Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Fatshion February: British Plus Size Fashion Weekend

Leo being interviewed.
Me & Leo.
What I'm wearing:
Dress - Simply Be, Cardigan - Marks & Spencer, Bag - Zatchels, Shoes - Clarks, Necklace - Mawi

Hello! This is another Fatshion February post, this time on BPSFW.
I apologise in advance that it's a bit wordy.

I also attended last year for the first ever BPSFW, and you can read my past post on it here. (I like to think my blogging has improved since then?) You may or may not be aware that the event last year got some criticism, although I kept my opinion very minimal as it was a new event and at the end of the day it can only but be a positive thing for the ever growing plus size industry. Although this year I am going to give my complete honest view, and I am sorry if it offends anyone as that is not my intention.

One of the issues last year for me was the location as it was an all day event with no food supplied and no where convenient nearby, except for a corner shop to get food from. This year I was happy to see the event was held at the Vinopolis by London Bridge, which is really central and surrounded by restaurants. (although I still didn't get to have lunch until gone 4pm after the catwalk show) The building was great and gave a much more professional feel to the whole event. We did however get lost finding the way in as it was being held around the back entrance and slightly lacked signage - we even walked past the door!

Me and Leo arrived just after 11:30am when the event started, although we were told they were running behind as the stalls weren't set up, so weren't let in until about quarter past 12. It was no biggie though, as we chatted with all the lovely fellow plus size women. I was disappointed with the marketplace, much like last year, as there was only about 10 or 12 stalls. I don't know if that's due to the lack of plus size brands in general, cost of stalls, or they just don't want to be involved. Due to there being few stalls and not many people there, the hall looked a little sparse. I think having Evans involved with the whole event is the best thing to happen to BPSFW. The Evans stall was set up in the middle and looked so striking. Plus their new collection is some of the best things I've ever seen come out of Evans main range, particularly with all the attention to detail. (maybe I'm just bias from interning there) It was also great to see Simply Be there as I'm loving so many of their clothes at the moment. I also enjoyed some of the other brands such as Tutti Rouge, who do stunning underwear, and Syreeta Badu who have a pretty floral dress I've got my eye on. I don't know if BPSFW would be better off just scrapping the idea of a marketplace altogether, or just turning it into an exhibition hall instead as there just isn't that 'market' feel, and I didn't see anyone parting with their money the whole time I was there.

The fashion show itself, which started at 2pm, looked much more professional this year and almost felt like I was at actual London Fashion Week. To have Evans sponsoring, and big names such as Whitney Thompson, Hayley Hasselhoff and Felicity Hayward modelling, added a more professional flair too. It was great to see that sixteen designers took part, but it did mean that the show went on for an hour and half and I felt a bit restless towards the end. (and hungry) We were told that the show was divided into 'four shows' but this wasn't made clear at all - I assume the music was meant to define these shows. If I'm honest the music was the biggest criticism of the whole event for me, not because of personal taste but because 1. it was so ridiculously loud that I couldn't hear the person next to me, and of course this went on for a whole 90 minutes, and 2. the same song was on repeat for about 30-40 minutes then switched to another song to do the exact same thing (with a hidden 1 minute long song inbetween and a bit of James Bond theme tune at the end). I actually came out with a headache and it almost ruined the whole show for me. Although Nando's afterwards did cheer me up massively. I personally think it would have been much better had the designers actually been split up into 4 shows so that they ran throughout the day and people could pick which shows they wanted to see. Not only that, this gives room to create themes with the music, lighting, styling etc. which is so important. I also think it should be important that the brands show NEW collections, not old stuff that we've all seen before, then it really would start to feel like London Fashion Week.

However, on a positive note, it was great seeing a range of beautiful plus size women varying in size and ethnicity walking the catwalk. And seeing such varied brands too. I wasn't even aware that ASOS Curve and Yours Clothing would be showing, so that was a pleasant surprise! After the catwalk show there was a brief panel discussion which lasted 10 minutes and was a bit of a let down as they weren't taking questions from the audience like last year, nor were the panellists anyone who I felt truly represented the plus size industry. (last year they had Anna Scholz, Velvet D'amour etc.)

Overall, I believe that any plus size related event can only be a positive thing for the industry, and if BPSFW continues over the years then I look forward to seeing it develop further and hopefully become a plus size representative that we can all be truly proud of. It has already improved considerably from last year, and you can tell that a lot of hard work went into making BPSFW happen, and I think that all the people involved should be proud of what they have achieved. Despite my criticisms, they are only minor and things that can be worked on, and I think it's fair that I can comment freely as a paying customer two years in a row with best interests at heart. I did come out the event feeling empowered, despite a headache, but that was quickly ruined by some people on the tube laughing at me - because fat people are funny to look at, of course. Which is why events like these in the public eye are so important.

Did you go to the event? If so, what did you think?


  1. This is a really interesting post and I think you made some valid points. I really wish I had been able to attend and I do intend to go next year as, like you say, it's a definite positive step for plus size fashion despite having a few teething problems. Hopefully next year will see the same step up that you saw this year from last year in terms of events management :) xx

    1. I don't know if they're intending to do it again next year or not, but if they are it will be interesting to see how they will improve it further! x

  2. Thanks Charlotte for your honest review - only seen a lot of mutual 'luvey' stuff so far and like you whilst I embrace the aims and goals of the event and were impressed by the names attached to the event - some event basics like signage, lack of stalls v. the advertised 25, beauty in a badly lit area, the VIP lounge (missed that apart from a rope!) and the music (something must have gone wrong???). I am a consumer not an industry person (yet) but I travelled from North Scotland and paid for flights, hotels and if it wasnt the few lovely people I met I would have felt I had wasted my money. As a professional events organiser, a lot of the issues they had could be easily resolved so I wish them all the best in their preps for 2015! Paula

    1. Thank you, I was a little concerned about giving a full opinion as I usually keep quiet but I felt it was my time to say something as this is my blog after all! That is a long way for you to come and a lot of money to spend on something that is just 'okay' and a bit of a let down - but I agree with you about meeting people there is probably the only thing that makes it worth going! Yes, everything they got wrong is easily resolved and I really do hope they take it all on board because it would be great to go to it in years and for it to be as equally as good as other fashion event likes Clothes Show. Thanks for reading :) xx