The ethical fatty paradox…

I’ve been working on/thinking about this piece for a while, but there have been moving parts. With COP26 happening a few miles from my doorstep now seemed the time to float it.

Finnisteon crane, the armadillo & hydro buildings on clydeside

I’m a big supporter of supporting small brands, especially local ones. The benefits of shopping small are multi fold and many naturally align themselves with anti climate change measures. Ethical business practices including zero waste, natural ingredients, recycling materials, vegan products, less environmental impact of using locally sourced material & taking to market close to that source are all more prevelant (& easier to confirm) in small business. There are of course also the direct human impacts of living wages, supporting passion projects & allowing sustainable lifestyles to thrive. It all adds up to small brands being a sensible & compassionate way to spend your money.

What’s more, this thinking is going mainstream. We’re all really staring to get on board with this thinking. It’s a slow burn, but the flames are building. Ethical consumption is becoming a hot topic. All of which is wonderful, except for the people who are excluded. There are barriers to ethical shopping. Some of which are not at the fault of the business. For example, cost. Paying a living wage, sourcing ethical material, handmade items etc all necessarily drive up price. That more people can afford those prices is a societal issue (which also massively impacts climate change). However, sometimes the exclusion is a choice & that’s where your favourite fat nag comes in.

As a fat disabled freelancer I find myself forced to buy from places that would not be first choice. Having a variable income & a fat arse means I have to rely on fast fashion much more than I would I like. I do really try to support ethical brands, but with clothes in particular it is a struggle. I usually wear a uk 20/22, which though on the smaller side of the plus range, is still battle underrepresented outside the big high street brands. If I did not have access to the internet my wardrobe would rapidly diminish. I would love to shop in the many cool independent shops that Glasgow has spurned, but it honestly isn’t possible. There are limited options for t shirts & more expensive made to measure items. For most items, matching even high end big brand prices is still a dream.

The reason it’s taken me so long to put this together is that I tried a little fashion experiment. I searched a selection of small independent stores in Glasgow for my own or larger sizes. When I couldn’t find any I contacted the shops to enquire if they planned to expand their ranges to include larger people. The answers I received (or not) were deeply predictable.

Amaryllis Boutique

The largest size I could find on their site was a UK 20 & that was only a few items. I contacted them late September to ask if they had any plans to extend their range of sizes. I have yet to receive a response.

Hayley McSporran Studio

The largest size I could find on this site was a UK 18. This brand is billed as slow fashion made in Glasgow. I contacted them in late September & did receive a quick response. However, it was the familiar story of being a very small brand & so unable to expand their sizing. I’ve never bought this argument as an independent small batch creator is entirely in control of what they produce. If inclusivity were a priority they would work it out.

Nancy Smillie

This site was the most confusing. Most of their clothes had no size information at all. I contacted the shop mid September & received a quick reply. Their clothes are ‘one size fits all’, which apparently will fit a size 12-18 depending on required fit. I’m sure all my fellow fatties will be as dubious of ‘one size’ as I am. It almost always mean, not for you. However, when I asked about plans to extend sizing they did say that added new lines/designers every season and they may stock larger sizes in the future. Although that answer is vague it did at least show willingness to expand.

Gallus Alice

I contacted this shop in late July to ask if the had plans to extend their size range & have yet to receive a response. The biggest size I could find on their website was an XL & that was only available for some t-shirts. There’s no size guide on the site, so I don’t know what the XL translates to. I can say that I have tried to shop here (they have lots of cool things) & nothing came close to fitting me.

Pampas Glasgow

The largest size I could find on their site was UK 16. I contacted them in August & have yet to receive a response.

The point of this experiment is not to damage these brands. They are all small independent businesses stocking desirable fashion. Rather I just want to show the lack of options for the would be ethical fat consumer. Please continue to patronise independent local boutiques. It is important that we help this type of business flourish. However, if you notice that your fav has a limited size range please ask them about that. There is a huge untapped market, we need customers to show interest in larger sizes to prove that.

If you are looking for small Scottish brands to support you can find some here & here .

I ain’t buying it…

I know you all love my cranky little rants. So, here go, part 3 of all the current trends I ain’t buying.

SHEIN

I get the appeal. They do produce lots of really cute clothes for a total steal. The obvious fast fashion issues aside Shein has another dirty habit. They steal. Specifically, designs from small brands. They are notorious for ripping off independent creators & massively undercutting the price point. A quick google will show you just how often they do this. This is beyond scummy. It seriously harms those small brands & I’m not supporting it.

Wilde Mode
Sincerely Ria
Elexiay

NOUGHTIES YUCK

Let’s stay on fashion, but stray into I just hate it territory. The return of early noughties style is not pleasing me. Every site is packed with ruched barely there shiny satin. I was around in 00’s and I knew then that this was fashion death. I do not understand the resurgence of the Paris Hilton X early days Girls Aloud look. Some looks need to be forgotten and this is definitely one of them.

Orange shiny satin straps dress & lime green ruched mini skirt
Early girls aloud in shiny strapped outfits.

PROLON

Next up will be no surprise. ProLon is the latest diet fad and it’s gross. Disappointingly this product keeps coming up in my socials. It claims to mimic a fast without actually having to fast. It consists of everything you’re supposed to eat for 5 days. Including soups, shakes, olives & kale crackers. In other words, hardly anything at all. ProLon makes all the usual quack claims; kick starts your metabolism, cleanses your system yada yada. It’s all the usual diet culture nonsense. Barely eating doesn’t clean out your system, whatever that’s even supposed to mean. Starvation diets damage your metabolism they don’t fix them. You may well lose weight eating soup & olives for 5 days, but you’ll put it right back on again as soon as you return to eating actual meals. Diets don’t work. Fasting is not healthy. Please don’t waste your money on this

Diet Nonsense

DISAPPEARING BIKINI BOTTOMS

I’ll finish on a lighter note with the laughably small bikini pants. These are back strong this summer. I’m not denying they look great, they really do. I just have one question, where do I put my vulvu? I don’t care how petite you are down there the minute you move that fabric is gone. Your lips are absolutely going to munch those tiny bikini bottoms. I’m convinced that some sort of glue is involved and I’m not here for it. Neither is my pandemic bush.

Woman in tiny yellow bikini
Does the glue come with purchase?

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