Fatphobia in Fashion

You may remember me from such viral posts as, ‘girl puts fat leg in small skirt‘. This was in response to an actual product shot of a slim woman posing in one leg of some plus size shorts, which even if we ignore the fatphobia for a second, is pretty obviously a terrible way to sell anything. This was almost 2 years ago now, but it still keeps happening. The entire fashion industry seems to be built on making people feel bad about themselves in order to make money, and it’s time that changes. As a cis, white, able-bodied woman, I’m aware of my privilege and representation in the media, but that doesn’t mean I have to ignore it or accept it. I want fashion to be slower, accessible to everyone, aimed at everyone, and ethical.

I run a very little business, but it really takes no extra effort to cater to a wide size range. My work is mostly handmade to order, so I acknowledge that it does mean I have the benefit of not ordering in thousands of dresses in a size 36 and never selling them – but really, if I can offer 16 different sizes then anyone can!

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I see some places charging more for plus size clothes, whilst offering fewer options (and they’re often much more boring – butterflies and cold shoulders, anyone?) Everything I make is available at the same price in every size – because there’s absolutely no reason why going from a size 16 to an 18 means your sense of style suddenly changes, and there’s certainly no reason why that should come with a sudden price increase either. There’s never a difference in price between size 6 and 16, so there shouldn’t be a difference in price between size 16 and 26 either. The argument that more fabric is used is invalid when it’s only actioned at the higher end of the scale – and when high streets have a colossal profit margin anyway, it doesn’t really stand. It’s designed to prey on a more captive audience – if you have less choice in stores, then you’ll buy what’s available, even if it costs more for you than your friend who is one size smaller – because where else will you go?

Fatphobia is just one area in which the fashion industry is failing us – it’s also inherently ableist, racist, ageist and transphobic – but I feel it may be disingenuous to speak too much on these issues as they don’t directly affect me, and I would hate to do more harm than good by speaking about something which I have no personal experience with. I will say, however, that as the majority of models we see on catwalks, in adverts, and in magazines etc are cis, white, able-bodied, young, thin women, we need to do more to represent everyone in society. I know that I can do better in terms of representation – but at the moment, as I don’t have the budget to hire models, you’re stuck with me and my mannequins!

Fashion is often seen as frivolous and vacuous, not to be taken seriously – but we all wear clothes, so the industry affects us all whether we realise it or not. My aim is to provide fun, ethically made clothing, in a wide range of sizes, to anyone and everyone who wants it. I don’t want anybody to suffer for my profit margin. I don’t want the environment to suffer so I can release a whole new line every few months, just for everyone to bin last season’s wares. And I don’t want anyone to look at one of my dresses and wish they were smaller so they could wear it.

My dresses are handmade to order in UK sizes 6-36, and my skirts are available in sizes S-XXL (6-34) – but I can also make any of them in any other size (it’s just easier for me to have a core range of sizes). All of my work is available to order from my Etsy shop, and if there’s anything you struggle with when shopping on the high street, in terms of length, fit, accessibility – anything! – just let me know, and I will do my absolute best to accommodate you.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/Interrobangirl

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Blood vs Water

There are rumours that the saying, “Blood is thicker than water” originally started out as, “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb”. While it’s hard to know if this is true or not, as there are lots of conflicting theories and accounts, and according to Wikipedia, ‘no known historical sources support this’, I personally prefer  this version. ‘Blood is thicker than water’ is often used to suggest that family comes before anything else. If you have a healthy, functional family, this is fine. But if your background is a little messier, this can add salt to existing wounds.

‘The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb’ suggests that the bonds you choose to form are stronger than the ones you had no choice over, and I think that’s pretty powerful.

If there is a toxic person in your life, it can be very difficult, and not always possible, to cut ties with them. I have had to do this myself, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made, but it may not be the right decision for everyone. If you are unable to cut someone toxic out of your life for any reason, it’s important to find coping strategies which work for you, to get you through any amount of time you have to spend with them. Whether it’s confronting them about their behaviour, talking to another family member or friend about it, or simply reminding yourself that it is entirely their problem, and not yours. I cannot offer you the answers, as everyone’s situation is different, I’m just here to tell you that it’s important to look after yourself, in any way that works for you. You are worthy, you are enough.

It’s also important to note that this time of year can be particularly difficult for people in the LGBTQ+ community, Christmas is supposed to be a time for family to come together, but if they don’t accept you for who you are then the emphasis put on family can be even more isolating. If you know someone who is unwilling or unable to spend time with their family for Christmas, please reach out and make sure they know they aren’t alone.

 

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Downloadable Prints

As it’s getting pretty late now to order things online in time for Christmas, I have a solution for your last minute gifts – downloadable prints! 

Just order the print, download, print, and frame! The prints are £1.50 each on Etsy, and the frames I’ve used here are £3 from Tesco, so if you’ve got a £5 Secret Santa limit, you’ll have enough left to throw some chocolate coins in with it!




You can also get instant access to all of these prints on my Patreon – join any tier now and you can print all 4 out (plus immediate access to new ones as and when I make them available) and you won’t be charged until January 1st! Tiers start at $1, and go up to $50 with varying rewards available at each level.

www.patreon.com/christinaashman 

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/Interrobangirl 

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Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!

I’m going to be making some changes to my shop after Christmas, and I’m already excited! I’ll be bringing a few things back, and discontinuing a few others. The overall plan is to have more ready-to-ship items in my shop, as it means a lot less stress for me, and you get your orders faster – everyone’s a winner! I’ll be keeping skirts and dresses pretty much the same, but with more RTS items, hopefully I’ll be able to cut the lead times of my made-to-order things.

What’s new?

Thanks to Patreon, I’ve already managed to order some prints and badges for my shop, which are now available to order from my Etsy shop. I’ve only been on Patreon for a couple of months, but already it’s been amazing for taking the pressure off a little bit, and allowing me to expand my range with new items!

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Badges 

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I’m going to bring cushion covers back! I didn’t mean to stop making them, it just sort of happened! I’ll make them in batches and have them in my shop as ready to ship, and just restock them as and when I’m able to. I get a lot of people telling me they love my designs, but they don’t have the confidence to wear them (which is a separate issue I will deal with at a later date!) so if they can have something for the home instead, then everyone’s happy!

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I’ll also be bringing back tote bags. I stopped making them during a particularly busy time – I was making skirts, dresses, totes and cushion covers to order, and it was exhausting! It’s less draining to have just skirts and dresses as made to order in the shop, and make accessories and things in batches when I have some free time. You can also get tote bags from my Redbubble shop.

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Finally, I’m going to start making children’s clothes! I already make the occasional skirt or dress as a custom order, but I’ll be adding them to my shop – I just haven’t decided yet if I’ll make them in batches and have them ready-to-ship, or if I’ll put them up as made to order. 

What’s leaving?

Remnants bags have already left the shop. They sold out about 2 weeks ago, and I didn’t relist them as I already had something else in mind for all my remnants. I’m going to start making some zero-waste skirts! They’ll basically be patchwork multicoloured madness, and I can’t wait to get started! I haven’t fully decided how it’ll work on Etsy, whether I’ll list each one separately with its own individual photos, or have one overall listing where it’s more of a pot-luck. Feel free to let me know which you’d prefer in the comments!

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I’m also going to be discontinuing swimwear and leggings. They’re quite expensive to make, and they take me a while, so removing them will free up some skirt-sewing time (and fabric-buying money!) You’ll still be able to get leggings from my Redbubble shop though, they just don’t have the size range I was offering.

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I’m really looking forward to making these changes, hopefully it’ll mean less stress, more orders, and shorter lead times!

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Last Chance!

I’m discontinuing the library print fabric at the end of the year, so it’s your last chance to get one of my skirts or dresses! 


The skater dress is made from a stretchy jersey material, it has elastic in the waist seam and it pulls on over the head. The arm and necklines are finished with double stitching. It’s handmade to order in UK sizes 6-36, and I ship worldwide.


My other library dress is made with cotton. It has a stretchy shirred back panel, a darted bodice, and full gathered skirt. Like the skater dress, it’s also available handmade to order in sizes 6-36.


I have 2 library skirts, which are the same style just in different lengths. They have an elastic waist, which is available in sizes S-XXL (UK 6-34), and they come in knee and midi length. 

Find the whole range, plus lots more different designs, in my Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/Interrobangirl 

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Sun Skirt Tutorial

I’ve just added my first sewing tutorial video to YouTube, showing you how to make this sun circle skirt!

To make this skirt you’ll need 2 yards of the sun fabric I designed for this project from my Spoonflower shop, I’ve used their Sport Lycra, but you can also use their Modern Jersey or Organic Cotton Knit.

I’ve also designed similar fabric with earth and the moon, which are both available to order from my Spoonflower shop.

The sun and moon skirts are both available handmade to order from my Etsy shop if you’d rather I make them for you!

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Bristol Fashion Week

Last night I went to the fashion show at The Mall. I’ve been to every one since they started, and it never disappoints! As it’s based in a shopping centre, it features clothes, shoes and accessories from high street shops like Marks & Spencer and Karen Millen. I love that everything in the show is accessible and affordable, and available in a wide range of sizes. After the show, you only need to walk from the temporary pavillion back over to the main shopping centre and you can buy everything you’ve just seen!

This year it was hosted by Mark Heyes and Denise Van Outen, who did a great job! 

  
I particularly love the diversity amongst the models. Of course there’s nothing wrong with being young, white and skinny – but I love that they choose to represent a much wider demographic, making it a much more inclusive experience for everyone in the audience.

  

As it was the Autumn/Winter show, I wanted something autumnal to wear, so I made myself a velvet skater dress. I loved the deep wine colour of this fabric when I bought it a few weeks ago, and I although I planned on making it with plenty of time to spare, I ended up starting on  it a few hours before I had to leave! I also dyed my hair to match and wore my new Irregular Choice dice shoes – the whole outfit got lots of lovely comments when I was wandering round the shops after the fashion show!

  
As always, there was a goody bag at the end for everyone! The fabric tote bag is great for shopping (especially now there’s a charge for plastic!) and it’s always filled with vouchers, product samples and little treats. 

  
There are still tickets available for today and tomorrow, so if you’re in Bristol or you can get here easily, I’d highly recommend it! 

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