For the last four years I’ve seen celebrity brand ambassadors and collaborations come and go in the plus size fashion world and whilst there are a lot of things that fashion has to thank plus size companies for one of them is not those who they choose to represent their brand. Generally, this is something that I find plus size fashion companies do particularly badly in that I feel as though they jump on the person who is hot right now but may not necessarily be right for the brand by the time the season comes to an end. In today’s post I’m going to share with you those partnerships that I think have worked particularly well for plus size fashion brands and then in my some of my posts to follow, I will look at those collaborations that I don’t think have worked particularly well.
Lets start with the positive.
Many moons ago, Evans, who stock sizes 14 to 32, released a clothing collection with Beth Ditto who was the face of the line. The fat, feminist, outspoken lesbian who fronts the band the Gossip was quite a clever yet radical choice for the brand that was otherwise known as a stockist of quite safe, mumsy, slightly older fashion. The Beth Ditto collection became a fun and quirky addition to Evans and featured items such as domino print leggings and a stained glass print prom dress. While these items may not seem too funky now, back in 2009, they were very far away from what was available on the plus size market and were what some people were longing for in plus size fashion. Together they even received a positive write-up in the Daily Mail which is quite an achievement for a plus size brand as their efforts are usually shot down in flames in articles and certainly in the comments forums when they’re posted online.
Beth Ditto worked amazingly well as a representative of the Evans brand not only because she was plus size herself but because she spoke out against clothing stores who limit their sizing policy and she really spoke volumes in support of bigger women. As a fashionista, Ditto had been highly commended for her loud, eighties inspired style and her fashion sense was and still is, admired by women of all shapes and sizes. Evans very much got it right by getting Ditto on board and what made it work is that she stayed true to herself and the brand throughout her time working them. Her clothing line was international success and led to future lines with the brand but I don’t think that it was just the clothes alone that made the pieces sell, it was Ditto herself.
I’m a firm believer that you don’t need to be plus size yourself to be able to style or design for plus size women, although it does greatly help. At the very least you need to have a firm understanding of what it is like to be plus sized, the struggle bigger women face and what they want from a brand. One such collaborator who knows this very well is Gok Wan who has released several lingerie collections with Simply Be and Simply Yours who are both part of the home shopping N Brown group. While Gok is far from being a plus sized woman, he has spoken widely about his love for the curvier woman and has styled many bigger women to give them a confidence boost on his TV shows so one can deem him to know what he is talking about. That gives him credibility. Gok Wan continued to have a great deal of success with his lingerie line and released many collections with the Simply brands. He even won the award for best stylist at the British Plus Size Awards in 2013.
What makes Gok Wan a good brand ambassador in plus size fashion is that he is an expert in his field in that he understands the plus size figure. He has an infectious personality that really inspires plus size women and gets them on board. He represents the brand well because he continually has the same outlook in that he isn’t representing a plus size brand one minute and then slagging off bigger women in the press the next; he is genuine and reliable.
In complete contrast. my next post will look at those collaborations that either weren’t the best choice or have fallen flat on their face.
Who do you think is good representative of a brand? Which collaborations have you most enjoyed?
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