fashion

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How to… Lose the Body Judgement

Published April 11, 2013 by sleepydumpling

I don’t know if you have seen it yet, but Bethany over at My Arched Eyebrow has written an excellent piece on the amount of body snark, judgement and fashion/wardrobe policing that goes on in the comment threads of plus-size clothing Facebook pages.

I’m sure you’ve seen it yourself, all those comments about what fat women “should” and “should not” wear, exclamations over garments not being “flattering” and that “fatties don’t want to expose their [insert body part here]“. Not to mention whenever there is a non-model shot (either a customer photo or a staff member usually), all this judgement comes out of so many commenters about their bodies, or what bits of their bodies aren’t “flattered” enough. Yet the same commenters usually whinge and complain whenever model shots ARE posted that they want to see the clothes on “real women”. Gah!

I was thinking a lot about the self hatred that so many women project on to others on these comment threads, either individually or fat women in general, and what really strikes me is that we’re never actually taught how to NOT judge people. From the minute we are born, we are taught how to judge others. Our parents and family, the media, school, our friends… everywhere we look from our earliest connections with the outside world, we’re conditioned to make judgements about people.

Sometimes judgement is useful. Sometimes it’s your subconscious giving you useful messages about situations – telling you when you are safe or not, letting you know whether someone is familiar to you or not, or generally just helping you communicate in the world, after all, up to 60% of communications are non-verbal. But when it is negative and based on arbitrary measures like someone’s body shape or size, it is actually of no use to you and is usually just deeply ingrained cultural conditioning, rather than actual learnt information.

One of the most liberating things I have ever learned is to undo that cultural conditioning and let go of judging people based on their appearance (among other things). Walking around the world without that mist of negative judgement on people’s appearances has meant that I’m not carrying that negative judgement on myself. It has also meant that I can approach life unfettered by all of that useless negativity and focus on the things that really matter, like how people behave, how they treat me and who they actually are. And in no way has it left me open or vulnerable to harm – it is something that is really unnecessary and has no real benefit to us.

It’s not easy. Every where we turn someone is telling us, particularly we fat women, what we should do, what we should wear, how we should eat, what to do with our bodies. So generally we naturally reflect that on to the world around us. It takes a definite, conscious disconnect at the beginning to undo the bombardment of messages we are hearing, to learn to filter out the garbage and focus on what is actually of use to us.

I have a few exercises I do when I find myself getting judgey in my head and I’d like to offer them up here for all of you to try and work on.

  • Start by setting yourself a goal. Tell yourself you are going to try to go one month without judging anyone negatively by their appearance. If you don’t think you can do a month, try a week. If you can’t do that, try a day. If even that is a stretch, try the time you walk to work or are in a shop or any measure that you think you can work with. When you master that timeframe, expand it.
  • Consciously try to find one positive thing about every single person you encounter’s outfit. Maybe they are wearing cute shoes. Or you like their earrings. Or the way they’ve styled their hair. Pick any one thing that is NOT part of their body, it only works if it is part of their outfit, and acknowledge it to yourself.
  • When you’ve mastered that, pay them a compliment. Remember, you’re not to comment on their body, it has to be something they are wearing. And keep the compliment simple. Smile and say “I like your earrings.” or “Cute shoes!” Try doing this for more and more people throughout the day. Start with people you are comfortable with – friends, family, colleagues. Expand upon the number of people you compliment every day. Try it with staff in shops, or the waiter in a restaurant, someone in the lift (elevator). As often as possible, pay people compliments on things they are wearing.
  • By this stage, you’re probably noticing things you like about people’s outfits more and more often. The more time you consciously spend doing this, the less time you spend passing negative judgement.
  • Something else starts to happen when you do this… the people you are regularly around start to return the compliments. Usually they don’t know they’re even doing it, they just tend to reciprocate. I’ve actually discovered that I’ve unconsciously trained a huge chunk of people in my workplace to notice positive things about each other. I’ve got people whose only interaction with me is that we bump in to each other in the lift complimenting me now before I get to them. People who I would never have interacted with before now smile and say hello, and we usually trade compliments!
  • You can even practice on the photos on plus-size clothing Facebook pages! Look at each photo and find something you like about the outfit. Even if it is just the colour, or the hemline, or the accessories the person is wearing.  Leave a comment saying so.  Remember, no body judgement!
  • Important caveat though – you don’t have to compliment anyone who is rude to you, who you don’t like or you can’t find anything you like about them. It’s good to try, even just in your own head, but it’s not going to ruin the experiment if you just let those people go.
  • If you do find yourself thinking “They shouldn’t be wearing that.” or something along those lines, ask yourself why. Is it hurting anyone? I mean REALLY hurting anyone, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that it is “offending” you because you don’t like it. Ask yourself if anything is taken away from you by someone wearing something you don’t like, or in a way you wouldn’t wear.
  • When you are next out shopping for yourself, and you see something that you like but you’ve always considered it something that you “couldn’t” or “shouldn’t” wear, go try it on anyway. Grab a couple of things that you would wear and mix and match it in the fitting rooms. If you decide that you really don’t like it, put it back. But give it a try.
  • Wear one thing a week in a different way to how you would usually wear it. Wear a top tucked in or with a knot in it. Wear that sleeveless top/dress without a wrap or cardie (you can take one with you if you are really worried). Pull the waist of a skirt up higher (under a top) to make it shorter. If you can’t bring yourself to be in public, at least practice at home.
  • If you genuinely don’t like something on a plus-size retailer’s FB page (or similar), then say so, but try doing it without placing judgement on what other people “should” wear or on bodies.  State what you don’t like about it, acknowledge that others might like it, and tell them clearly what you would prefer.  Eg: “I really don’t like waterfall cardigans at all, even if they are popular.  It would be great to see you have a line of plain block colour cardigans with round necklines and elbow length sleeves.”  See… no commentary on anyone’s body, and constructive criticism.  Easy!

I would like to offer you all up the challenge to try the things above and see how you go. Even if you’re well seasoned at avoiding being judgemental about people’s appearances, you can still have a go. It can’t hurt and I find it makes me feel good. Not just about myself but about the people around me. Once you notice the changes that it brings, challenge other people to do it. Don’t allow people to spread their negative judgement on appearance around you.

Have a go… you may just find you like it.

Outside the Margins – Fatshion and Fashion

Published December 2, 2012 by sleepydumpling

Hasn’t this week been a big one for the discussion of what has happened to fatshion?  This discussion is a very good thing, and mostly it has actually been discussion, rather than drama.

That said, there are two assumptions/perceptions that I really want to address today in this post:

1) That fatshion has been consumed by the corporate, that it has been branded and marketed out of all power.

2) That fatshion is inaccessible to people who do not have things like a fancy camera, access to designer brands, high profile status, the ability to travel, or influential contacts.

Before I address these two things, I want to acknowledge that high profile plus-size fashion visibility is most definitely white, smaller fat (14-18), young, cis-gender, heterosexual, able bodied and affluent.  Hell yes, the freebies, the plum gigs in the industry, the advertising money, and the popularity go to those with privilege.  We need more diversity in plus-size fashion.  We need more women of colour, we need more variety in size and shape of fat women in plus-size fashion, we need older women, we need variance of gender and sexuality, we need visibility of people with disabilities and indeed, most plus-size fashion is expensive and inaccessible to those without ready disposable income.  Absolutely.

But answer me this… isn’t ALL fashion guilty of these things?  Isn’t the entire fashion industry, regardless of size, guilty of these things at a base level?  Plus-size fashion companies are mirroring the EXACT thing that happens in straight-size fashion.  The entire industry needs revolutionising, for no other reason that like all of society, it favours the privileged.  A young, white size 16 woman in fashion may not be radical anymore, but it is radical that we have shifted the boundaries to the point that they are no longer considered radical.

What I believe, is that fatshion is not the same thing as the plus-size fashion industry.  They intersect of course, but the reality is that the plus-size fashion industry is not fully serving the fatshion community (or just the general fat community) to meet it’s need.  That brings me to my first point above:

1) That fatshion has been consumed by the corporate, that it has been branded and marketed out of all power.

We are seeing a slight shift in the world of plus-size fashion.  It’s not a radical one at all, but it is a shift.  Young, attractive women bloggers over a size 14 are starting to get noticed by the plus-size fashion industry.  In fact they’re starting to get noticed by the fashion industry in general.  Names like Gabi Gregg and Nicolette Mason are turning up in mainstream fashion arenas.  Models like Teer Wayde, Fulvia Lacerda and Lizzie Miller are being featured in mainstream magazines.  We are seeing an interest in women with bodies outside of the traditional modelling and fashion size range (which is obscenely narrow – pun not intended) across the board.

But that’s not the reality of fatshion for the vast majority.  Gabi, Nicolette, Teer, Fulvia, Lizzie and others like them are making amazing careers for themselves in an industry that until now has otherwise excluded them.  They are doing something that very few people get to do, and I believe should be celebrated for doing so.  But they are working in the fashion industry.  Fatshion is not about working in the fashion industry, it is about every day fat women engaging in dressing themselves with care and pride, despite a world that tells them they are not entitled to do so.  Yes, these women definitely do that, it is possible to engage in fatshion while working in the fashion industry.  But we should not be holding them as a standard that all fat women should aim for by engaging in fatshion.  Realistically, there is only ever going to be a tiny, elite few who get to do that.

Fatshion is not the same thing as the fashion industry.

What is amazing about these women is that they are pushing the boundaries of what the fashion industry means.  A mere two years ago, these women were struggling to be seen, to progress in their careers.  They’ve worked hard to get where they are and they have been propelled by fatshion, both directly and indirectly.  By engaging in fatshion themselves, they have become visible in an industry that almost always renders women over a very small size range invisible.  It has made them stand out in an industry that is pretty bland really.  However, fatshion in general has also had it’s role in propelling these women into an industry.  The snowball effect of more and more people engaging in fatshion and visibly interested in style, clothes, accessories and expressing ourselves through those things has meant that it empowers others to do so as well.  This then rolls on to the money spent in the fashion industry.  The fashion industry notices this change, and then responds by trying to make more money by cashing in on this expanding marketing.  It’s the nature of the beast.  The more visible those of us on the fringes are the more the boundaries are pushed.  The more we make it clear that we care about where we spend our money, and that we will spread word of mouth, both positive and negative, the more the fashion industry tries to cash in on us.

Fatshion has not been consumed, nor is it powerless.  The boundaries of the fashion industry have simply shifted slightly to include a tiny few more.  Fatshion’s job is not over, nor will it ever be.  Someone is always going to be marginalised, and it’s our power to use fatshion to constantly push, stretch and pull those margins to include more and more people.  Fatshion is powerful and valuable.  I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for fatshion, and my engaging in fatshion is often what opens the doors for people to come and investigate my activism.

This brings me nicely to the second point above:

2) That fatshion is inaccessible to people who do not have things like a fancy camera, access to designer brands, high profile status, the ability to travel, or influential contacts.

There seems to be this perception that the only people engaging in fatshion are those like the aforementioned high-profile women.  That fatshion is somehow closed to everyday people.  If you think that’s what fatshion is about, I say you’re not looking hard enough.  The vast majority of fatshion bloggers are people with everyday lives.  Jobs, families, commitments and restrictions are all present in most fatshion blogger’s lives.  Again, fatshion is not about being directly involved in the fashion industry.  Fatshion is about participating in something otherwise denied to fat women. It is about visibility, celebration and creativity.

The assumption that engaging in fatshion requires the best of everything, or the most privileged of people, is erroneous.  Otherwise I wouldn’t engage in it myself, at 40 years old and size 26AU and beyond, using my phone to take photos in the bathroom mirror at work, and shopping on a $25 per week clothing budget (sometimes less).  I’m not even a fatshion blogger, one doesn’t have to be to engage in fatshion.  I use my fatshion as one of the aspects of my activism, to change how people think about how fat women present themselves and how we should look.

When I look through my Fatshion folder in Google Reader, I see so much more than just a few high profile plus-size women in the fashion industry.  I see canny thrift shoppers, skillful re-stylers, talented crafters, and most practice a make-it-work philosophy.  I see a smattering small-time designers creating amazing things for women with bodies like their own.  I see photographs taken on smart phones, budget digital cameras, webcams and borrowed cameras.  I see single Mums, carers, women who work from home.  I see bloggers who work long hours in regular jobs, some who have several jobs.  I see some who have continued through illness, injury, unemployment and tragedy.  I see etsy hunters and eBay stalkers. I see swappers, sharers and sellers.  I see those who take fatshion to an artform, living their lives as works of art.  I see women of colour, women with disability, a rainbow of gender variations and sexualities.  I see women of all ages, from those fresh out of high school through to those with “advanced style”.  I see every size from 16 through to beyond what is available commercially in plus-sizes.  I see high fashion, high art and popular culture interspersed with alternative style, radical looks and vintage kitsch.  I seldom see high end designer pieces, but I see vintage, budget mass produced and hand-made all used with personal flair and creativity.

This is what fatshion means to me.  While I admire the few who have made it into the mainstream fashion industry and continue to push it’s boundaries, they’re not what I take my inspiration from.  They’re not why I take pleasure in fatshion myself, and not how I use fatshion as activism.

Fatshion is so much  more than mainstream fashion up-sized to fit a size 16 or 18.  Fatshion belongs to us, not to the fashion industry.  Fatshion will always be outside the margins, and will always be radical.  Fatshion belongs to here and now, not the past.  Fatshion is about finding your own style and rocking the hell out of it, flying in the face of a world that tells us we should never be seen.

Melbourne Cup Fatshion!

Published November 8, 2012 by sleepydumpling

Tuesday was Melbourne Cup day here in Australia.  For the uninitiated, the Melbourne Cup is the “horse race that stops the nation”.  It’s the biggest sporting event of the year here in Australia, and folks in Victoria (which Melbourne is the capital of) get a public holiday for it.  We folks in Queensland don’t, sob! Instead, workplaces across the country often have a kind of celebratory day, including dressing up, a luncheon and often run a sweep, which is a kind of lucky draw betting system where you pay a dollar or two to enter, draw a horse and if it wins, you get a prize.  Many Australians place a bet on the race, the only bet they’ll place all year – known colloquially as a “flutter”.

In my office, we do run a sweep and then we have a kind of pot luck lunch together and then all watch the race.  It’s a good opportunity to have some social time with my colleagues as we really only get to do that on Melbourne Cup day and at Christmas.  Anyway I couldn’t care less about horse racing or betting on said horse racing, but I do love the opportunity to frock up and always have a few dollars in the sweeps, mostly so I can playfully stir with my big boss, who is uncannily lucky with sweeps.  It was a delight this year to have the first and second place in the sweeps when she got not a penny – the first time I’ve ever won anything on it and one of the two occasions in all the years I’ve worked with her that she hasn’t had a win!  You should have heard the banter that afternoon!

I decided to debut my new Domino Dollhouse bone skater dress, that my friend Diane bought me for my birthday.  She landed me the last one in my size, woot!

As you can see, my main accessory for the day was a big arse lace bow headband.  After all, if a gal can’t wear a big arse lace bow on Melbourne Cup day, when can she wear one?

Deal with it.

I can’t tell you how much I love this dress.  It fits beautifully, the fabric is soft and breathes, the print is gorgeous, it is well made and the price was fantastic too.  I hope Domino Dollhouse bring out lots of similar dresses in different prints and colours, I’ll be buying them, that’s for sure.  I think next time I wear this one I’ll wear my petticoat under it too.  I love that Domino Dollhouse do many of their collections up to a size 4X and they’re doing something radical – fat positive marketing and fat-positive products.  The clothes Tracy designs and sells say “I’m here!  I will not hide myself away!”  That is massively radical in plus-size fashion and so empowering.  So Domino Dollhouse are one of the companies I am happy to give my money to!

So Aussies – tell me, did you frock up for Melbourne Cup day?  What did you wear?  And for the overseas folk, do you have a national day (or even a state/province/regional day) that everyone brings out their fab fashions for?

Contest Winner VickiR Reviews bellecurve

Published November 4, 2012 by sleepydumpling

Remember my bellecurve review and contest?  Well I asked winner VickiR if she would share photos of the clothes when she got them or perhaps do a review of them for bellecurve.  She has done both!  I am so happy to see these gorgeous garments going to someone who will rock the hell out of them.  So without any further ado, here is Vicki’s review and fatshion shots.

@~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~@

Firstly, I have to say thank you to Kath for sending me these wonderful clothes.  They are easily the chicest things in my wardrobe!

My first impression of the items when I take them out of the bag is: wow, these materials are really high-quality!  The red lace top, which seems to me to be a smallish 22, feels very soft to the touch.  It slips on effortlessly, with a very soft attached singlet top giving a good amount of skin coverage, but leaving just enough showing to feel sexy.  Sadly, I don’t have a red bra to match, but I don’t think my flesh-coloured bra clashed too much with it.  I reckon it would look pretty hot with flashes of a black bra showing through to give it some va-va-voom so I might give that a go next time I wear it out.  I teamed it today with a plain long black skirt, but I think it could be dressed up with a black mini and heels, or dressed down with jeans or black pants.  A very versatile top.

On to the next items:  the floral trimmed jacket and matching floral 7/8 pants.  I am in serious love with these items!  I can’t wait to wear them to work.  I reckon I will be fielding heaps of compliments when I do.  The material is quite thick, so would work best in winter and autumn / spring, rather than summer.  It was 35 degrees in Sydney today and I was sweltering a bit!  Today I teamed it with a lace-edged black cami, but I reckon any coloured top underneath would work; a white blouse would look particularly crisp.  I don’t really do heels, so I think I would team this outfit with low-heeled black sandals or ballet flats.  I reckon the jacket would look great with jeans and a white T-shirt while you could team the pants with a billowy kaftan top for a casual evening look.  These items are marked size 24 and I reckon the pants are a true 24, but the jacket is probably a smallish 24.
Overall, I am very impressed with Bellecurve.  The quality of the materials is excellent, and I love that they are translating current straight-size trends for the plus-size market.  All in all, a welcome addition to the plus-size fashion industry!

Brisbane Fatshionistas – Fab Fatshion Fun is Forthcoming!

Published November 1, 2012 by sleepydumpling

I’m really, really excited.  “Why are you excited Kath?” I hear you ask.  Because we’re having another fab fatty fatshion event in Brisbane!

Yes, I am that excited.

The delightful Olivia from Wait Until the Sunset has been hard at work organising this pre-loved clothing fair, A Plus Size Wardrobe, for the 15th of December.  That’s just over a month away people!

So, here are the basic details:

For those of you who can’t see the image, you can find out more information on the Facebook page.

The idea is that instead of fiddling about with eBay, or using consignment stores, that we all get together and have a fab fatshion fair and sell all those awesome clothes that we pick up that just aren’t right for us.  That dress you wore once but didn’t feel comfortable in.  Those skirts you bought on sale without trying on and then got them home and didn’t fit.  You know the type of thing, I know many of you have them in your wardrobe.

I will be having a stall there, so there will be at least ONE stall representing size 24AU+ mega-fatshion.  I have things that are new with tags to sell!

To arrange a stall, email aplussizewardrobe@gmail.com and you will be sent all the info you need.

Otherwise, come along, hang out with all the local fab fatties and pick yourself up some bargains.  I believe there are going to be prizes and food and stuff too.  What fatty doesn’t like prizes and food??  Olivia has put the hard work in and found some sponsors and industry support.  Yay Olivia!

To all of you, wherever you are, please promote this event amongst the fab fatty community, as we are all at least six degrees of separation from a Brisbane (or nearby) fab fatty.  I will be sharing info on the Chub Republic Brisbane tumblr page (and my own) and here are a couple of .pdf files you can print out and stick up on noticeboards and stuff if you’re in the Brisbane area.  The more we promote it, the more fab fatshionistas will turn up.

See, I have every reason to be excited!

Plus-Size Fashion Companies – Let Me Help You Make Money!

Published October 28, 2012 by sleepydumpling

Alright.  Since many people seem to think that it’s somehow wrong for me to be angry at the unjust way many of we super fat people are treated by the industry that is SUPPOSED to serve us*, I’m offering up my services.

If you have a plus-size fashion/clothing company that caters to people OVER a size 3X (24AU) or you have a plus-size fashion/clothing company that WANTS to cater to people over a size 3X, contact me and let me help you make money.  Let me promote you to my not inconsiderable following both online and in real life and let me help you gather the resources and information you need to make your product a success.

There are a few small guidelines though:

  1. If you don’t cater to my size (4X/26AU) as a minimum, or are actively working to in the very near future, please do not expect me to give you my time and energy.
  2. If you do not ship internationally, please make that clear.  I am not adverse to working with companies that don’t ship to Australia, but I need to be able to make that clear to my audience.
  3. You MUST be willing to revisit both your service, product and/or your marketing.  If you simply toss your hands up and say there is no demand, then you are not trying hard enough.
  4. I will give you honest and frank feedback and help you channel the feedback you get elsewhere to something you can actually use.  I know it is difficult to get any real information from some criticism, but I am expert at working out what the actual issue is and finding real steps to resolve them.  But that will require a commitment from you to actually listen and take negative feedback on board.

Now, my time is precious and valuable, so this is not something I am offering lightly.  I am however offering it for free to those of you who are genuinely willing to work towards improving your products, service and marketing.  I am that committed to improving the fashion/clothing industry for fat women over a size 3X that I am willing to offer up my time and energy for free, within the framework of my regular life.  Please be aware that I do have a full time job and other commitments I will have to work this project around.

If I can also help fat men, that will be an added bonus.  It is not my area of expertise, but I do have resources I can help with and know people I can refer you to.

So, if you want to open your business up to a whole lot of new customers, a mostly untapped market in fact, I’m willing to help you do that.  I want to see you succeed and make money.

And to those of you who are a size 3X and over, please spread the word and stand by to help me make things better for you.  You will also need to put your money where your mouth is when companies DO take up the challenge.  Don’t leave me to do it all on my own!

*How dare we be unhappy at being excluded!  We have options dammit,  yeah a whole four companies!  Many of which don’t ship internationally or actually cater to our size!

How NOT to Market to Fat Customers

Published October 27, 2012 by sleepydumpling

Can you believe it, I’m actually a little bit speechless.  I know, ME, speechless!  That almost never happens right!

But I’ve got a doozy for you folks.  You may have seen a campaign going around the fatosphere and fatshion world calling for support and funding for a Kickstarter loan for a new company called Cabiria Style.  A new “plus-size” startup fashion company, really pushing hard for people to donate to their Kickstarter and promote their new company.  Now I’ve had a busy week, so I saw the tweets and stuff and thought “Cool, I’ll have a look at that later, always good to see new plus-size brands starting up.”   I finally got a chance to have a look today and was disappointed to see that the person behind this company only intends to cater up to size 24US – I take a 28-30-32US depending on the brand.  Happens all the time, gives me the shits, but yeah, I’m used to it.  I saw that someone had asked if they intended to extend their sizes in the future so I retweeted the question and said that it was important:

https://twitter.com/Fatheffalump/status/261984362222985217

I made it clear that it isn’t fair to ask me to support or promote a company that excludes me, especially when they promote themselves as an “inclusive” line.  I expected to get the usual line about how “we hope to expand our sizes in the future”.  At least it’s an acknowledgement that they don’t go up to the higher sizes, even if it is a bit of a fob off, right?  I mean, indie designer, baby steps, fair enough.

What I didn’t expect was a whole lot of hostile attitude about how it’s too difficult/expensive to do higher sizes and that our questions as to whether we were included in the sizing were “criticism” of the company/range.  Apparently, simply ASKING if the sizes will be expanded is a “personal attack”.

Oh boy, there is some really fucking entitled bullshit that has come from this woman.  I’ll let the tweets do the talking (she has blocked me because you know, calling her out on shitty marketing and excluding people in an “inclusive” range is such a horrible thing to do – so I have to copy and paste):

@fatheffalump there is an entire section on why to donate if you’re not plus size. Many of the donors are not plus size.

Umm… I’m not plus-size because I’m over a size 24US?  What the fuck am I then?  I’m “too big” to be considered “plus-size” but you still expect me to donate and promote your range?

@fatheffalump I’m making higher quality options than most. Pretty different in another parameter.

This is her response to how she is not doing anything new and different by only doing to size 24US.  What use to me is “higher quality” if you won’t include me in the sizing?  What kind of logic is this?

@fatheffalump if you look at the photos you may notice I shop in the plus section myself, and not everything fits.

This is supposed to justify that NOTHING fucking fits in her range for me or any other person over a size 24US.  So I’m supposed to consider this justification for excluding anyone over a size 24US to the range.

@Fatheffalump The options are to buy the clothes or not. Same as everyone else. Buy this apple.Don’t buy that pear. Options.

What fucking options?  Buy WHAT clothes?  You’re not providing them in my size!  Where the fuck is the logic here?  “Buy this apple, but if you’re a pear, fuck off we don’t cater to you – there, you have options now”.

Look, I know it’s not easy to start up as a company.  I’ve done it myself.  There’s a reason I’m no longer self employed.  But there’s one thing you need to remember.  If you want people to give you their money for your goods or services, you’d better fucking include them.  How difficult is that to comprehend?  If you don’t cater to them (and hey, not every business does, such as life),  DON’T EXPECT THEM TO GIVE YOU MONEY OR PROMOTE YOU!

And if you are a company selling size 12-24, don’t call yourself inclusive, don’t promote to the fatshion/fatosphere and don’t call yourself “plus-size”.  You are an inbetweenie company.  Go market to them.

So I’m doing the opposite of promoting this company.  I am urging you, my somewhat considerable following of thousands of awesome fat people here on Fat Heffalump and on my social media platforms, DO NOT spend your money with Cabiria.  In fact, if you have pledged a donation through Kickstarter – go cancel it.  Never shop with them, ever.  Withdraw your funds whatever size you are and show this person that if they want to be a success, perhaps they should invest in some marketing training before anything else.

Instead, I would like you to go buy some brilliant clothes from the following small companies:

  1. Domino Dollhouse – when DD first started I asked Tracy about catering to larger sizes, she told me she was working on expanding that in the future.  It took a little while, but she did, and she is now doing AWESOME things.  Hat tip to Tracy and Domino Dollhouse.  I hope you’re raking in the $$ Tracy!
  2. LucieLu – they go to 5X and are a really gorgeous quality.
  3. No Xceptions – Up to size 32AU.  Small range, but HOT prices and excellent customer service.  Extra points for being an Aussie company.
  4. Sweetooth Couture – Up to 6X.  Gorgeous.
  5. eShakti – yeah not exactly small and they don’t ship to Australia yet, but hey, they do gorgeous clothes in good quality and have no size limit (costs about $7.50 extra to get custom sizing – less than 8 bucks to get custom sizing – how awesome is that?!)
  6. Cult of California – up to 5x.

Give these companies your money.  Buy their products, promote the crap out of them and let them know they’re doing something right.  If you know any other small companies that do past size 24AU, please leave them in the comments.  Let’s show these companies that they are asking for our money and custom, they do not have the right to demand it.

And if you’re looking to start a plus-size clothing business, here’s a few hot tips for you:

  1. Size 12-24US is not special any more.  Don’t label yourself as unique or inclusive if this is all you do.
  2. Market up to your customers, not down to them.  If you want their custom and their money, treat them as valuable and they will reciprocate.
  3. Stick your neck out.  Don’t start at a 12 or a 1X.  If you can only afford a size range of 3 sizes, how about starting at size 3X and going to 6X and then expanding down later.  After all, it’s a bloody captive market, there’s FAR less competition out there for you if you do that than the 12/1x – 24/3x range.
  4. If you get questions or feedback, answer the questions, be honest and don’t take it personally.  If you turn it into a “You’re picking on me!” when people ask if you’re intending to expand your size range or say that they’re not willing to support a company that doesn’t cater to you, then you’ll lose ALL of your customers, not just the ones you are ignoring.  A simple “We are currently only offering to size 24″ would have been annoying, but fair enough.  “We are currently only offering to size 24, but hope to expand in the future.” would have been lovely.
  5. You are not doing anything new or offering options to someone you do not cater to.  Don’t piss on our legs and tell us it’s raining.
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