Right. A lot of people I know IRL and my family read my blog. I’m going to whack a disclaimer on this video: Mum, Gloria, Brian – you’re going to absolutely hate and be offended by this, haha. Probably best if you don’t click play.

Everyone else… well. I cried little tears of joy watching Gisela Ramirez‘s fashion show in full this morning. It is everything I wish all fashion was about: fun, not giving a shit, camaraderie. Big Bum Jumble’s fashion show last year had a similar vibe, but because this is an independent designer with her own collection it feels so special.

All of the clothes (apart from Kelli Jean Drinkwater’s incredible skirt) are available from the website in sizes 14 – 28 (AUS sizing). There’s 50% off at the moment, too! If I wasn’t dirt poor I’d have one of everything, in every colour.


P1030569

Image: Me, short, fat, pale skinned and with mid length dark hair. I'm wearing a black top, black & white patterned skirt, black cardigan with pearls, black tights & black boots. I have my hands on my hips and my legs apart. I am in my garden in front of black wood fence and various foliage/ornaments.

Hello hello hello! This week has been quite fun. Managed to see a lot of my favourite people, and adopt a new person into that category in the form of Kim! She’s on an impromptu trip to London so we met up for a drink and to look at artz. She’s too cute! We’re gonna go hang out with Carla on Monday too, so yay! It makes me so happy having met so many other bloggers now, I can honestly say I’ve loved every last one of you. You’re all GAWJUSS. Shall we talk about today’s outfit?

P1030570

Image: Me, same as before, doing a similar pose in my garden while looking pensive.

Top: Peacocks
Pearl cardigan: New Look
Skirt: Domino Dollhouse
Necklace: Birthday present
Boots: Evans

First of all, I want to apologise to Tracy. I’ve always been a huge supporter of Domino Dollhouse because it’s just so outrageous and kitsch and alternative, and then I use one of their lovely skirts in a bog standard outfit like this! Sometimes I wonder why I have a style blog any more. Maybe it’s my severe lack of confidence, but I feel so plain and ordinary when it comes to all the amazing fashion blogs I read. I can’t keep up!

What’s also sad is that while this outfit looks totally surreptitious, I had to muster up a fair bit of confidence to wear it out. Because I don’t have a defined waist, I never tuck my tops into skirts but because of the attached bow, I had to. So I was apprehensive wearing it out, even with the cardigan, and I did receive a few disapproving tuts from old ladies in Romford! Ah well. It’s a nice enough outfit, but sometimes I wish I had a clearer image… I dunno. This has turned into a right self indulgent wank, hasn’t it? I’ll stop now! x


Before the topic itself, I just want to say how saddened I am about the premature passing of model and activist Mia Amber Davis. I didn’t know her myself, just admired from afar. She was a beautiful and brilliant model, but what I loved most was her work for the plus size community and how open and friendly she was with fans, bloggers and up and coming models. She was such a good, positive role model and I am shocked and upset that she lost her life in her prime. Thoughts and condolences go out to her family and loved ones. xx

I am always super excited when a new plus boutique or designer opens, especially if what they do is genuinely fashionable! I’ve been a fan of Gisela Ramirez on tumblr along with, oh, everyone for ages, and when she announced she was creating her own line we all knew it would be pretty special. The website has now launched with items now available to pre-order, along with a stunning lookbook featuring Gisela herself modelling (with the cropped hair) – and I’m not disappointed at all. It’s cool, bright, outrageous and not for the faint at heart. In fact I can imagine the screams if my mum ever saw this…

ramirez3

ramirez

ramirez2

ramirez1

I love the lack of compromise in every piece, and how they’ve been styled. You can absolutely tell it’s been made by a radical fat fashionista for fashion’s sake, rather than purely to make a profit from insecure plus size women. There’s no “we’ll have to tone this down”, no “this should be looser and more opaque” or “no plus size woman in her right mind would wear this”. And then of course there’s the models themselves, who are about as far removed from the bland, slightly-voluptuous-Hollywood-starlet look beloved of most of the industry as you can possibly get. I think it’s because I’ve been privy to a great deal of hand-wringing and lack of compromise recently over the glass ceiling of model sizes (if you’re over a UK18 forget about commercial modelling work – no client, photographer or brand will use you, even plus size/plus size friendly ones. It drives me UP THE WALL) that I am beyond overjoyed at how awesome Gisela and her model friend look. It’s just so good to see bellies, thick thighs and big arms on show and yes they damn well DO look sexy, fierce and just fookin’ amazing.

My favourite items are the sheer sack dresses, which are in about 5 different colours and reversible. I just know they’d be so versatile – they’re 100% silk too, no dodgy polyester there!

Yes, the price is a lot higher than most of us are used to, and some of us will probably balk at them. You have got to bear in mind though, this is an independent designer boutique as opposed to a mass-produced retail brand, so you’re paying for a smaller team and more dedicated craftmanship, y’know? Personally I think it’s totally worth it.

I honestly think she’s done such an amazing job. Gisela’s project, both the clothes themselves and the photos, really nail home to me the idea that we will only see the changes we want to make in plus size fashion if we do it ourselves, rather than waiting for companies to take risks.


All bloggers together

All bloggers together, courtesy of Kirsty

STOP PRESS!!!! Diana’s photos are now up! They look AYMAYZING.

And now for the happy stuff! WOO! For all the other posts and round ups, please check out http://pluslondon.tumblr.com! Let’s start with pics from the day…

Me and Steph, By Ragini

Height difference :'( Me & Steph, by Ragini

Deena, Val, Gaelle-Vanessa and Daphne

Deena, Val, Gaelle-Vanessa and Daphne, by Deena

Me, Donna & Beth, by Amy

Me, Donna and Beth trying on matching dresses, by Amy

Really don't know what's going on here

No idea what's happening! Anika, Katrin, Beth, me and Devon

I was obviously incredibly nervous, as I’ve never done anything remotely like this before. But honestly, the day itself was nigh on perfect. There was an initial scare with the venue when Cherb and Sarah arrived at 11 to find no one there – turns out the staff don’t get there until 2pm on booking days, so they had to wait in the pub. Which is absolutely fine but for those scary 20 mins before I spoke to the venue manager I thought they’d forgotten, and was in a bit of a panic.

Really though, the entire day couldn’t have gone any better than I’d imagined. It was just so lovely to meet all these people I’d spoken to, give them all cuddles and just spend the entire day giggling and chatting. We started out at the Evans in Marble Arch where we tried on everything – unfortunately I had about £20 to my name so couldn’t even buy anything in Primark, our next stop! A lot of us then stopped for coffee in Starbucks – it was just so nice to sit and chat – then off to Hanover Square, although I had to stop everyone mid-walk to point out this:

newiphone 034

French Connection’s new man is someone I used to work with and who knows a lot of my mates, so I delighted in shouting “I KNOW THAT GUY! HE DOES I.T. SUPPORT!!!” at everyone for 10 minutes. To be fair to Dan, he is also a really good musician and has been in some great bands etc etc etc, but the fact that he was tech support at SCEE is way funnier, right?

We then met up with everyone at Hanover Square for more chitchat and photos, which was lovely.

From there, Katrin, Beth and Devon joined me for Indian tapas at Imli, where the waiter apparently tried to woo me by showing me a video of an alien baby on my phone. Um…

After that, Devon, Beth and I went straight to the venue to meet Cherb and Emily, who had already started setting up. My parents turned up a little after me, with literally EVERYTHING: rails, clothes samples from Yours, ASOS Curve, H&M Inclusive and Torrid, hangers, champagne, food and goodie bags in their car! I seriously don’t know what I would have done without them! We all helped get everything set up while Diana and Geoff arrived with their equipment, Cliff and Sharon from Anna Scholz turned up (and Cliff had a tumble down the stairs with his rails, bless him!) as well as Marie from Carmakoma.

Beth, Katrin and Devon in Evans

Beth, Katrin & Devon, by Nefferth

Setting up!

Emily, me, Devon & Marie setting up, by Georgina

Cherb's cupcakes!

Cherb's fab cupcakes! By Val

Champagne, nom!

Champagne courtest of Plus Size Tall, by Marie

When things were about 90% sorted and it was nearly party time I eventually changed into my party dress:

My outfit!

Courtesy of Devon

Thank you so much Torrid for dressing me that evening! I originally declined their offer but they sent all the samples in my size in case I changed my mind… and this dress was AMAZING. I wasn’t particularly trendy on the day or evening, really. But I felt pretty, and that’s more important to me.

Chatting beforehand

Emily, Cherb, me and Devon, by Marie

During the day I wore my Yours Clothing peter-pan collar tunic, with my Simply Be cardigan – wanted to get all the sponsors included! ;)

The event itself was like an absolute whirlwind. At first I greeted everyone with their goodie bags (they’ll be in another post!) but then my friend Emily took over so I could go and mingle. It was so awesome to speak to everyone, although I wish there had been more time as some guests I literally only got to say “hello” to! I did find time to get my photo taken, try on some Anna Scholz, and drink 5 glasses of champagne, haha! I just loved that Cliff and Sharon and Marie were there. I think it made a huge difference having their presence there along with all the lovely samples! Everyone was so, so excited by the clothes and loved trying things on! It was also brilliant for me to talk about the samples from our other sponsors as I’d been keeping them a secret until the night!

Place starts filling up... :)

Crowd shot! By Marie

Epic photobomb is epic!

Photobombing Naomi, Claire, Amy M, Georgina, Wendy and Lauren, by Carla

Theresa, Morgaine & Katie

Theresa, Morgaine & Katie

Emily and I looking busy

Emily and I looking WELL busy, by Beth (i think)

Beth & Katrin

Beth & Katrin (with Marie & Maria in the background) by Carla

The lovely Cliff and Sharon from Anna Scholz

Sharon and Cliff from Anna Scholz, by Devon

Devon and Amy M

Devon & Amy M

Me trying Anna Scholz

Me in Anna Scholz, by Devon

Michelle, Mel & Nadia

Michelle, Mel & Nadia

Carla and Nadia

Carla, who took the photo, with Nadia

Val and Devon

Val & Devon

Cynthia in a Carmakoma gown

Cynthia trying on Carmakoma, by Katie... I think!

Me beaming by the Yours rail, haha!

Me, beaming by the Yours rail, by Ellie

Naomi and Amy S

Naomi and Amy S

Me, Beth, Sharon & Wendy in Anna Scholz!

Me, Beth, Sharon & Wendy, whose pic this is, in our Anna Scholz!

Towards the end everyone rounded up upstairs, and as a surprise Carla introduced me to do a speech and got everyone to applaud me, where I promptly burst into tears. I think the champagne had a bit to do with it, but mostly it was just sheer relief. I was just so relieved everyone seemed happy and having a good time, relief that everything had worked out okay despite previous drama, that sort of stuff. Anyway I think I blubbed a thanks to everyone for coming, and how being part of the blogging community has been a really positive experience for me, and that I was so glad the day had gone well.

After that things began to wind down, Cherb and Emily did ALL the clearing up bless them so it meant I had more time to chat. Once everything was packed up and we waited for a cab, Cherb brought me back a McDonalds chocolate milkshake and we packed up and went home, where I apparently made sex noises in my sleep, and kept hitting Carla in the face as I wasn’t used to sharing a bed.

And… that was it! I still can’t believe I did it, not when I take into account my anxiety issues and depression, etc. I literally can’t leave the house sometimes, and yet I go and do something like this?!

I think more than anything, it completely bowled me over just how positive, supportive and kind everyone was. There were NO egos, pretension or attitudes – we all instantly clicked like we’d been friends for years. It was just amazing. Amanda said it was like a sisterhood, and I really agree with that. I think because we’ve come from a place where we’ve had negativity directed at us because of how we look, we’re all really supportive and non-judgemental to each other, so there’s no bitching or infighting, which I love and makes me feel so proud to be a part of it all. In the end it was about us meeting each other and strengthening the community, rather than celebrating rampant consumerism that people mistakenly believe fashion blogs stand for.

Another thing that made me so happy was my mum meeting a few of you. As you might know, my mum is very big (same height as me and a size 30-32.) She HATES herself, she lives in black and sometimes feels I dress ridiculously for my size. The first thing she mentioned the next day was that “all the guests looked so lovely, they were so bright and colourful and pretty!”. I think it did her the world of good to see so many happy fat girls dressed amazingly in one place, so for that I am very thankful to you guys!

Last of all: I gotta hand it to my sponsors and helpers, I seriously could not have done this without them.

For sponsoring the wonderful venue that was perfect in every way:
Torrid
Simply Be
Yours Clothing

For sponsoring the lovely champers and nibbles:
Plus Size Tall
Dicke Welten

For taking everyone’s pictures and unleashing the models in all of us!
Diana/The Second Floor Studio

For actually coming down to the event with samples and getting to meet everyone:
Anna Scholz
Carmakoma

For sending samples to be viewed by the guests:
ASOS Curve
H&M Inclusive
Yours Clothing
Torrid

For donating gifts, bags and blogger discounts:
Simply Be
Torrid
Carmakoma
Anna Scholz
Jibri (psst, those of you with blogs, please give me your emails!)
Bijou Bijoux
Domino Dollhouse
Re/Action Magazine
NSPCC

For doing the lovely graphics and brochure:
Katrin

For being my designated helpers, contacting sponsors, sorting accommodation & helping publicise the event or even just listen to me panic and whinge!
Val
Carla
Kat
Steph
Sophie

For your organisational expertise/baking industrial amounts of cupcakes/looking after me:
Cherb

For helping me set up and being my assistant on the night/viewing the venue with me & Cherb:
Emily
Jayne

For helping me assemble the bags/taking me to buy the clothing rails/getting the champagne for me/driving everything down/helping set up/putting up with me & my mess:
Mum
Steve
Pete

Okay. I think that’s everyone on the organisational side. My biggest thanks is reserved for everyone who came down and made the whole day a total blast.

YOU.

ARE.

AMAZING.

Goodnight!



Hello everyone!

I am so sorry for the lack of blogging over the Christmas and New Year period, it always tends to be like limbo in Lauren Land. I hope you all had a wonderful new year and that 2011 will be a great year for us all!

I got given a camera for Christmas, woo-hoo! So I thought I’d test it out by rambling on… beware: it’s long, and a couple of swear words slipped out (me? swear?! never!) where I talk about what I’d like to see with regards to plus size fashion in 2011.

Thank you, I love you all! (And I really hope this works!)

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIWtja1NhtE


Before I get to the ~fashun, I absolutely have to share this with you if you’ve not already seen it:

The Fat Body (In)Visible

It’s a documentary by Margitte of Riots Not Diets, featuring Jessica and Keena. I’m reluctant to get into body politics again on the blog, but if you have a spare 30 mins please watch it. It’s just a really lovely documentary, and it brought me to tears. Even though fat bodies are supposedly becoming the norm, it’s still radical to see someone discussing openly what you’re up against, and the correlation between invisibility and hyper-visibility. I found them so articulate, strong, beautiful and empowering. I was a massive fan of all three anyway, but this just cements it!

I suppose it might seem strange to post images of high fashion models now, but to be honest the day that we can see bodies of all sizes celebrated together without politics or objection is a day I look forward to, y’know?

TOP 5 PRE-FALL 2011: BCBG MAX AZRIA

Pre Fall 2011 Faves

I enjoy the colour pops of this collection, but I particularly love how this dress manages to be bold and streamlined at the same time.

TOP 5 PRE-FALL 2011: BURBERRY PRORSUM

Pre Fall 2011 Faves

I think we can all agree the past few seasons for Burberry Prorsum have been one huge home run for Christopher Bailey, right? Seriously, the man can do no wrong. Pre-fall is in a similar vein to AW1011, with lots of military detailing, tweed, and thigh high boots. This look is my favourite because of that beautiful skirt and the half-fur jacket.

TOP 5 PRE-FALL 2011: CHANEL

Pre Fall 2011 Faves

What is happening to me?! Normally I’m allergic to ye olde Lolerfeld and his designing clothes that make anyone wearing them look as ludicrous as he does, but this wasn’t even a proper collection (although at 69 outfits it wasn’t all that smaller than his Spring/Summer extravaganza) and it managed to completely charm me. Inspired by the Byzantine era, gold, jewels and bling were all over the shop but nothing looked cheap or gaudy, it managed to look classic and restrained. This to me a perfect example of what a good black dress would look like dressed up to the nines – and it has pockets!

TOP 5 PRE-FALL 2011: ZAC POSEN

Pre Fall 2011 Faves

I liked a lot of Posen’s pre-fall collection, especially his insistence on leopard print bodycon dresses. I tried to choose one out of them and couldn’t, so plumped for this ladylike suit instead. It is great though, isn’t it? I could have been dull but the pattern and piping make it stand out just enough. Also, the shoot makes me laugh. I still can’t believe old Princess Coldstare from Misshapes is a legit fashion model now. And Crystal Renn is still proving that she is in a complete other league to most models.

TOP 5 PRE-FALL 2011: OSCAR DE LA RENTA

Pre Fall 2011 Faves

I saved the best for last, obviously. Make no mistake: this is how I want to dress every damn day of my life.


Ah, SO MUCH news and general STUFF happening right now! Here’s the rest of it…

m

Well I’ve had a super exciting week this week! My interviews with models Ashley Graham and Quinn Miles have gone live on the Evans blog, woop! I also answered questions for a little Q&A which you can read here. I do go on, don’t I?

Then, yesterday, after months and months of planning I took a whirlwind trip to Manchester to shoot a little video for the lovely team at Simply Be. I won’t say too much at the moment, but don’t fear – I’ll definitely bore you all to death about it once it goes live. As well as my own video, Diane and Gemma will have ones featuring their picks, which I can’t wait to see. It was so much fun!

It’s so weird, though. I honestly, hand on heart, never expected anything like all this when I started my blog, you know? It’s such a great experience for me, and I know that I’m very lucky to have opportunities like these.

fnd

ASflyer

Anna Scholz is hosting a sample sale at her studio on 22nd October. Up to 80% off, wow! Is anyone heading down?

EV_0000350_72dpi

Evans have released pictures and a really cute video about their AW footwear collection. I don’t blame them as they have some amazing shoes and boots this season! Bless ’em.

e

The north are getting their own plus sized jumble sale – the Jelly Belly Jumble! So exciting. It’s taking place on Saturday 20th November at Wrangthorn Hall in Leeds. Join their Facebook group for more info. I’m sure it’ll be just as amazing as the BBJ.

Charlotte Cooper of Obesity Timebomb has alerted me to this awesome event showcasing the premiere of a short film documenting her fierce fatty girl gang, The Chubsters. It’s on Wednesday 27th October at the Portabello Pop Up Cinema. Check out her blog for more info – all are welcome!

There is also a two day Fat Activism and Fat Studies conference taking place in London on 19th and 20th November, for anyone interested in HAES and the more political side of being fat. There is more information on Obesity Timebomb and you can register here.

PHEW! Have a lovely weekend, peeps.


The LDN XL GRRRLS Funzine 2010 is here, YAY! Well done to lovely Meryl for her hard work in putting it together. Check out that cover!

I’ve written an article on shopping in London as a fatty. While I didn’t intend for it to be a complete downer, it unfortunately ended up being one. But if you want to know why, you’re gonna have to read it, yes? I feel so, so honoured to have been a part of it. The articles are beautifully written and personal (apart from mine) muses on navigating life as a plus size woman, queer and straight alike, and there’s even comic strips, puzzles and vegan recipes.

Zines cost £2.66 to the UK incl shipping, and you can order by emailing ldnxlgrrrls at gmail dot com. Meryl ships overseas so do enquire about shipping costs.

There are also two magazines aiming to feature plus size models in the pipeline:

Sara of Lions, Tigers & Sara… is creating a plus size, tall and petite magazine for her dissertation. She explains more about it on her blog, and it sounds like a great idea. She’s also looking for models to be shot for the magazine – by the sounds of it they will be beautiul, high fantasy editorials. How lovely would that be? If you’re interested in taking part, please email her at lions and tigers and sara oh my at gmail dot com.

( hips ) is the brainchild of Tiffany, and hopes to be an almost radically body-positive magazine. I absolutely love what they want to achieve:

  • ( hips ) wants to educate its readers about body image.
  • ( hips ) wants to take back “beauty” and redefine it.
  • ( hips ) wants to celebrate women who love their bodies.
  • ( hips ) wants to promote a healthy self-image for women of all ages.
  • ( hips ) wants all women to feel beautiful, valued and respected.
  • ( hips ) wants to foster a community where women of every size and shape feel beautiful, valued and respected.

    For more information check out their page here, which is a competition to get funding from Pepsi. Please, please vote!

Lastly (but certainly not least), the Centre for Appearance Research are looking for models to take part in a photoshoot in November. Here is their press release:

The Centre for Appearance Research at the University of the West of England is looking for women sizes 16 plus, aged 18-27, to get their photos taken in Bristol in early November. The photo shoot aims to celebrate beauty in all shapes and sizes and the photographs will be used in research and other materials that aim to explore beauty, body image and the media. You will get your hair and makeup done by a professional makeup artist, a free digital copy of the photos which will be shot by a professional photographer and be paid £60 for your time.

Recently, the airbrushing of models in the media has generated widespread political, media and consumer attention. There have also been calls for the use of models that reflect reality and have different body shapes and sizes. While industry has argued that airbrushing and being thin is necessary to sell products, others argue that images of thin models contribute to unrealistic beauty ideals and negatively harm women’s psychological and physical wellbeing. Researchers at the Centre for Appearance Research are currently trying to unravel this debate by exploring to explore the impact of airbrushing and perfected images on appearance concerns and body image. You can be part of this exciting research by taking part in this Any Size Fashion Model Shoot!

If you are interested in taking part in the model shoot please send an email to ruth@picadordesign.co.uk with a clear, up to date image of yourself and details of your height and dress size.

This sounds like a decent idea, although I think a lot of how shoots with non-models (I am lothe to utter the phrase ‘real women’) turn out is due to the photographers and artistic direction. Most shoots I’ve seen using members of public play on their normality, which in my opinion is why they tend to fail… but still, this has potential to be a very interesting project. I might take part myself actually! Let me know if you’re taking part.


BDdesktop

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:

Continue reading