Plus-sized fashion isn't a niche subject

Gabi Gregg, image via gabifresh.com.

Gabi Gregg, image via gabifresh.com.

The word “fatshion” – scattered over glossy editorials and applied to anything slightly meatier than the minus-, sample-sized norm – used to make me flinch and recoil. A ridiculous piece of fashion vernacular, it is just as, if not more, patronising than when people refer to Robyn Lawley as “plus-sized” or with the hashtag #BBW (“Big Beautiful Woman”).  

A bunch of bloggers, however, is changing that. They’ve formed a ‘Fatshion’ community on Tumblr, posting pictures of themselves sporting the latest trends in big-girl garb and last month celebrated ‘Fatshion February’. With titles such as Fatty Unbound, Fuck Yeah Chubby Fashion, Fat Shopoholic and In The Thick Of It, they are taking ownership of the words “fat” and “fatshion” in hopes of removing some of their stigma.

These women (and the occasional man) are offering a fresh, independent perspective in the notoriously fat-loathing fashion industry.  Their goal is not to be radical, or to look smaller or “flatter” or hide their curves, but to find clothes that actually look good, whether it be Wang or McQueen or threads by Forever 21+ and ASOS Curve.

They are working to create their own looks, tossing a previous generation’s rules regarding horizontal stripes, bold prints, bright colours and peplum hems out the window. And in doing so, they’re demanding more of fashion, for all women; making it feel like we all own it.

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To say they are “body proud” or celebrating their size isn’t quite right. They’re merely accepting of their bodies and demonstrating that there ARE options for big girls, beyond mid-length, wrap-style dresses in “slimming” colours or pinstripe button-downs for some “office panache”. As blogger Gabi Gregg says, “I really do love fashion, and love being a voice for plus-size women, but I want to be known for being stylish and fashionable.”

The role these women play extends beyond blogging, too, with many hosting clothing swaps and resale blogs or online stores devoted to customers with an above-average BMI.

And just like that, these lady bloggers are doing more than Vogue’s worldwide Health Initiative ever did to normalise size diversity in fashion. Unlike Vogue, Elle and V, whose efforts extend to a reluctant yearly nod to “real” bodies via “shape” issues that, more often than not, do away with the garments to showcase their models in the nuddy, bloggers such as Gregg, Nicolette Mason and Sydneysider Hayley Hughes are drawing attention away from size and putting it back on where it should be – the clothes. If you look beyond the “fatshion”-filled titles of these blogs, their focus is not on the “fat” but on the fashion, pure and simple. Without the apologies. Without the curvy conversation.

See our favourite fatshion blogger looks in the gallery above and click through to their blogs below.

Gabi Gregg (homepage pic is from Gabi's blog)

Hayley Hughes 

Nicolette Mason

Nadia Aboulhosn

Amanda Stilwell 

Elann Zelie

Liz Black 

Sakina Loudari

Ashley Rose

Jay Miranda

Brittney Ward

Mandy Fierens

Tanesha Awasthi

Ragini Nag Rao

13 comments so far

  • I'm slim figured, but these girls are inspiring me about different styles and looks.
    For the most part, I think they look great.

    I will say, even for larger girls than the average fashionista, they all have waists and no rolls on the stomach. I think this is also why fashion works in bigger sizes. It's all about the proportions. As long as you have a waist, your ass and boobs can be big. It's when you lose the waist your fashion options are more limited as far as what is flattering.

    Commenter
    butterball37
    Date and time
    March 05, 2013, 10:45AM
    • I've checked out Girl with Curves (Tanesha Awasthi) a few times and have to say I'm so inspired! I'm not plus-sized or stick-thin but have hips and boobs that either end of the fashion scale just don't seem to accomodate!

      But now my faith in fashion has been restored, thank you!

      Commenter
      Mila
      Date and time
      March 05, 2013, 11:58AM
      • Here Here.....each and everyone one of these fabulous bloggers are stylish & influential in their own right! Great to see a few Aussies in there, CONGRATS ladies

        Commenter
        Harlow Australia
        Location
        Melbourne Australia
        Date and time
        March 05, 2013, 12:06PM
        • Keep up the good work, love reading your blogs.....

          Commenter
          Harlow Australia
          Location
          Melbourne Australia
          Date and time
          March 05, 2013, 12:07PM
          • This may seem pedantic, but those in the fashion 'industry' will argue that 'fashion' is an artistic activity, designed to make clothes and impressions and creativity. The (thin) models are a canvass upon which these creations are hung.

            Looking good in clothes, on the other hand, is not 'fashion' - it is dressing well.

            There is a difference; and saying 'fat people are reclaiming fashion' is missing the point of what fashion is.

            Commenter
            asdf
            Date and time
            March 05, 2013, 12:16PM
            • You should have a look at some of the fatshion blogs because quite a few of the bloggers actually modify/reclaim/otherwise rejig clothing to make it 'plus-size' friendly - the actual stuff that's commercially available can be fairly slim pickings, so to speak, so they often have to show creativity to look as awesome as they do.

              A few people have already mentioned her, but I'd also like to add my voice to the chorus praising Lily from Frocks and Frou Frou - some of her remixes are fantastic.

              Commenter
              meh
              Date and time
              March 05, 2013, 2:16PM
          • No mention of one of the biggest plus sized fashion bloggers from Melbourne? Frocks and Frou Frou. Check it out.

            Commenter
            PSnark
            Date and time
            March 05, 2013, 12:40PM
            • You forgot my favourite, Lilly from Frocks and Frou Frou!

              http://frocksandfroufrou.com/

              Lilly is great, and I love that she's Australian and even in Melbourne! She talks about shops I go to and is really fabulous.

              Commenter
              JessB
              Location
              Melbourne
              Date and time
              March 05, 2013, 1:24PM
              • ... so...most of the ladies in the photos above look really attractive and sexy...

                ....ughm...what was the write up all about...?

                Commenter
                mama
                Date and time
                March 09, 2013, 4:00AM
                • The American English/Irsh settlers were small-boned and short. So came the Size 1 frame! Here in Australia, the white population, was also based on the small Celctic frame and the petite Chinese, and for a long time, was the majority.
                  However, if you look towards the Middle East and Mediterranean, you find a much larger frame, particularly around the hips and boobs.
                  So with migration, the Australian 'body profile' is mix-up. The whole 'fat' thing gets ridiculous - it's like the birds... some are tiny, some have a big wing span and small body and some... just rule the sky!

                  Commenter
                  There is a world
                  Location
                  Melb
                  Date and time
                  March 09, 2013, 11:40AM

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