I thought going to British Plus Size Fashion Weekend would be an incredible chance to indulge in high end fashion and really get behind the scenes on the whole world of curve fashion.
Sadly that simply wasn’t the case.
The opening day was mostly wonderful, a really great chance to chat with the likes of Simply Be and Anna Scholz, we were surrounded by positive thinking women, wanting to open the fashion worlds eyes to the possibilities outside straight size 6-12.
I met incredible models such as Olivia Campbell and Jada Sezer, I spent a wonderful amount of time speaking with the buyers from New Look Inspire range, learning about the intricate ways that clothes are scaled and sized.
Unfortunately outside that, the event was not the ‘fashion weekend’ I was expecting. Although the initial events were held at Beach Blanket Babylon, we were crammed into a tiny studio room in the attic, the best part of 100 people in a room that about 60 could be in comfortably, add to that the radiators being on a windows sealed shut, on an extremely warm February day in Shoreditch. This made it unbearable to be in the room for more than 15 minutes at a time.
Now the goodie bags were another thing, I would rather have nothing that a hugely over-sized bag with a couple of catalogue, some odd biscuits and a tube of hand cream. Bizarre to say the least.
Had this event not been touted as ‘British Plus Size Fashion Weekend’ if instead it had been promoted as a plus size blogger event I don’t think I would have felt so disappointed. I am fairly sure I wasn’t the only one thinking this.
With designers such as Mark Fast and Clements Ribeiro showing and supporting the larger sizes on the runways in the last few years, that was more the level of fashion I was expecting at the event.
However I decided to forge on with the weekend and after a great night out at Wahaca (more on this over on Food) I was all set for day 2.
Set in the somewhat run down aging Shoreditch Town Hall, I was holding fast to the hope of this being an incredible day. Sadly once more this wasn’t the case.
The opening event was a Styling Masterclass, well in all honesty, although the woman running it was lovely, it was not a masterclass. It was more of a lesson in colour matching, something that as I looked around the room realised that non of the fierce women at the events needed. To be honest it was incredibly patronising. Being asked to write on a piece of paper what i associate with a particular colour is something I was not thrilled about paying for.
Luckily I got to dip out of thus for the highlight of the weekend, a chance to meet Anna Shillinglaw, one of my all time modelling idols and hugely successful model scout and agency owner of Milk Management. Despite people having bought full weekend passes, they were informed a mere week before the event that it didn’t cover this model 101 and that it was invitees only, you had to get your name on the list, which fortunately I did.
Listening to Anna talk about the modelling industry was incredibly interesting and to find out that extensive air brushing exists even in the world of more ‘real’ models along with the prevalent use of padding so models who are slightly smaller fill the clothes out on go see’s. To then get to chat to her afterwards was a pleasure, and later in March there will be an in depth interview with Anna.
One of the things that really caused me issues about Saturday’s events were the simple fact there were no refreshments available, not even ones that could be purchased. For an event that lasted from 12-7.30 I think that was a huge mistake. When I asked one of the higher stressed organisers she directed me to a corner shop down the road. Not thrilled. Sadly this was only the beginning of the feelings of disappointment, the ‘Market Place’ unfortunately was more like a school jumble sale in its layout which did not support the lovely items for sale, and business trying to promote themselves.
The ‘Swap Shop’ was the final nail in my plus size weekends coffin, it was poorly organised, there was one rail, maybe 30 hangers and roughly 50 women, so as you see it was never going to be a success. It was just a brawl to be honest, they had allotted 1.5 hours of time, I was out of there in around 13 minutes, 3 items of clothing lighter and with no desire to take any of the other clothes with me.
I left the Town Hall and spent the rest of the day having a blast in Shoreditch.
There were a few really wonderful moments over the 2 days, however they were overshadowed in my eyes by very poor planning, and I think that if this kind of event were to happen again then the organisers really need to think about how they advertise it, or they need to up their game with the kinds of events and most definitely with the organisation of the weekend.
It saddens me to have to write this piece in anything less than a positive way as I was really looking forward to a wonderful weekend, however no matter how I look at it the weekend was a massive let down, and an expensive one at that, with the tickets around £50 for the weekend (which did not include every event) add to that the £70 train journey and the £100 hotel, it is not something I will be taking part in again.
If you were there I would love to know how you felt about the event, and how the fashion show went?