Ten intentions for fighting dismantling the industrial complex

collage of three pictures of pink and black upcycled clothing items

Upcycling inspiration from Broken Ghost Clothing

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post about fatshion and revolution, here are ten ways I’ve thought of to work toward a more ethical, sustainable, and inclusive politics of fatshion. These are things I intend to work on; if you’re doing anything similar, I’d love to hear about it!

1. ) Buy less. Spend less time looking at plus size retailers’ websites, and find other pretty things to look at instead (and somehow reconcile this with my hopes of eventually starting a fat-positive style consulting service…).

2.) Thrift more. Organize more fat thrifting excursions, and check out thrift stores I’ve never been to–such as Savers, which I’ve heard great things about.

3.) Hold more clothing swaps, and support other people who want to host swaps of their own. Continue to signal-boost clothing swaps happening in other areas.

4.) Cut down on the number fatshion blogs I read–there are currently over 200 in my feed reader–and engage more with a smaller number of bloggers. Skimming a large number of blogs makes it easy to get caught up in marketing cycles of hype and desire, and I’d like to step back from that a bit.

4.) Keep an eye out for fatshion bloggers who focus on thrifting, swapping, and upcycling.

5.) Think and write more about alternative business models, from indie subscription boxes like Crown & Glory’s Glitterati to worker-owned cooperatives. I haven’t heard of any worker-owned coops within the fashion industry, and while I am not in a position to start my own, I think it’s still worth imagining what that might look like.

6.) Look for creative ways to use the powers of fatshion for good, such as donating to the Leelah Project.

7.) Learn to sew, at least to the extent that I can alter and upcycle my own clothes. I don’t think I have the spatial skills to make clothing completely from scratch, but I’d love to learn to at least add details and make small changes. I have a few friends who sew, and we’ve been talking about having an altering/upcycling party forever–it’s just a matter of actually doing it.

8.) Highlight indie designers, of both clothing and accessories, on my blog. I’d like to focus especially on lesser-known designers.

9.) Continue to signal boost other fat activists’ writing about issues other than fatshion, and write about them myself when I have something to say.

10.) Seek out writing that explores social constructions of style, beauty, and looking good from intersectional fat perspectives, and signal-boost it when I find it.

To be honest, on the rare occasions that a fast fashion brand makes something truly exciting in plus sizes, I’ll probably still celebrate it. How could I not celebrate fat babes in a wide range of sizes rocking a pale pink tutu? But I intend to pay less attention to whatever big corporation is treating its fat customers shittily at the moment (pro tip: it’s almost always Old Navy or Target), and spend more brain-space on creating alternatives.

12 thoughts on “Ten intentions for fighting dismantling the industrial complex

  1. You’ve compiled some great ideas here. I’d like to take up more thrift shopping. I suppose I’ve avoided it because I worry about the lack of plus size options. Sometimes I just don’t have the patience for sifting through all those racks, especially when it’s discouraging that nothing will fit anyways. Kyle loves going thrifting, so we’ll have to make a date of it sometime soon.

    I’m also really interested in those upcycled pieces by Broken Ghost Clothing. I love pieces that look like mixed media creations, and these definitely fit the bill!

    ❤ Liz

    • Thanks! I know what you mean about not always having the patience to sift through all those racks. I’m lucky that my local Goodwill has a plus size rack, but most thrift stores don’t, and it can get really frustrating. The plus size selection also varies widely among different thrift stores–I’ve found some that regularly have a decent selection of plus sizes, and others that have nothing at all. It is definitely a lot more fun to thrift with other people than alone, so a thrifting date sounds like a good idea!

      Clothes that look like mixed media art are the best! I’ve come across a bunch of Etsy shops that make them, and I love browsing through their items.

  2. I’m already big on thrifting.. in fact, there was a time that I went about 2 years without stepping foot in a non-thrift store. Just the other day I managed to find a pair of size 20 jeans from Additionelle-Elle in a local consignment shop.. tags still on, originally 69.99, I think I paid $12. Which rocks, because I won’t go to my local-ish AE, due to a clerk that treated me rather shittily.

    I have not one but TWO sewing machines currently collecting dust. They scare the hell out of me, but I would love to make my own clothes. My daughter does cosplay so I also want to encourage her to learn as well so she can make her own costumes. It’s so intimidating though!

      • That’s so true. I’ve been smaller than I am now, and when I was smaller, it was so much easier to find clothes in thrift stores. In college, I got most of my wardrobe from thrift stores and eBay, and I had so many more options because I was anywhere from a size 12ish to a 16ish at varying points throughout school. Now, as a 22ish, I have a lot fewer options, and definitely much less interesting options, in thrift stores.

    • That’s awesome about the $12 Addition Elle jeans! I love finds like that.

      I know the feeling, I find clothes-making really intimidating too. Everything I’ve read about it sounds so complicated (and honestly, so full of math, which I just don’t want to deal with), which is why I mostly want to stick with learning how to add things to existing items. I hope that both you and your daughter can figure out ways to start making your own clothes and costumes!

  3. Thrifting is one of those areas that I wish the UK was more like America. You have (from what I’ve seen on blogs) vast warehouses of stuff for super cheap. England has half a dozen tiny shops per town of things we call charity shops which make money for things like Cancer Research, Age UK etc but the prices – particularly in cities – are massive. You might find a vest top more expensive than what the original owner may have paid in the sale for example. Also a lot of the plus size options are either very worn or old lady clothing like stiff pleated skirts and floral blouses with shoulder pads. I have found some nice things over the years through volunteering. It’s also not a great option if you’re non-binary or of the alternative persuasion.

    I definitely agree with needing to learn how to sew though. I want to be able to alter stuff without getting my mum to do it and maybe combing things to make new stuff. We do need to get a new sewing machine first though. Our old one (older than my 24 years) broke down and the one we were borrowing we had to give back since we fell out with the person we were borrowing it from.

    • That’s too bad about UK charity shops being so small and expensive! The situation is better here in the US, although it varies a lot by area. Some thrift stores are small, some are big (and then there are consignment stores, which are usually nicer quality but also way more expensive and, at least in my experience, much less likely to carry plus sizes). Some of them don’t have plus sizes at all, or have just old lady stuff, but some of them have a good plus size selection. I’m lucky that one of the thrift stores closest to me does–it actually has a separate plus size rack, so I don’t have to sort through the entire store. The plus size selection is usually pretty bland and basic compared to the straight size selection, but at least it’s something.

      I hope you can get a new sewing machine soon! Altering things, and combining items to make new pieces, would definitely be cool.

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