My Thoughts on Plus Sized WarsPosted: June 16, 2015
At the weekend MWG and I watched Plus Sized Wars a Channel 4 documentary about the plus sized fashion industry. It’s available on their on demand service All 4 and I recommend checking it out.
We decided to watch it because one of MWG’s friends is off to work for one of the companies featured and had mentioned the show.
It was interesting to watch as it dealt with the challenges facing both sides. The plus sized brands (Yours, Evans and Taking Shape) had more customers but especially in Evans’ case, they had to struggle to look fashionable. My Mum once described Evans as “the fat lady shop” (she shopped there at the time) and it’s clear this was the brand’s image.
The companies needed to address what their audience wanted, and to do this they enrolled a group of plus sized fashion bloggers, to advise and model their collections. This was something MWG really liked because it showed that the company was interesting in using real women and listening to them.
It was cool to see and the bloggers seemed a nice bunch of ladies who got on well and who were pleased that finally the fashion industry was trying to cater for their body shape. It was wonderful to see these confident, stylish women talk passionately about their bodies and their acceptance of their differences.
Body positivity and confidence is a big deal, far too many women (and men) struggle to be comfortable in their own skin. Constant comparison with the narrow view of beauty the media puts forward is damaging to self esteem, happiness and can ruin lives.
The bloggers were doing good work in changing this, in showing that you can be confident and stylish regardless of your size (one of the designers interviewed said that he wasn’t there to talk about size, but style and said simply “style has no size”). The bloggers showed a different path, a path of acceptance and happiness. They argued that fashion should be for everyone and that bigger women shouldn’t be left out, pushed to the side and given dull, shapeless outfits.
Hear, hear I say.
The bloggers’ online popularity meant that the fashion world had to listen. If there are thousands of people saying one thing or following these blogs it was simply good business to try and cater to them. The bloggers were actually changing things, being involved in the process and helping these companies move forward.
MWG, a voluptuous girl herself, thought this was a very good thing, that “real people” were used as models, replacing the previous use of slightly bigger models who still didn’t really reflect the customer. And she also liked that the people interviewed were respectful and that the show’s tone mirrored this.
Of course, with documentaries like this the real strength and interest comes from the personalities involved and their own stories. The bloggers, including Bethany Rutter (Arched Eyebrow), Callie Thorpe (From the Corners of the Curve) and Danielle Vanier (self-titled) were engaging, vocal and charming in their interviews.
Yours decided to call in the big guns for their new range, hiring American model and social media phenomenon Tess Holliday aka Tess Munster. I’ve mentioned Munster in a previous post and am a fan, especially of her #effyourbeautystandards movement. She appeared to be a force to be reckoned with and it was interesting that the doc captured the changing attitudes of the fashion industry with Holliday signing for a major agency.
It was further evidence of the power of social media, as her large following helped open doors but its hard to argue that she didn’t deserve it or that it wasn’t a big step forward. Bethany Rutter celebrated the decision particularly as Munster was vastly different from anything that had come before. She was a true plus size woman, who many could relate to more than any other model who’d been put forward.
Munster’s trip to the UK also included a meet and greet with fans, which showed the positive impact she and her body confidence stance can have. Nervously on route to meet her heroine was Hannah Boal, a UK based blogger (Fabulously Fat Fashion). Bullied for years it was clear that Munster had inspired her and helped her learn to love and accept herself. Their meeting was sweet, moving and you couldn’t help but appreciate the positive effect Munster’s success has had on young women and how they view their bodies.
The other story followed was that of blogger and model Georgina Horne (Fuller Figure Fuller Bust), who joined others for a photo shoot and who highlighted a problem with the plus size community. Horne was like many of the others in her passion for fashion and belief that the plus sized woman has been ignored, however she differed in one respect. She was trying to lose weight and get in slightly better shape.
It was here that she encountered problems. Like Dylan going electric she was viewed as a traitor by some. I felt this part of plus sized community was mistaken.
Horne was still proud of her body, and confident in it, but she wanted to improve herself, for herself, and I think that’s fine. You can be happy and confident and still feel there’s room for improvement without being a hypocrite or betraying the cause. Horne wasn’t talking about losing tons of weight and becoming a size zero, neither was she hating herself or other larger women, she just personally felt as though she’s be happier if she got in slightly better shape. And isn’t that what the whole movement was about, women being happy with themselves?
It was a great doc, well made and engaging and it’s good to see the plus sized woman finally being treated with respect and catered to on the high Street, and to be introduced to some fabulously confident women. I’ve included links to their blogs because if you’re into fashion and are plus sized I think they’ll be a positive thing to see, and they all seemed quite nice, with no bitchiness.
If anyone knows any male plus size fashion bloggers let me know, so the young men can get the same thing.
I think the show was good and I think it’s great that the internet and social media allows women to express themselves and find a community of people like them and to realise that beauty is a varied thing. This can help them gain more confidence, accept themselves and generally be a bit happier, and that is most definitely a good thing.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.