Repost from Glorify: Making fatshion accessible to all, required for none

A recent Facebook conversation I had with a few friends about fashion reminded me of this post I wrote last March. It was originally posted at Glorify: Basecamp for the Fat Acceptance Web, which unfortunately no longer exists, so I decided to re-post it here.

Making fatshion accessible for all, required for none

It’s an uncomfortable reality that fatshion, which is liberating for so many fat people, can also be alienating–even heartbreaking–for others.

I think it’s important to both 1.) make room in fat acceptance for all voices, not just the ones who are into fatshion and 2.) keep pushing to broaden the accessibility of plus size clothing, in terms of both cost and size.

Some fatties just aren’t into clothing, and that’s totally ok. It’s important to share the voices of a wide range of fatties with different experiences and focuses–which is something Glorify does really well.

At the same time, we can’t stop pushing to make fatshion as accessible as possible for those who want it.

On the Cost Front

Clothing swaps and bargain shopping events, like the Big Thrifty here in Boston, are a good way to make awesome clothing affordable to the many fatties who can’t afford the newest ASOS Curve or Domino Dollhouse designs. (Not to mention a great way to build fat community and model a sustainable economic system.) They’re becoming more and more popular–I read about a new event every week!

The downside is that such events usually take place in cities, which leaves out rural fatties. One alternative for them is online clothing exchange communities like Fatshionxchange. Most of the clothing is super-cheap, and there are some gems to be found.

I’ve both sold and bought clothing on Fatshionxchange, and I’ve gotten some great items for way cheaper than their list price. Unlike buying directly from the manufacturer, though, there are no returns or exchanges–so it works best for buying items of a brand or style you’re already familiar with.

On the Size Front

Kath of Fat Heffalump has been a leader in advocating for clothes for supersize fatties. She has offered to help plus size companies expand their lines, has gotten both Autograph and Target Australia to expand their plus size offerings, and started a Super Sizes Facebook group as a launchpad for more activism. She also has a thread for recommending companies that carry sizes above 3x/24.

A while back, Ariel of Kiddotrue started a campaign to expand ASOS Curve’s size range, although unfortunately it never took off. Should we try again with ASOS, maybe with a petition or emails in addition to a Twitter campaign? Is there another strategy that might work better, or other brands that might be more receptive?

If only we could take vacations from fat shaming…

I had a great time in New York. But unfortunately, fat stigma shows up everywhere.

Fuck you very much, New York City. Fuck you very much.

On a related note, the NYC subway turnstiles are tiny. Which is a problem not only for some fat people, but for some disabled people and people with strollers or luggage as well. Without luggage, I fit through them fine, although without much room to spare. With a suitcase and a backpack? Not so much.

The stations had a gate for disabled people, but it had to be opened by a station attendant.

Boston does it so much better. We have relatively wide gates instead of turnstiles. And at each station, there’s one extra-wide gate for disabled people and anyone else who needs it. You don’t have to ask anyone to open it–you just tap your card and go through.

I grumble about the T as much as the next Bostonian, but this is one thing it gets right. I hope that New York, and other cities, follow our example to make their subway systems more easily accessible.