Today is the unveiling of my blog, and while not a lot is buzzing through yet, this first post is a very important one: why write a blog about fashion (let alone plus size, ethical fashion) in the first place. I apologize for the length, but I hope you enjoy.
To arrive at where I am now, I have to back track and start at the beginning of body image for me.
All through my adolescence, I was a rather skinny (though well endowed) girl. I wore a size 8 jeans, a medium size in tops, but still was very curvy for my size. I am also 5’10”, so the idea of having a “perfect body” was never something I thought I had to begin with. I felt insecure about my breast size, and that I didn’t fit into a 5’5″ weight range and size.
Despite those feelings, I still felt good about my body & the clothes I was buying (Hollister, American Eagle, Abercrombie, and so forth). The clothes were something I felt I needed in order to feel popular, secure in who I was, and that I had the money to purchase such clothes.
When I got to college, that did change, but instead, I went for clothes at Old Navy and Forever 21. I was still in a size 8 & medium top, and I was very wrapped up in wanting people to like the way I looked.
It wasn’t until a few years into college that I started gaining a little weight here and there. I ate a few things here and there, and I eventually gained forty pounds by the time my junior year in college came around. I was in a size 12, I could wear a large top, though I felt more comfortable in a XL shirt.
Over that summer, I had realized I wasn’t loving myself, Erika, for who I really was. I would look in the mirror and not see myself, because all of my worth went into a former version of myself that only cared about herself.
I adjusted to this new body, a size 14 Jean, and plus size stores. And I started loving how much the women at stores like Torrid, Old Navy, and Lane Bryant wanted to serve women and show them they are beautiful right now, and they don’t have to love a past future version of themselves.
The craziest thing happened. For most of my life I had shamed my body in fear of becoming obese and not being “desirable”. And when I arrived, it was only then that I actually started loving Erika and the body I’ve been given. As a plus size woman (and to be clear, I DO NOT represent or generalize all plus size women – I can only represent my journey as a plus size journey) I found freedom in enjoying my curves, and loving who I am underneath a skin deep version of myself.
The reason why this part of my story is so important to highlight is because this is a root issue to why many consumers buy what they buy. What’s even more fascinating, is how consumers buy something without the facts of WHO made the product that is so desirable to them. Now that I’ve been a plus size for a year and a half now, there was an even deeper conviction realized: who makes these clothes?
China, Thailand, Cambodia, India, Vietnam, Mexico, and the list continued. I started researching, Googling questions of a company and where they produce their clothes. I saw a pattern, and my heart sank when I realized how much this world issue had ultimately become my issue.
Ever wonder why a cute shirt can only cost $5? Or $3 shoes? Go into your closet now, and think “Can I account for how much all of my clothes cost?” I got lost in the waves of clothes I have in my closet. I started asking the question why? Now let me be the first to say that I’m not an economics major, but I do know this: the majority of America’s clothing comes from these developing countries (excluding China in this scenario), and out of those developing countries, the labor law standards they have for any employee is a fraction of a fraction of what an ethical standard would be in a country like the United States.
It’s ironic that a country that is claimed to shine “the American Dream” can have no standards for the clothes we wear on our backs. If our country was founded because of a king oppressing us, can we not lend our perspective, sympathy, and hope to other countries who are being oppressed? We have the resources to change a global phenomenon, but these countries can’t be held accountable without us.
So I decided to stop buying clothes that are not ethically made. This blog is all about clothes that no one is making a dollar a day on, clothes that are for plus size women (ranging from size 12-20) and are still trendy.
When I started researching if this was even a possibility, I felt like I had to choose 2 of the three, but I think there are ways to cultivate capsule wardrobes that are ethically priced.
Over the next year, I’m going to be blogging about the clothes I buy, the company (and hopefully people I buy them from) and I hope it brings a conviction to make a change yourself, and that this mountain is not impossible to climb. That there will be a day when the stories behind your clothes become more than just a fashion statement.