In the earliest hours of September 17, while the customer service representatives for Evans, the UK plus-size fashion retailer, slumbered in their beds, an international fatshion (fat fashion) frenzy was brewing on Twitter. Plus-sized shoppers in the US and below the equator in Australia and New Zealand refreshed product pages and traded 140-character thoughts on the highly anticipated Beth Ditto collection.
In 2009, Beth Ditto, equally famous as lead singer of the Gossip and for her eclectic style choices and bold personality, worked with Evans to release a collection reflecting in-the-moment trends. The collection struck a nerve with its iconic pieces – and quickly disappeared from stock rooms. When word of Ditto’s second collection hit the internet, fatshionistas from all over the world were poised, credit card numbers at their finger tips, and ready to buy.
“It felt like the right time to do it, and right for us, really,” says Jules Barton-Breck, editor of Essentials. The October issue of her magazine, already on sale, is claimed to be a UK first – a glossy that’s entirely model- and celebrity-free.
Despite the fanfare, rejecting models and celebrities in favour of “realness” is nothing new. Dove launched its Campaign For Real Beauty in 2004, using “real” women in its ads, and tying them in to a global awareness-raising project of promoting female body-acceptance. Debenhams now bans airbrushing in its swimwear ad campaigns, claiming the aim is “to help customers make the most of their beauty without bombarding them with unattainable body images”.
I read on Drapers that newspaper group, the Guardian News & Media, has launched an online fashion store. Guardianfashionstore.co.uk links the newspaper’s fashion editorial content and allows Guardian and Observer readers to browse over 150,000 products, featuring 2,000 brands and retailers including All Saints, Whistles, French Connection and Browns.
I decided to go on and have a look around; it might have talked me into spending £30 for an umbrella. But it’s a Lulu Guiness bird cage umbrella! Ok, I have no self control.
Anyway, I thought the idea was quite clever, when readers want to buy a product they’re linked to the retailer or brand’s website to complete the transaction, so nothing is really done through The Guardian, other than browsing. The site has been created in partnership with LynkU.com, a fashion shopping search engine which displays products for online and bricks-and-mortar retailers. It’s a good idea if it will promote independent labels and give the opportunity to new British designers to sell their work.
Rachel Dixon, life & style editor for guardian.co.uk, said: “I’m really excited about our fantastic new fashion store, which stocks fashion and beauty products from hundreds of great labels – from exclusive designers right down to familiar high street names. Now readers can buy the products recommended by our writers with the click of a mouse, or read about the latest trend and find the look in store in moments.”