What the Fug?

I try not to use this blog as a forum to slate designers and highlight all that is wrong with the plus size fashion industry because I want this lil corner to be somewhere positive and inspiring.  I see lots of plus size clothing that makes me think WTF and I ignore it. But what I’ve seen today is worthy of  Grand Hall of WTF infamy and needs to be highlighted. What is this mess?  High end mess at that.

And why have Saks bought it for their Salon Z collection? What, they sell burial shrouds now? I never knew. When I kick the bucket please be sure NOT to bury me in this because I really don’t want to meet my maker wearing something that makes me look like I gave up all hope long before I died. Not only is it bloody ugly, it doesn’t fit the model and she doesn’t look happy to be wearing it- not that I can blame her really, I too would have a face like thunder if I was made to don this not very gay apparel even if only for a photo shoot. She’s not exactly “selling” it is she? To add insult to injury, Saks want $349 of your hard earned for it.

The dress is by a design duo called Lewis Cho whose name I have heard but never looked at their work in depth. I hit the website and fully expected to see a whole collection of similarly tent-tastic ensembles that I could laugh at. If I had done, this post would have ended at the last paragraph and I would have had my fun and moved on. Instead, what I found was a collection of stylish, appealling, wearable items in straight sizes, many of which would look great in my wardrobe with a little tweak here and there to alter the shorter lengths and get rid of the spaghetti straps etc. Nothing major.

I LOVE that striped dress and the other version they have done using the same fabric-

But when it comes to the old chewing gum coloured atrocity in the first image I have to wonder what they were thinking. Old chewing gum is based on this…

…and is a perfect example of why just because you size something up doesn’t mean it will  work on a plus figure. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t but you have to know when it will. Maybe OCG has been done an injustice and would have looked much better on a model who fit the garment? Or maybe nothing would have helped.

The blouse on the left is from the plus range at Salon Z and the blouse on the right is from the straight size collection on the Lewis Cho website. I like it.  The plus version is pretty identical to the straight version but again, the plus size version doesn’t fit the model so doesn’t do a great job of promoting it to the customer. At least you can make a good judgement about what it might look like if it did fit.

OCG might have worked better if more consideration had been givento the plus size body it was designed for. The double layered sleeves are a pretty feature but I think the body needs to be more shapely. A bias cut dress would have looked good (looking at the picture I don’t think it is bias cut but I could be wrong), or an additional seam or two for shaping. OCG could have worked; but it doesn’t and its a shame.

Even though I’ve said all that I must emphasise that I’m only talking about one garment in the Salon Z range.  The vast majority of it looks great and there are more than a few pieces I would buy tomorrow especially the dresses by Amanda Uprichard and Tadashi- oh, and a killer LBD by David Meister. I hope Lewis Cho continue to do plus sizes as its great to see young designers targeting a market we all know is under served, I just hope that OCG gets put to sleep and reincarnated as something beautiful.


12 Comments on “What the Fug?”

  1. OMG, that grey thing just beggars belief! It looked bad enough on the skinny girl. The plus-sized one looks like she cut a hole in a duvet cover just big enough to stick her head through.

    Unfortunately the whole sorry farce is just symptomatic of an industry that, for the most part, doesn’t want to have anything to do with fat bodies. So few people professionally involved in the fashion industry are fat themselves, (and by this I don’t just mean the designers but the CEOs, fashion editors and buyers too), they haven’t a clue what we want to wear and don’t know any fat people they could ask. To add insult to injury this includes most of the plus size manufacturers too – I believe Torrid is the only company that boasts a fat, female CEO.

    To put it bluntly, when a fat-phobic individual involved in a fat-phobic industry reluctantly agrees to design a garment for the kind of body it finds distasteful, alien and/or fear-inducing, the result is invariably going to be a sad grey rag. I dearly wish there was something we could do to educate the UK industry. Did you hear Elvi has recently gone bust?

    • Deena says:

      I hadn’t heard that Elvi had gone under but I know they’ve been treading water hard for the past four years or so and were in adminstration at the beginning of last year. I had hoped they could stay afloat but I guess not. Another retailer bites the dust and an already small plus size industry gets a bit tinier.

      There was an attempt around 2006 to arrange a plus size trade show where buyers could view collections from designers worldwide, network and provide more visibility for the industry. I think the event was called Woman XL- I read about it in a trade magazine and got all excited. Then it was cancelled due to lack of interest. Lack of interest from designers or buyers, I don’t know. I just know that I would love to see this idea re- ignited- esp since theres a similar event happening in New York this summer- and get plus sizes taken seriously so we can see fewer grey shrouds and more stylish clothes.

      • Elvi have a big closing down sale advertised on their website at the moment. Drapers Record reported that the owner couldn’t find backing to keep it afloat. I wasn’t a huge fan and thought they were really overpriced but I have found some decent pieces in there over the years and, as you say, it’s a total pisser we’ve lost one of only 3 dedicated plus size high street chains in the country – especially since Anne Harvey seems to have lost the plot entirely over the past few years.

        Did you see the Trinny and Susannah thing a few months back? That pretty much went the way of the 2006 event you mentioned. They invited loads of mainstream fashion chains to come to a symposium on the plus size market and only a scant handful turned up – two of which were Evans and Elvi. At the end of the show Evans was the only company they seemed to be having any kind of dialogue with. The show was falling over itself to present a positive, celebratory message but the underlying one was that the industry was showing us its collective arse. Lord knows what it would take to make them wake up and realise how much money they could be making out of this woefully and willfully neglected market.

      • Deena says:

        I’ve never really liked Elvi and have never bought anything from there. Once in a blue moon I would come across something I like but its very rare and I’ve never bought it because I too think they were overpriced. I always pass by the concession whenever I’m in HoF though, just in case. I find Ann Harvey slightly better but not overly so. I buy an Ann Harvey item every two years approx but its still a store I always browse around.

        Do you remember the very short lived younger line they tried some years ago? I think it was called Anya but it wasn’t around very long. I esp remember a hot pink suede skirt they did that I loved. Ann Harvey should re launch it- maybe during the deepest throes of the recession isn’t the best time to launch a new label, but I definately think they should- and not just launch it and hope people notice either, launch it and shout about it, make people take notice. I might write to them and suggest it.

        Yup, I did watch that Trinny and Susannah thing and saw how uninterested retailers were in the plus size market. There’s money to be made and no- one wants it. Astounding.

      • Yeah, I remember Anya – I bought a fab pair of black ruffle-edged trousers (which look a whole lot better than they sound and which I still have 11 years on!) and an embroidered peasanty cheese-cloth number to wear over them. I was gutted when they discontinued the line.

        I wrote them a stinking letter a while back, (the one on my blog, with a bit added about how my dad’s 70-year old cousin had gone into the Birmingham branch with me, pronounced the clothes godawful, turned on her heel and left in a minute tops. I have no idea who they reckon their target audience is because if you hate it, I hate it and she hates it, that pretty much only leaves teens and 90-year-olds and I can’t see them liking Anne Harvey either).

        They wrote me a very contrite letter back, admitting that they had lost their way and that they’d got a new team to try and get things on track. They gave me a £20 off voucher and, although things improved very slightly for a short while, it still took me several visits and a good couple of months to find something to spend it on. Aside from an emerald green coat that wasn’t cut right for me, there’s been nowt to tempt me since. They really need to get their act together. And they need to research the market properly.

  2. Socalbap says:

    In terms of the “gray shroud” (funny description), keep in mind that many of Saks’ Salon Z customers are over 35 and probably go on the side of conservatism. They have to be all things to all people because there are so few options.

    The fashion industry definitely doesn’t follow capitalistic tenets. One would think most businesses want to make money for their owners/shareholders.

    • Deena says:

      Hi Socalbap,
      I understand what you mean about Salon Z having to be all things to all people as the range has younger contemporary items and also some more conservative items that are definately for a very mature woman. I just think the grey shroud is plain fugly and hangs off the model like an oversized used dishcloth. I struggle to imagine how anyone of any age or taste would want to wear this as its one unhappy looking garment. The worse part is that the designers who created it have a decent enough main range but this is what they created for us 14+ women to wear. It annoys me.

  3. louisa says:

    Attagirl! Just wanted to drop you a line. You have a fun website. Maybe I am blind, but do you have an e-mail list I can sign up for to receive daily/weekly blogs?

    FYI, I put melissa masse’s website under…website above, mainly because I work for her and so I don’t have to suffer purchasing plus clothes from too many other places. Am spoiled. Sorry, a little shameless plug.

    • Deena says:

      Hi Louisa- glad you like the blog! No, you are not blind, there is no email sign up list because I wouldn’t have the slightest idea how to set that up. I am a newbie to this whole blog thing and am really just playing it by ear. There is probably a plugin or something which readers could enable to deliver my posts to their inbox but I have no clue how to make that happen. I have a WordPress for Dummies book on order so hopefully it will shed some light on this blogging malarky for me and I can do something interesting with the site!

  4. […] However, there are times when I can bite my lip no longer and have to call certain items out. Like here, and here for […]

  5. xsyntriq says:

    re: the death shroud – did you notice that the shroud for the emaciated chick hits her about mid-thigh and the shroud for the curvy chick seems to have a hi-lo hem? WTF?? At least with the shroud at mid-thigh, you have a remote chance of making it look halfway remotely cute with some sassy leggings, a sexy heel, a skinny, drop-waist belt and some necklaces and/or bangles. Only thing you can do with the curvy chick’s shroud is take it off, put it on a grill and add some charcoal fluid and a match.

    Buttercup rocks has the right of it, “…when a fat-phobic individual involved in a fat-phobic industry reluctantly agrees to design a garment for the kind of body it finds distasteful, alien and/or fear-inducing, the result is invariably going to be a sad grey rag.”

    • Deena says:

      I don’t even think the hi-lo hem is intentional as its so inconsistent in the different photos. It’s the consequence of of an extremely oversized, ugly dress on a model,a stylist who couldn’t care less if its on straight or not, and a photographer who just wants to get paid.

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