Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Plus Size Fashion and Walking the Walk-With Polyvores

Size acceptance and diversity are extremely important to me and I am doing what I can to try to improve things in that area for other plus size women as a writer, stylist, activist and designer.

Then why, oh, why do I feature and discuss and review "skinny chick" fashion and post photos of skinny models and support designers that do not make clothes for us?

Because I also love fashion. If they don’t know we are interested in REAL fashion, why would they cater to us? Why would they see us as a market if they believe we are perfectly happy with Lane Bryant, Walmart and Torrid as the alpha and omega of our clothing options?

I don’t know about EVERY plus size woman in the country, but I am certainly NOT satisfied with just those options.

They do what they can with their talent and price point. But what they can, is NOT what I want or like most of the time. And the plus ranges available at the very high end stores like Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, are too OLD and BORING too. The best they offer is Marina Rinaldi and Anna Scholtz and Eileen Fisher and those are clothes that are kind of ok if you are an office exec, a suburban mom or MY mom, but I want hip, I want hot and I want the SAME OPTIONS AS THE SKINNY CHICKS!! CAPICE?

So it’s like I have to pick my fights. Either cute or quality. And that is crap because I want everything. I want Diane Von Furstenberg. I want Marc by Marc Jacobs. I want See by Chloe and I want Thomas Wylde. I want Chanel and Lanvin and Rodarte. RIGHT NOW.

The issue with plus size fashion is that it lacks imagination, it lacks design and it lacks AMBITION. Mostly, it is sad and apologetic and temporary. Clothes only meant to do until you loose those pesky pounds.

What if you don’t want to loose the pounds? What is you NEVER loose the pounds? Should you accept to look like a Grandma in Boca or a potato sack or wear second rate design because you believe you don’t deserve the cute clothes the skinny chicks wear? SOD THAT.

I am surely not the only person in the whole big planet who can do something about that. It is like plus size fashion is always lagging 2 years in style and trends behind "skinny chick" fashion. And I am sorry, it’s like I feel split. As an editor, I can offer fashion-fashion or plus-size fashion and I am doing my darndest to build a bridge between both. Since a compromise, stylish, trendy, hip, high-quality, high-design clothes for a younger, hipper market hardly exists, I pimp the living beegeezus of the ones available and then promote the skinny chick clothes that I think would look good on plus size and bridge women, particularly on those with my weird, completely impossible hourglass body type, until I am done with school, show at Fashion Week, and find backing for my line. Whichever happens first and in whichever order to fill the existent gap. I can only juggle so many things at the same time and it is VERY difficult to try to change and save the world all by myself with NO money except the one I funnel away from food, from a little appartment in San Diego. I am doing it, but gosh darn it it is HARD. Even bloody Batman had a sidekick. I have NO ONE. All I have is my brain, my skills and my balls and the love and encouraging words from my friends and some members of my family. I am not complaining because that is a lot. And I am garnering MAJOR respect and MAJOR attention. I want to be a serious fashion editor/writer and a serious designer. Not a sideshow, 15 minutes of fame, flash in the pan. I want to be the plus-size Elsa Schiapparelli or the plus-size Coco Chanel on top of being the plus-size Diana Vreeland. That is why I am taking the risk of chucking a career in science and medicine and an 80k and 15 year investment, to make the world a better, fairer place for all of us.

I LOVE FASHION. Fashion makes me tick. I love beautiful stuff and good design and I want to celebrate that. I want to be able to love and give props to designers who are doing outstanding stuff and making clothes that I love. I want to look at and talk about and promote the stuff I love. But it’s almost like by doing so I am being a hypocrit. The designers that make the gorgeous clothes purposefully ignore and ostracize the people I represent and I am fighting for, MY people. And the designers that make clothes for my people, refuse to go the extra mile and seriously DESIGN and fight a HELL of a lot harder than they are. I seriously don’t want to think that they do not have the talent. I want to have FAITH. And sometimes, they do surprise me. And I am their biggest cheerleader. I just wish they did so consistently.

I want to see plus-size clothing and plus-size models on the same runways in London, New York, Paris and Milan as the "skinny chick" designer and models. I want clothes my size on the same department and racks as the size 0’s and 2’s. I have had enough of the ostracism, segreggation and "punishment". With so many gay men in the fashion industry, why is it that they cannot seem to understand and relate to how WE feel? The same way they do when it comes to achieving equality with straight folk. That’s how.

So my aim, to put in in laymans terms, is to be the "crossover" artist/designer/ writer/ editor of the plus-size world. The one who runs the magazine that ALL women want to buy because the articles rock and make them feel good and are reliable and informative and whose fashion layouts cause massive sellouts at the stores. I want to be the plus-size designer that size two and four girls wish they were bigger to wear and the one that people are on waitlists for months to get one of my pieces. I want to be the one that is 50 years they do restrospectives on at museums and include in the textbooks. I want to be THAT girl.

So that is the explanation as to why I feature and talk about and admire and study non-plus size designers. But hopefully, plus-size designers will soon get the message. I am writing this because I think that other plus-size fashion and size acceptance sites ignore me because I dare thread in the realm of the thin. But my world, like my body is bigger. I refuse to seggregate myself and live only in the safe and accepting realm of the plus-size industry and the the fatosphere.
For me the world is the limit and I want the same beauty and the same visibility and the same opportunities and the same horizons as if I was someone who designed and wrote for skinny chicks.
I have a dream, and I am bloody going after it.


magickal_realism said...

OK, your post has convinced me. I have a choice between taking a second bellydance class (in addition to my core class) or taking a sewing class. I'm taking the sewing class - while I may never become a designer, I can at least put some of my visions out there of my own ideas for large women as well as adapting from "mainstream" size 2 stuff.

I really think that at this point, our voices have an incredible amount of power, so much so that it is triggering the "obesity epidemic" panic - we are changing things just by being, and because we're able to evaluate and sometimes reject what we're being told about ourselves, we are quietly changing a power structure, because fashion and clothing is very much the window dressing for where power lies.

Here's hoping I don't sew over my fingers or something.

Di from Fat Chic

Rosalee said...

www.RosaleeWomensizeApparel.com Sizes 14w-50w

Milla said...

Hey there Di :-)
I am so glad you are taking sewing:-)
I am proud of you. It is HARD.
I am a good designer but a sort of beguinner sewer.. more like intermediate now...
If you have any questions feel free to ask.
My design partner Mardell, is like a MAJOR sewing and construction genius, so if I cannot anwer it, I will ask her.
I hope that we do have power. And the first thing we have to do with it is KILL the concept of obesity as a disease (it is not. it is not even a valid medical diagnosis. Being fat does not mean you are in anyway sick) and make the words "obesity" and overweight" as taboo as the "n" word for African Americans and the "f" gay word.
Let's take it out of the realm of the medical and into the realm of the civil rights and the political where it belongs...
Thinness is no more the normal human state than heterosexual is the "normal" sexuality or whiteness is the "normal" skin colour.
So there!
I was talking to a chick in my Fashion History class tonight and she was saying that there is change brewing in the air and that the backlash against the "obesity" histeria and the enamourment with thinness coming from designers like me and the community is already started.
Let's not be quiet anymore. I love me a revolution :-)
My teacher tonight was also saying that fashion is a reflection about how we feel as a society and of the times.
And this is a time of CHANGE.
Please let me know if I can help with the sewing class :-)
I am proud of you.