Sunday, 22 February 2015
Fuller Figure Filling The Gap: Lady Voluptous.
If you happened to be anywhere near social media on the fatshion sphere on Friday you probably heard that Lady Vintage were releasing their new collection, Lady Voluptuous, a dedicated plus size collection in partnership with blogger Georgina Horne of Fuller Figure, Fuller Bust.
Naturally there was a lot of buzz and many were excited following the announcement. 12pm hit and the website struggled to cope with the sudden influx of visitors, myself being one. There was a lot of heated conversation surrounding this and some mixed reactions and I wanted to touch upon some thoughts I had regarding the collection, and the issues surrounding it.
Lady Voluptuous, as I said, is a dedicated plus size collection. What makes it important is that unlike most plus size ranges it doesn’t stop at a 24. This range starts at a 16 and goes up to a 32. As Debz pointed out in her blog this is really important because for so long super-fats have been let out of the fat fashion conversation. This is something that I have been side-eyeing for a long time and a problem I have within the fatshion sphere. Unlike Kelly Osbourne’s collection, apparently for “every woman!” but stopping at a 24, this collection reaches into sizes that are continually neglected, and the fact that within HOURS, the biggest sizes were selling out if not already sold out.
This is a big deal. Pardon the pun.
Often when criticizing the sizing choices of many plus size ranges many times I am met with “at least it’s something!” to which I say “something for whom?”
Fat blogging, and specifically fat fashion blogging, became something of an interest for me because I found that taking an interest in what I wore felt like –for me- really liberating. Fat bodies are highly politicized, so even just by sharing how I looked that day was a political act. There were no bodies like mine in the media so we fats created our own spaces, our own fashion media. I will celebrate all shapes, sizes, and styles. I read blogs by all.
But now I’m starting to get a bit tired with constantly having to be excited about new ranges that time and time again leave me, and those bigger than me, out of the conversation. We’ve been fighting this fight for a long time. It’s obvious to me that there is certainly a market for this. Look at the H&M Tulle Skirt. Bloggers proved there was a hunger for on trend fashion in the plus size market because that piece sold out in a heartbeat.
This is why the Lady Voluptuous range is important. Particularly as, contrary to popular belief, good quality vintage reproduction in anything over a 24, or a “3XL” (which, lets’ face it is usually a 22) is really hard to find without sitting into the wee hours on eBay, and even then finding anything with exciting prints, colours, or cuts is still impossible. It reminds me of a recent post Bernie Dexter made on her Facebook commenting on people buying from companies that make knock-off dresses from designers. I personally commented and noted that when these designers start making them in my sizes then I might, but I don’t see why I should respect companies that refuse to acknowledge that fat people exist. While I didn’t read many of the comments, Bernie continually claimed that there was a lot of “negativity” around her post. This IS Facebook so I don’t doubt that people weren’t rude. But there were a lot of people making a lot of valid points. Why should we deny ourselves beautiful looking dresses because they are cheap or ‘knock off’? Often fat voices, when critiquiing anything like this, are seen as being negative. I mean, we should be happy that there's something, right?
I’m not here to trash Bernie. Not in the least. I understand completely where she is coming from, as someone who fully supports artists and understand that having your work copied or emulated is frustrating. I absolutely get it. But that is as far as my loyalty lies and until fat people are going to be considered when making these lines I shall continue to buy from those that stock my size. Regardless of where it comes from, simply because my choices as a size 26+ is SO limited.
That's also not to say there aren't a lot of brands doing some amazing work on the plus size side. But is it wrong for me to want more for myself? Better quality? More variety?
Back to Lady Voluptuous.
As for the collection itself I’m a little disappointed. Owning a LV dress myself I know that they will be excellent quality. The dresses are all very beautiful.
So what’s the problem?
Well, if you look at the range of prints, colours, and styles etc in the LV range, then compare it to the plus sizes (even prior to the Lady Voluptuous range) there’s still a big gulf of what’s available. The Lady Voluptuous range has introduced a couple of new styles of dress, which is fantastic and they are lovely. But the collection is lacking in variety as far as prints go. But I get the impression this is not the last we will hear from this range so perhaps there may be more to come?
So what IS in the collection?
A lot of positives, for sure. Most notably, for me, the price. Often in plus size wear we are priced way, way up then straight sized lines. Even if it's from the same brand. But I was very pleased to see these dresses were priced the same. Between £40-£50 for a good quality repro piece, while not an everyday spend for many, is still certainly more reasonable +
Firstly the Medusa:
A figure hugging pencil dress that is very va-va voom! Not to mention in some unapologetic, bold colours as well as a racy leopard print. A deliberately figure hugging piece for super fats? Well go on then!
Another classic style, with a cross over bust and short sleeves that cover the top of the arm.
Lastly the Cosette
Not totally lacking in prints, these pieces are bright, bold, beautiful floral prints.
Have you managed to get your mitts on one these?
*Images kindly offered from Debz and Lady Vintage London