Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Fat in the City- Q &A with Aisha Fairclough, fashion blogger

Fat in the City

Not sure what I was searching for one day while surfing the net, but I somehow stumbled upon the blog, Fat in the City.

Fat in the City (FITC) is a fashion blog that celebrates stylish clothing for women with curves.  I practically leapt out of my computer chair when I made this discovery!   Fashion tends to be directed to the ultra thin, so finding a blog dedicated to the curvaceous girl, was cause for celebration.  Lol!

Even though I’m somewhat confident in the way I look, I wasn’t always happy with my curves. I was incredibly self-conscious and I covered up all the time.

I actually began to embrace and love my womanly figure after I dated a rather skinny dude who loved each and every inch of my body. He made me feel as if I was the most beautiful woman on the planet. I can honestly say that he, among other things, contributed to me loving the skin I'm in.

While I read a few FITC entries, I knew that Aisha would be my next interview.  I wanted to give props to the woman who is contributing to promoting positive body images.  Here’s what Aisha had to say.

How did the Fat in the City blog come about?
Fat in the City is a play on the television series Sex and the City. It challenges what it means to be fat and fashionable. Fat in the City is co-founded by myself and Jill Andrew (Size Activist, writer and founder of Bite Me Toronto International Body Image Film & Arts Festival). FITC began as a personal project as I came to love my body by chronicling my fashion journey. I also recognized how inaccessible the fashion industry is and how that can impact self-esteem.  I wanted to share with other plus size females great fashion finds and tips. Readers also get to have real conversations about fashion, life and social issues related to size. I want readers to know that your style should not be defined by your size.

The word fat is typically used in a derogative manner. Why did you decide on using it?
Reclaiming the word fat is very important. Fat is an adjective NOT an insult. Fat comes with many stereotypes—lazy, unhealthy, sloppy, but definitely not fashionable. Some people are fat, some people are skinny—fat is not an indication of ability or health. Dr. Linda Bacon’s book Health at Every Size certainly debunks many myths and is a great read for people that want to learn about health at every size.

Lots of curvy women struggle with their self-esteem.  How and when did you begin to love yourself?
I’ve always had curves and I’ve always loved myself. It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s and I gained weight did I begin to question my self-worth because of my size. Learning to “re love” myself as an adult didn’t happen overnight; it’s a process.  There were some days when I would strut down the street and there were other days when I wouldn’t want to look at myself in a mirror. I was encouraged to join the wonderful world of body image and size activism through Jill Andrew. I learned to embrace the word fat. Starting Fat in the City helped me embrace my body as I chronicled my fashion journey. And most importantly I I’ve learned to re love myself, my weight and my size by embracing my entire body.

When did your interest in fashion begin?
I would say that I’ve always been interested in fashion. I can remember as a child watching my mother get ready for weddings (during the 80’s). And although most people dressed over the top, my mother always remained simple and elegant. I remember thinking that’s how I want to look when I grow up.

What do you think about the image of the “curvy” woman in the media?
In my day job I am a Story Producer for documentary and lifestyle television and I am very critical of how all women and people of colour are portrayed on television. There is definitely not enough positive representation of “curvy” women in the media. On television fat women are always portrayed as the best friend, funny or the asexual woman –rarely are we seen as well rounded women (no pun intended) that are sexy and confident. Plus size fashion bloggers are helping to increase the visibility of fashionable “curvy” women in the media. In Canada, women like Jill Andrew (recent Soroptimist award winner) are helping to change the perceptions of curvy women in the media by speaking about size discrimination and as Jill says “empower girls and women to live, love and lavish themselves intellectually, plot against societies inequities and one day take over the world unapologetically”.

What are some of the fashion trends that you love for this summer?
I believe you should let your personality guide your fashion and set your trends. Fashion rules are meant to be broken. This summer I’ve definitely been a huge fan of floral, stripes, anything mint and leather. Yes leather! Leather is so versatile and it can make any outfit look luxurious.

What has been your favourite fashion purchase for the summer?
My favorite fashion purchase for the summer has to be my vintage floral dress that I found at a vintage store in New York. This dress has taken me from the office to a night out on the town.

What would like to achieve with your blog?
Through Fat in the City the movement, we hope to celebrate plus size fashion and discuss social issues related to size.


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