Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Meeting Beth: Beth Ditto's SS16 Collection is Here!



I arrived to meet Beth a little frazzled. I'd gotten lost on my way to the personal shopping suite, and so had pretty much taken a full tour of Selfridges at this point. A good reminder that department stores of this nature actually stock very little in my size. 


I was here to meet with Beth, and talk about her new collection - currently available exclusively at Selfridges. I was expecting to interview her, but after a long day with the press Beth seemed to want to chill and chat. Um, fine by me! I was there with gorgeous curve model Felicity Hayward, and babesome blogger Callie from The Corners of the Curve, and we just pretty much hung out and chatted about fashion, being plus size and squirrel cages (yup). 



I absolutely adore this Eat Your Make Up pattern - available in a dress, top and leggings


It's pretty nerve-wracking meeting your heroes. Truth be told, I had gone there a little bit ready to be let down. I mean figured that sure, Beth Ditto is a body positive warrior and an ultra cool rock star with kick ass style and a social conscience, but she's probably not actually nice. Um, WRONG! She's just about the most likeable person I've ever met (how totally unprofessional of me to be gushing right now, but seriously). She has an innate ability to put people at ease. Minutes after we'd been ushered into her suite by her hardworking PR team, we were all curled up on the sofas like a gaggle of girlfriends, and I was immediately seduced by her Arkansas drawl (which doesn't seem to have dimmed at all), and her quite remarkable beauty. 



Me and Beth 


It wasn't long before Beth was asking as where we were all from (four different accents in that room - Arkansas, Wales, London, South Africa) and telling us tales of her childhood, and what it's like to eat squirel - "If you can eat a frog, you can eat a squirrel". Eventually, after a lot of giggles we got on to fashion.  

We all agreed that, while there is still a way to go with improving inclusivity and diversity, things are changing. Fat women have more choice than ever before when it comes to clothing. The high street is slowly adding plus to their repertoire, and gone are the days when you had maybe three brands to choose from. And we agreed this is cause for celebration. But just because we're happy with the progress that's been made doesn't mean that we're done pushing for change. 

    While the high street is upping its game, designer plus size fashion is scarce. There are a handful of brands out there making ethically produced, beautifully cut, unique pieces for plus size women. I described how, walking through Selfridges earlier, I had seen rack after rack of gorgeous clothing, none of which would fit me. And it made me realise how vital collections like Beth's are. They serve to change the fashion landscape. 




Seven years ago when Beth collaborated with Evans, she was showing the world that plus size women wanted to be fashion forward. They were done hiding, and wanted vibrant prints, fitted silhouettes and bold fabrics. What Beth was giving us was choice. She was showing retailers that plus size fashion didn't have to be done one way. And that's how I see her latest offering.

The fatshion movement is changing things. Fat women are finding peace with their bodies. We're learning to stop warring with ourselves, and celebrate our shapes instead. And perhaps when you no longer feel the need to constantly be on a diet, feel the need to reduce, to change, you realise you want to be able to buy designer pieces, and have all the choices smaller women have. If you're not trying to drop several dress sizes then it makes sense to invest in great quality pieces that will last. You can actually feel like you deserve them.

And so Beth's new collection gives us that. These are carefully cut, statement pieces, all made ethically in the US. The fabrics are luxurious (the jumpsuits contain 7 yards of silk), the cuts accentuate and celebrate the plus size body, the ruches and ties exist to really play up curves. And this is not fast fashion. These are pieces that will last. A lot of them will go on to be relevant season after season (I've lost count of the amount of women who tell me they still wear pieces from her Evans collections - Beth knows timeless!). 



Barefoot Beth styling Felicity




Me trying on the Young Americans vintage denim jacket


Having spent the last couple of week surrounded by the great and the good of the fashion world, Beth just seemed really excited to see her clothes on some big women! We'd not been in there long before she was urging us all to be trying bits on. Taking us through the collection, she showed how each piece was crafted for plus size bodies, and had quite a lot of fun styling us up. I fell in love with the Young Americans denim jacket (more about it below) and just didn't want to take it off, so wore it for the launch, and meet and greet on the shop floor. Beth was, unsurprisingly, great with the crowd who turned up to support her and see the collection and spent ages having pictures with everyone.  

Generally I really liked the entire collection, and would love to spend ages trying it all on, but here are some of my faves:





I just loved this piece. I think it's the jacket I have been searching for! Each jacket is unique, as they have all been sourced from vintage stores and then embroidered with this most wonderfully whimsical, colourful pattern. The one I tried was a Lee jacket, and I loved the fit. This jacket would work as well with a hoodie and some harem pants for a casual look as it does over my leopard print wiggle dress. I am totally in love with it. And considering the wear I think you would get out of a core piece like this, I don't think the £230 price tag is bad at all. 




Beth rocked this adorable bubble dress for the London store launch at Selfridges. I love the fun, standout print and the fabulously drapey nature of this creation. Something about it feels a little Grecian to me actually (maybe it's just me) and I love the way that plays off the modern awesomeness of the print. The dress has little drawstrings on the shoulders so you can adjust for the perfect fit, and I love the way Beth styled it with this thick obi belt to really emphasise her gorgeous shape. 




I've struggled to find a picture where you can see just how great this piece is, but I adore it. Beth wore it to the launch party at The Edition later that evening, again with a thicker belt, and it just totally worked. As I am am tall and long limbed I had always assumed that jumpsuits would just be something that worked on me, but so far I am yet to find 'the one' - I think this could be it! And with it's fantastic harem styling, and in classic black it's going to work season after season. I really want to get my hands on one of these too!

When Beth talks about her collection, you can here the positivity in her voice. She has a desire to keep learning, to keep improving. She wants to make beautiful, ethically made, timeless pieces for big girls. I am pretty sure she is hell bent on changing how plus size fashion is seen. And that is exciting stuff! Sure the price points are higher, but this is all about choice. Having more choice can only be a good thing, in a market that was so limited for so long. And there is a rarity of luxury in plus size brands that I think she is keen to address. 

I want to spend some time trying the collection on, and hope to bring you a fuller review with fit details etc soon, but from what I've seen this is an exciting step forward. Whether it is in your budget or not, making plus size fashion more high profile and more diverse should, I think, be celebrated as a positive step. One we have long been waiting for. And one that will hopefully make retailers take their own steps in that direction.

 

Late night selfie of me and Beth, snapped at the launch party 

So tell me what you think of the collection? Seen anything you fancy? Are you excited about the diversification, or worried about the price tag? Let me know below x
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8 comments

  1. Your outfit for the event was HOT btw, I've not stopped thinking about the fierceness since I saw it! Beth is a babe, this collection is babeworthy and I cannot wait to get it on my body (going for a try on session on Monday!)

    Lottie xx
    http://lottielamour.co.uk

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    1. Aw, you are such a love! I did feel pretty foxy I must admit! Eeek! Hope the trying on went well x

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  2. A great collection and it is wonderful to see such a good rangeof styles. Love that double bubble silk dress, the pattern is fab.

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    1. I know - pattern to die for! Makeup forever!

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  3. It's so amazing that you got to meet her - I am utterly in love with the entire collection, especially the denim jacket and make-up print. Also that bubble silk jumpsuit is so David Bowie, I can't even begin to explain the joy! It's all so good! :)

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    1. I know, it's just fresh and fun. That's what I love about it!

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  4. I love that black silk jumpsuit, I definitely think I'm going to have to treat myself (sorry bank balance). I bet it was wonderful to meet her, she seems really down to earth and lovely. Also I have to say you look stunning, your hair is just amazing.

    Paige X
    Modebeautex

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    1. Go on! Treat yo'self!
      Paige, she is the loveliest. And so are you! Thanks for the sweet comments x

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