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Little victories

May 27, 2013

Struggling against oppression is endless. The trolls never stop, and you are fighting culture, bias, the government, and sometimes even your own doctor just to stand up for your right to simply exisist as yourself. Sometimes I feel like this site’s cheerleader, with recent posts like this and this. But guys, recently really we are making up more and more ground in the culture wars. Two cases in point, both from the fashion industry. First, a change in how our clothes will be made and second a fast sell-out of flabulous swimwear.

Two students are making positive waves in the fashion industry, as Cornell University sophomores Brandon Wen and Laura Zwanziger have developed a plus-sized dress form with more accuracy than ever before, allowing designers to accomodate larger body types.

As someone who sews, the pattern is the most important part if you want to be able to replicate, say, a pair of pants over and over again. Until now, most patterns for plus-sized clothing was simply smaller sizes, made bigger. But human fat doesn’t distribute evenly. We get bigger butts or stomachs or  arms, not taller torsos, as we get fatter. Then, designers require a mannequin for final sizing to translate a 2D pattern into a 3D shape in order to prevent waists from bunching and to keep coverage correct over, say, a butt. Wen and Zwanziger found that pre-existing plus-sized fit models were simply scaled-up versions of smaller forms, while plus-sized figures have different features.


Under the guidance of Susan Ashdown, the Helen G. Canoyer Professor in the Department of Fiber Science & Apparel Design (FSAD) in the College of Human Ecology, they analyzed thousands of 3-D body scans of women to define a prototype body size and shape. The team matched it to a single scan of a pear-shaped, size-24 woman from the FSAD department’s 3-D body scanner and used it to develop a pattern for the shape and contours of their mannequin.

Professor Ashdown describes the positive consequences of an adequate fit further:

“Instead of just scaling up something designed for a different-sized woman, or even thinking about clothing as something to disguise a body or make a body look different than it is, the students sought to celebrate shape as it really is.”

The second little fatshion victory coincides with the holiday weekend and the start of summer:  The Gabi Gregg collaboration with online swimsuit retailer Swimsuits For All was eagerly anticipated and sold out instantly.


As Jenna Sauers wrote in Jezebel:

Gregg, long well-known in the fat-acceptance and plus-size fashion blogospheres, became famous after photos she posted of herself relaxing in a bikini — which she called her “fatkini” —went viral. That led to Today Show appearances and a gig writing a column for InStylemagazine. The Swimsuits For All collaboration was announced in April and the product images — shots of Gregg and other women modeling neon and galaxy-print bikinis and a jewel-print maillot with mesh panels, all looking very trippy and Spring Breakers — were covered positively by USAToday, Fashionista, Refinery29, the Daily Mail, XOJane, and MTV, among others. The neon and jewel-print suits were cute, but the real prize of the collection was obviously the galaxy bikini, modeled by Gregg herself. Who wouldn’t want a swimsuit that looked like the universe?

The fact that the swimsuits sold out instantly is even further covered, getting mentions in The Washington Post and The New York Times. Guys, fat women are buying so many cute BIKINIS that they are selling out instantly!  How’s that for Body Acceptance progress?!?


5 Comments leave one →
  1. glmorrison permalink
    May 27, 2013 1:18 pm

    Reblogged this on FATtitudes.

  2. violetyoshi permalink
    May 27, 2013 8:58 pm

    This is awesome! I’m glad to see that people are finally listening to us, and realizing that empty stores full of clothing for thin people, isn’t a good marketing strategy.

  3. May 30, 2013 12:30 pm

    Yeah, I also feel a little triumphant that the fatkinis sold out. And that I got the galaxy-print one before it did! But I have to say, I have witnessed SEVERAL well-meaning internet folks UP IN FUCKING ARMS about the word “fatkini” in a way that just makes me want to punch things. To them it’s the worst word in the world, “fat,” and you CANNOT convince them that fat stigma is a bigger problem than an activist attempt to fight it, which…man. I hope you’re right that the zeitgeist is coming along a little bit, but pushing it is goddamn exhausting. Wider visibility of fat politics and bodies is going to mean more people being stupid about them in addition to people getting positive exposure to them.

  4. May 31, 2013 1:02 pm

    Reblogged this on The Cheese Whines and commented:
    For once, models with bodies similar to mine. I may have a heart attack and die from that surprise.

  5. Dizzyd permalink
    June 1, 2013 7:09 pm

    Trolls – haha! Take that! It must burn, seeing us being treated as actual fatshionistas rather than hiding at home in our little rooms. Too bad for you!

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