The British Plus Size Fashion Weekend 2013 took place in East London this weekend where a full house packed Shoreditch Town Hall to see curvy models with hips and tummies sashay down the catwalk.
They glowed with health and happiness, wearing gorgeous clothes for all occasions: prints for summer parties, monochrome mini-skirts for business meetings, little black dresses and floaty chiffon for the evening and relaxed outfits for the beach.
The idea was the brainchild of Remi Ray (25), a former student at the London College of Fashion who started her own vintage fashion boutique called Trapped in a Skinny World after she graduated. She had a feeling that the world of mainstream fashion was constraining her own sense of style. Last year’s event, co-organised with the plus size magazine Evolve, was the first of its kind.
They are spurred on by the conviction that there are millions of women who have no point of reference on which to focus their love of good clothes. Numbers are certainly on their side. The average British woman is wearing a size 14 or up, and larger size models are in growing demand.
But women of all sizes should welcome this event. Even size 10 women are starting to feel left out by an obsessive skinny culture dominating the media and more worryingly, invading the minds of girls and teenagers who think of themselves as being fat for being normal. ‘We don’t mention the D-word in our house’ said my journalist friend, mother of two teenage daughters. ‘They mustn’t even hear the word Diet!’
It’s a grass-roots movement in many ways, for bloggers have helped to create an online community for women who love fashion and are not afraid to wear it, whatever size they may be.
Interestingly, their blogs are not just about clothes. An enthusiasm for life bubbles out of their introductory paragraphs: ‘Wear your clothes, don’t let your clothes wear you,’ writes Nefferth Bernadina. ‘Fashion is about believing and feeling what I wear. I do fashion with my heart!’
‘I will be blogging about plus size fashion and of course, my favourite topics – confidence, strength and motivation’ says Chelsea Duarte from the US. ‘For me, smiling is the best way to deal with life’ writes Mariapaola Lendi,(24) a university student and fashion blogger from Italy.
The weekend was timed to coincide with London Fashion Week, but since then it’s been made clear that this is no satellite and will become an event in its own right. “We have been in constant communication with London Fashion Week and they fully back and support us, but we have rebranded our event as The British Plus Size Fashion Weekend to avoid any confusion…”
Vive La Difference!