I just got back from an evening workshop at Re/Dress in Brooklyn - a space that has provided both fat community and amazing vintage and resale fashion in true plus sizes these last 3 years. Glenn Marla and Hana Malia led some wonderful exercises about exploring what it would be to let go of a lot of internalized fatphobia, and I was reminded again how lucky we've been to have Deb Malkin's amazing store these last several years.
Here's a photo of Glenn and I at Re/Dress in 2009:
Sadly, the physical store is closing November 20th, and with it goes the community space she provided in which to be fat and gloriously, fearlessly fashionable. The same week this information was released, news that Saks Fifth Avenue is removing ALL Salon Z plus size sections from it's stores to an online only model. Another venue where the economy is partially at fault, but marginalized selling floors and inconsistencies in quality (as in the quality across the price point is NOT equal to similar price points in mainstream sizing) are the real culprits.
As a fat person with money to spend on clothes (ok, theoretical money right now, but hey), I still say there's a market there for well made, comparable quality at comparable price point clothing. Hearing all the women at the workshop talk about the internalized sociological shame we all work very hard to combat during waking moments, no wonder we're tired. All that energy just geared towards facing the world, facing the fear, and facing what we're told we don't deserve.
I can't wait to change that and let all women feel entitled to inhabit whatever body they have gracefully and beautifully. I can't wait to show a woman my size (18 - 20, for the record) how nice Italian silk jersey feels on the skin, and how different that feeling is from polyester or rayon. How good fabric pays for itself by not needing to be replaced after a few wearings because it's pilled badly or the high spandex content is deteriorating. How a fashionable item can remain a staple in your closet if you feel confident wearing it time and time again.
Wish me luck, people. It's rough out there, but I've got some great role models.