, I’m a very happy customer!

For those of you not in the UK, they recently opened up Very.com so you’ll be able to shop from the US, as well!

As well as the So Fabulous range, I’ve also bought and worn a lot of items from South (up to UK24) and Love Label (up to UK20). Very do have a lot of celebrity and designer collections in their straight size range, and I’d love to see a plus size collaboration at some point – maybe they can take in Beth Ditto?


Evans blogger brunch AW11

Bloggers together, smiling for the camera! Left to right: LaCara, Carla, Claire, Me, Laura, Rosie, Steph and Naomi. (Photo courtesy of Evans)

Oh, so bloody much for updating more frequently this month, eh? Being busy and then putting your back out for a weekend will do that, though. I just hope I’m well enough to attend Big Beach Bums on Saturday.

As you’ve seen around the blogosphere, a few of us were lucky enough to get invited down to Evans‘ AW11 presentation to see what they have planned. It’s always really exciting to have a nose at clothes (and in my case, figure out a budget plan which will enable me to save up and buy as much as possible when it comes out!). And lovely to meet the team and of course, hang out with other bloggers who I love dearly! This time around I met Laura and Rosie, who were adorable, as well as catching up with Carla, Steph, LaCara, Claire and Naomi!

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Image: The Evans AW showroom. Two mannequins stand to the left, one in a grey print wrap dress, and another a black tunic dress with large polka dot sleeves. There are two framed giant campaign photos leaning against the wall, and a table to the right featuring shoes and jewellery.

There’s not much I can add that hasn’t already been said by everyone, but I’ll ramble on anyway. The most exciting piece of news for me was that Evans and Style369 will be split, so that Style369 becomes a younger, faster, trendier look, and Evans will be more mature, classic and better quality*. They also told us about a dramatic shift in focus for Evans which they came up with after interviewing 10,000 customers, and finding that for most, clothes shopping is a terrifying experience for them. What they have planned is incredibly ambitious, and I think will be brilliant if they pull it off. Another little bit of news is that while there won’t be another Beth Ditto range (sob!) they are working in collaboration with another celeb – but it’s top secret so they couldn’t tell us who it is! Bets at the ready, yeah?

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Image: The Style369 section. Two mannequins to the right wear 40's style dresses, one with black and white polka dots, one with polka dots and floral patter. To the left is a rail containing the S369 samples which are very colourful.

I think all of us at the brunch would probably identify more with Style369 as we’re all about fast, colourful fashion and their rail was definitely my favourite. It included items from a range with Max C, who I absolutely love, including some gorgeous 1940s and art deco inspired dresses, and stuff like sheer floral crop tops. Naomi also asked the head designer Lisa Marie whether they would expand their sizes to 32 and the answer was YES. I’m really pleased about that!

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Image: My favourite Evans mannequin outfit. A pleated rust maxi skirt worn as a dress, with statement necklace, panelled black fake fur coat belted with a black leather waist belt, and big black boots. Look was inspired by Stevie Nicks!

That said, there were lots of things in the Evans collection that I loved too – fitted shift dresses, fake cur coats, military boots, and sparkly jumpers that were gorgeous. Although I did admit on the day that I was glad the Style369 rail was there, as if it wasn’t then I may have been  bit disappointed. But thankfully that’s not the case ;) I really hope they all make it to store!

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Image: Mannequins in the Evans AW showroom. Including a grey ruched empire line dress with sleeves and a long necklace; a grey and rust floral print maxi dress and charcoal boyfriend jacket; and a roll neck beige jumper over a maxi skirt the same pattern as the maxi dress.

It was just a lovely day and really nice to speak to the team again, even if I did end up chewing Lisa Marie Peacock’s ear off about music for ages. After that we headed off for pizza as it was Carla‘s birthday! We really do have such a laugh, and I hope we can all meet up again soon!

What do you guys think of the photos and news?

*ETA – the references to age were their words, not mine! There’s no age limit on either set of clothes. Wear what you like, age is about as relevant to style as size is (i.e. not one iota).

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All images courtesy of nowfashion.com

I am trying to concentrate on applying for jobs instead of updating the blog, but I had to share these pics with you. Beth Ditto opened and closed the Jean Paul Gaultier SS11 show – the look was based on punk rock, with Beth being flanked by succession of Joan Jetts. Her dress was 3-D, with glasses supplied in the show invitation. IT WAS AWESOME. Thanks Marie for the heads up!

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Sure, it may be tokenism – although JPG has featured models of a similar size before. In fact, I’ve just remembered he practically single-handedly launched the careers of the beautiful Velvet D’Amour AND a certain Ms Renn.

But even if it is just a small token, it’s still really, really awesome to see. Go Beth!

UPDATE: I am such a duh brain. Crystal Renn actually walked too:

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As well as the gorgeous plus model Marquita Pring (thanks Marie, again!) She looks wonderful:

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All in all, I really like this collection – will most likely be featuring it in a round up soon.

Now back to the job applications…


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London Fashion Week can fark off. As you all must know, on Friday the second Beth Ditto at Evans collection launched, both online and in two London stores. The fatosphere exploded when the website went live on Thursday evening, earning the #dittowatch hashtag and numerous blog posts. Since I was commuting distance to Marble Arch I couldn’t not go and check it out, could I?

As it turned out, Evans’ PR were in the store interviewing and photographing people, so I was featured on Evans’ blog and VIDEOED OMG along with the lovely Marie about our thoughts on the collection! Sadly I had to run before Nicolette and Sakina arrived to interview Beth for Vogue Curvy (Speaking of which, I have a couple of stores lined up for VC and should be shooting in the next few weeks, hurray!), as I was off for job interviews before meeting Messy Carla for an adventure which will be revealed in another post!

MY THOUGHTS ON THE COLLECTION:

  • Much more subdued in colour than the 1st – BUT, the garments themselves are actually more catwalk-inspired and genuinely fashionable than before.
  • The range is so, so much better in person than online. I wasn’t very keen having looked at the site, but in real life they really do look good.
  • There’s an emphasis on garment shape and silhouette in this collection, which wasn’t present last time. It’s always nice to see a hint of tailoring in plus sizes!

The biggest disappointment is the lack of representation for the butches. Tamsin asked me to see if there was anything, perhaps a good pair of jeans or a cool shirt, but most of the range is ultra girly. A few things are slightly less femme: the unisex hanky hem top, the polka dot t-shirt, hooded cape, high-waisted jeans and the lightning bolt jumper, but the majority of the collection is very, very much on the feminine side. I know that Beth herself is absolutely a femme, and that a person’s sexuality shouldn’t be a key part of their designs. But it does feel sad that someone who is such a prominent figure in the queer community has side-stepped quite a few of her fans and friends.

Overall, while it’s not as BOOM!POW! as the last Beth Ditto collection and slightly more pedestrian, it is still the most dynamic and unique clothing range available in sizes UK28 – 32. Sure, ASOS Curve has stolen a bit of Beth’s thunder since its launch, but those of us around the UK18-22 mark can’t just assume “plus size” begins at 14 and ends at 26. There are a great deal of people who need bigger sizes than that, and who are even more isolated when it comes to expressing themselves through clothes than most. They shouldn’t be forgotten!

The only niggle I have with the collection being more down to earth than previously is that it feels less like a super duper special range, and more like the type of clothes Evans should be making all year round anyway.

As most of you buying the range are overseas, I thought it’d be a good idea for me to try stuff from the range and see how it fitted – who knows, it might help you! For your information, I’m 5’1″ and a size UK20-UK22. Oh, and I have tiny boobs and a massive bum. The much more curvalicious Em went down yesterday to see how they fit her hourglass frame, so keep an eye on her blog! If you have any questions, feel free to comment here or tweet me!

Click the elipsis for my dressing room pics:

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Some fairly interesting bits and bobs are happening around the plus sized fashion world at the moment…

The Second Coming of Ditto

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Image courtesy of evans.co.uk

The most exciting event for us fatshionistas is upon us! Beth Ditto’s second range for Evans launches this Friday – at a pop up store in Selfridges, no less. Yes, THAT Selfridges, which stopped stocking plus sizes as they weren’t right for the store’s image. Change of heart, darlings?

I’m so excited, the photos look great and all the clothes seem very inspired by current trends albeit with a bit less all out glitz. Check out Val‘s blog which has a scan of some of the collection featured in Look magazine. My favourite items are the black and red dress, as well as the velvet drape dress. Gorgeous.

I’ll be heading down to Selfridges at some point on Friday afternoon to try on absolutely everything – let me know if you’re heading down!

NYFW’s First Plus Sized Fashion Show

Also rather impressive is One Stop Plus cornering a little of New York Fashion Week for their own catwalk show. It sounds to me like a slightly “equal but different” affair, and the idea of a runway show having a red carpet is a little OTT in my opinion. To be bluntly honest, I’m concerned that it’s more about showcasing plus size models than it is about actual high fashion. If I were to choose between having runway shows at major fashion weeks with bigger models in drab clothes, or a lack of representation at fashion weeks but a great deal of current, trendy and edgy clothing, I will always take the latter option.

But, it’s still ultimately a positive thing and I look forward to checking it out.

Models, Models, Models!

All this talk of models… There have been plus sized model competitions aplenty of late, with two sets of finalists recently announced. Check out the Simply Be model competition finalists and Torrid’s House of Dreams finalists – best of luck, ladies!

VIVA FAT VEGAS!!!!

Lastly but not at all least, Sarah and Stiletto Siren have teamed up to organise another fatshion blogger event this weekend, in Las Vegas! Check out their blog with all the info here, it sounds incredible and I believe they put it together in about three weeks? Amazing work, wish I could be there with you all.

That said, there *may* be something in the pipeline here in Londontown, but sshhhh. I will only say: try and keep November free…


Thanks so much for your lovely comments on my last post. I actually wasn’t trying to attack a specific person at all, it’s something I keep reading and had been planning to write about for a long time. But clearly a lot of you are quite upset so I understand that that post was the one place you could discuss recent events.

Enough of the ~drama though, here’s an outfit which I’ve practically lived in, I love it so much:

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ASOS Curve Military Cape

Simply Be Lace Dress
Evans boots

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I was kindly sent the cape from ASOS Curve to review, and I’ve rarely removed it from my person since! Apart from washes and sleeping, of course. It’s a lot longer on me than it is on the model, but I actually prefer this length as it gives a lot of cover. It’s a lovely quality knit, heavy without being uncomfortable. I wore  it to Offset festival this weekend I can honestly say it’s great for keeping toasty on autumn nights!

I teamed it with my Simply Be lace dress as I like the hint of lace peeping through underneath. I guess this is the most “on trend” outfit I have at the moment, although my Evans biker boots are absolutely battered. Perfect for festivals, though.

Speaking of Evans, Val and Em have found out some info about the latest Beth Ditto for Evans range: apparently it’s dropping in TWO WEEKS, and will be on sale at Selfridges, breaking their recent ban on plus-sizes. Interesting…


What is it with me, black belts and the colour purple recently? But yes, this dress. I had no intentions of buying this dress – in the photos and even on the hanger, I thought it looked odd and unworkable. I, like every other fatshionista on planet earth, was waiting with fervour for the Infamous Domino Dress instead. The day of the BD launch I took an extra half hour of my lunch break to run down to Marble Arch and try everything on (and I mean everything!) starting with That One. As it turned out, It fitted extremely awkwardly – too long in the body and sleeves and I, being a member of the IBTC, had nothing to fill the chest out with. The silhouette was all wrong as a result.

I hadn’t given any regard to the look of the swirl dress from the promo shots. On the hanger it did intrigue me, and once I’d slipped it on I just felt really good, like I’d been introduced to a future best friend. It’s loose, but because the fabric is so heavy it’s like it’s giving you a lovely, warm hug. It skims the body but doesn’t drown it, which is so rare in plus size clothing, I’m sure you’ll agree. And I had been hankering after a similar hood style for ages, but to no avail. And pockets! I love pockets. These are just the right length to keep my hands out of trouble.

Of course, I snapped it up. Along with another dress which I’ll leave for another post. Do I regret not persevering with That Dress? Not really. If anything I kind of got sick of looking at it after a while! I do regret not buying the cropped biker jacket, which has now sold out, so I’ll have to live vicariously through Val and Xtina!

Hooded dress: Beth Ditto for Evans
Black top: Peacocks
Belt: New Look
Boots: Schuh