Beth Ditto Makes Fat Fashionable
Beth Ditto, punk singer and fashion icon (I think that's what you call a lady who has made it onto the cover of Rolling Stone and gotten her own fashion line before the age of 30 without having first driven a promising acting career into the ground) is being charged with the grandiose task of making plus size fashion truly fashionable. What's remarkable is that she's achieving the leviathan mission with effortless glee that makes thinner fashionistas wail in despair.
Fat has never been a more loathed word than it is today, indeed most of the time 'fat' gives way to darker terms like 'obese' and 'morbidly' obese. Is Beth Ditto obese? Probably, but she's not bed ridden giving herself sponge baths, she's jetting around the world and bouncing about on stage in Lady Gaga style unitards without the slightest sense of shame - and people love her for it.
The secret to Beth's success seems to be an irrepressible spirit and a staunch refusal to hide away from those who would judge her as 'less than' due to her most evident fatness. In an interview with Giles Hattersley, journalist for The Times, Beth chatted quite openly about the hypocrisy of the fashion industry when it comes to the issue of fatness: “I know that one year Karl Lagerfeld was refusing to make clothes for women of a certain size, and the next year he was asking me to play the Fendi party,” she says. “What a contradiction they are! But they’re probably just as big victims of not being able to see beyond the ends of their noses as all the people complaining about it. You have to get in there, shake it up.”
What's inspiring about Beth is the fact that she truly has bent fashion to her will. Not content with wearing what was already available for larger women, Beth made her own clothing when necessary, and carved out a punk niche with her band, Gossip, that cemented her place as not just 'a fat girl', but a woman of style and substance.
Beth says: “I don’t understand all these women who say they feel betrayed by fashion. A piece of clothing can’t talk — it can’t tell you that you can’t have it — so really, you're just telling yourself that. You make yourself the victim, because if you want clothes that bad, then make them yourself. You have to get creative if you’re fat. I’m really good at turning a belt into a necklace, and I can always find a nice pair of earrings.”
Beth Ditto's fashion line launched on the 23rd of September in London and can be purchased at Selfridges.