Full Figured Fashion Week - Back Fat = the New Cleavage

Uploaded by vice on Nov 1, 2011

CHARLOT DUBOC: Welcome to "Fashion Week International,"
a new show that reports on the most fabulous fashion weeks in
the world, and the culture and politics behind them.
CHARLOT DUBOC: Have you heard of Full Figured Fashion Week?
FEMALE SPEAKER: Well, not really.
FEMALE SPEAKER: What's that?
FEMALE SPEAKER: No, I haven't.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Full Figured Fashion Week,
what does that mean?
CHARLOT DUBOC: I was in New York for fashion week.
No, not that one.
The First Annual Full Figured Fashion Week.
The dress size in the US is 14 and growing.
Sick of fad diets and stretchy muumuu dresses designed to
disguise their lady lumps, these women want to celebrate
their shape with couture adaptations and sequins.
I came here to investigate the extent to which the plus size
industry is really empowering the fuller figured woman or if
it's simply a case of cashing in on the fat dollar.

So we're going to the runway competition to see a load of
models from all over America.
And they're going to just battle it out on the catwalk.
Where are we going?
Here we go.
How are you doing?

FEMALE SPEAKER: So good to see you.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Thank you so much for coming.
Put your hands together for these beautiful ladies who are
going to rock the stage.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Ladies, are you ready?
FEMALE SPEAKER: Let me get some music.
DJ, please.
MALE SPEAKER: Somebody that wasn't full figured might do
that and they probably would have broke down and cried.
But her being so confident and her, she made it work.
And it took a lot of guts and it took some
fortitude to do that.
And that's what it is.
CHARLOT DUBOC: When you see that full figure on the cat
walk, what happens?
MALE SPEAKER: I just like their attitude.
And it surprises me how confident they are in them
self when society wants them to be something else.
You know what I mean?
And I'm glad that they embrace that.
CHARLOT DUBOC: What are you looking for?
What makes a winner?
BRANDON: If you feel sexy, if you feel confident, if you
feel curvy, then you can work the runway.
With no matter whether you're a size 2 or a size 22, you can
still do it.
My name is Brandon Coats.
And I'm here today.
And I'm actually judging the full figured and fabulous
CHARLOT DUBOC: What do you think of this whole event?
What do you think of full figured fashion week?
BRANDON: Plus sized women for too long have been
marginalized and not catered to.
So here's actually a market where we celebrate plus sized
women in all their fabulosity.
Your wife just won the competition.
How do you feel?
MALE SPEAKER: I'm a lucky man.
I mean, not a lot of people can say that they're married
to a model.
Bigger is better.
What can I say?
FEMALE SPEAKER: I am ecstatic.
I mean, words can't really express exactly how I feel.
I've worked so hard for this.
You know, you can be full figured and healthy.
CHARLOT DUBOC: One of the hilarious things that somebody
said to me was, it's hard to be a full figured runway model
because your thighs rub together and people don't
realize that.
FEMALE SPEAKER: That is a problem.
CHARLOT DUBOC: And did you feel emotional?
MALE SPEAKER: Yeah, I did.
I did.
I'll cry later.
MALE SPEAKER: Wait until it just becomes fashion, not full
figured, not, you know, regular figured, just fashion.
CHARLOT DUBOC: After a raucous start to the week, I went to
find out a bit about the shopping
options for these women.
So we headed to a sample sale organized by the fashion week.
What's this?
Curves in the City Sample Sale.
Oh. my god.
So it's like "Sex in the City," but not at all like
"Sex in the City."
I don't know if I'm going to be the only empty figured
person there.
MALE SPEAKER: Good morning.
CHARLOT DUBOC: This way is for the sample sale?
MALE SPEAKER: Yes, it is.

CHARLOT DUBOC: Over there's Brenda [INAUDIBLE]
She's the organizer for the whole thing.
We've heard she's a bit of a force to be reckoned with.
I'm Charlot.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Charlot, finally I got a
chance to meet you.
CHARLOT DUBOC: I wanted you to show us your favorite store.
It's going to be hard to narrow that down, but I think
I know just the person.
CHARLOT DUBOC: Come on, then.
Let's go shopping.
This is the layer patch leather dress, which she has.
This is the royal fishtail dress, which she has.
This is the stormy mesh dress, which is fabulous.
It could be worn in the summertime and wintertime,
which she has.
FEMALE SPEAKER: You just can't get this type of fashion in
those sizes so readily available.
With her, you just go online and it's there.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Oh, anything with ruffles, flowers, that's
all me right there.
Oh, this is beautiful!
FEMALE SPEAKER: Wear your curves.
Love your curves.
Show your curves.
FEMALE SPEAKER: I wrote this book, "Stop Dieting Now." It
really becomes the focus of your life when you're trying
to lose weight all the time.
Diets create anorexic thinking.
And if you talk to someone who's had anorexia and you
talk to someone who is dieting, the way they talk
about food is very similar.
The diet industry needs you to fail.
But I also get a lot of backlash.
CHARLOT DUBOC: What are the sort of negative things do
people say?
FEMALE SPEAKER: Everything from just repeating the same
diet paradigm of like, well, it's just calories in,
calories out.
About you don't--
You know, all that.
To, you know, you should go die, you know.
So, yeah.
It's pretty crazy.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Right now what you're looking at is our True
Sheroes, plus size, curvy comic book.
CHARLOT DUBOC: Are you here?
CHARLOT DUBOC: That's you?
What are your super powers?
FEMALE SPEAKER: My super power is I get my
powers from the sun.
She gets hers from the gamma-ray bursts.
Then you have one with the strength of 1,000 men.
That's pretty much what we are.
We're not a fat girl movement.
We're all about the woman with curves.
That's just who we are.
CHARLOT DUBOC: Tell us what you've got on.
It's really cute.
This is body jewelry.
I don't know exactly what it is.
CHARLOT DUBOC: So you're not supposed to wear it with
nothing else?
We're feeling fabulous.
No, you always have an outfit under there, especially if
you're under 21.
But if you're over 21 and married like me and do it,
it'll be just fine.
Rock it!
I say, rock it!
I could tell you how you grow your tits.
You and I can go together because I need to lift mine
up, suck it out there.
They're going to suck it out of me.
Put it in you.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Don't hate 'cause I just ate.
CHARLOT DUBOC: We're going to the world's
largest fitness class.
It's called Walking Curves.
I kind of didn't dress properly.
But I'm going to do my best.
CHARLOT DUBOC: What is your aim here?
You don't want to lose your curves.
FEMALE SPEAKER: People have a misconception
about what health is.
You know, just because you're a person of a certain size,
they equate that to being unhealthy.
But that's a misnomer.
Because a person that's a smaller
size could be unhealthy.
But because of the way they look, you think
that they're healthy.
We got to help each other along the journey.
FEMALE SPEAKER: So let's do it!
Walking Curves!
MALE SPEAKER: So what we're going to do
is called the wobble.
Have y'all heard of the wobble?
The wobble.
FEMALE SPEAKER: I just want to thank you all for coming to
Walking Curves national debut.
We might be a small group, baby, but we
pack a mighty punch.
CHARLOT DUBOC: Considering 78% of Americans don't meet the
basic recommended activity level, it was encouraging to
see that such an event was part of the
fashion week schedule.
But just a stone throw across town, nothing tastes as good
as being thin feels.
We headed to New York's high-end shopping district to
try and get an idea of how size is perceived among the
city's most discerning fashion consumers.
Do you think stores like Chanel or any high-end
boutique should be stocking above a size 12?
FEMALE SPEAKER: I can't believe I'm saying this, but I
don't think so.
FEMALE SPEAKER: I think that people who are into high
fashion are very conscious of the way they look.
And part of the way they look dictates how much they weigh.
FEMALE SPEAKER: I don't know.
It's harder to make something fashionable
if it's really large.
FEMALE SPEAKER: There are enough secluded stores who
only exclusively sell over size 14.
FEMALE SPEAKER: It just depends on the person.
If you see a size 22 woman, you know, slumping around in a
big, you know, potato sack, she might not be attractive.
But if you see her in a beautiful dress with lots of
confidence, I think that's just as beautiful and fabulous
as a skinny girl.
CHARLOT DUBOC: If you went to bed tonight, woke up tomorrow,
and you're a size 22, what would you do?
I think I'd go to the gym.
FEMALE SPEAKER: I would probably go on an immediate
diet because I would feel awful.
I wouldn't leave my house until I lost 100 pounds.
FEMALE SPEAKER: I would probably start balling.
That sounds terrible.
But I'm actually on my way to go shopping.
And I do know that if I go shopping and I've just eaten,
I don't feel as good when I'm trying on the clothes.
Just because everyone gets, like, a little natural pooch
after they eat.
You know, it's totally natural.
FEMALE SPEAKER: So I think they'd be wasting their time.
I think they should do petite departments.
That's where it's at for high fashion.
CHARLOT DUBOC: Dispute the general feeling that plus
sized fashion should be kept in the back of the high street
department stores, there are numerous independent boutiques
popping up around the city such as Redress, a plus sized
vintage store in Brooklyn where I met Glen.
Glen, where are we?
What is this place?
GLEN: Well, you're at Redress New York City.
It's a vintage and resale clothing shop
for plus size folks.
The teggings are really popular.
People come specifically for it.
People will follow us on Facebook or Twitter, come in
town from, like, North Carolina.
And be like, where are the teggings?
Because it's like a tight and legging hybrid.
They're one size fits all, which we do not say lightly.
We're not the kind of shop that's going to be like, one
size fits all.
Because that would make someone feel really crappy if
we're like, one size fits all and it didn't fit me.
I'd be, like, man, that's not right.
That says one size fits all and it doesn't fit me.
Your store sucks.
But these--
I don't know what this is made out of.
It's some magic material.
It's super comfortable.
It doesn't dig into you.
These little pins are $1 here.
And people buy them.
And they say things like, there's no wrong way to have a
body, back fat is the new cleavage.
My background is in queer, radical, sex positivity.
And so that's my answer to how I learned to know that it's OK
to have any kind of body and feel hot.
But it's definitely a journey.
You got to work a little bit to get the party.
CHARLOT DUBOC: It seemed appropriate that the finale
fashion show would be held in the outsized, overstimulating
phenomenon that is Times Square.
I got the feeling that what the event lacked in subtlety
would be made up for in pure entertainment value.
So we're going to go and see what's going on backstage
because that's probably where all the action is.


FEMALE SPEAKER: We're backstage at Full Figured
Fashion Week and we're getting ready to go.
I got my iPod so I can get my music going.
And we're ready to hit the runway.
We're ready to go.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Could you do me a favor?
You could do your hair back like that when you're walking
down the runway.
FEMALE SPEAKER: It takes a lot for a woman to be able to hold
this and be confident with it.
And I love it.
I just love my curves.
I love how they move.
I wouldn't wish to be any other way.
FEMALE SPEAKER: This group of people, all these designers,
were shunned by Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.
And they don't think we're real designers.
And I think they don't think we're real women.
And we are real women who are deserving of fashion.
We are deserving of couture.
And it's a mission of mine to keep pushing the envelope
until we can get into one of those shows.
Because we need to be represented.
FEMALE SPEAKER: We're going to be doing
pirouettes and turning.
And doing all sorts of things.
FEMALE SPEAKER: We have about eight minutes
until the show starts.
Everyone's going a little crazy.
I'm sure that most of the models have
butterflies just like I do.
FEMALE SPEAKER: So, are you ready for fashion?
FEMALE SPEAKER: I said, are you ready for fashion?
CHARLOT DUBOC: I've never seen full figured women presented
in this way or move in that way.
FEMALE SPEAKER: It's ovehwhelming.
What it is is that we're not used to seeing that.
Like, women being so confident about their size and embracing
it, and loving it, and out there with clothing that you
would never think to see them in.
It is emotional.
CHARLOT DUBOC: It is, isn't it?
FEMALE SPEAKER: And I cry at everything.
I have to tell you my mom was a big woman.
And her two favorite words was poly and ester.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Y'all know about that.
And to see the fashion today, it's ridiculous.
I mean, one sleeved dresses, sequins, it's just so much
beautiful fashion to choose from.
And we're blessed to have it today.
You guys looks beautiful.
Please give a big hand and applause for yourselves for
being here.
FEMALE SPEAKER: They get excited when you're excited.
I'm not excited.
Why are you in my face?
FEMALE SPEAKER: Sergeant Runway, here.
CHARLOT DUBOC: I'm no stranger to the bi-annual fashion week
rip tour of the big four, London, New
York, Paris, and Milan.
There can be nothing so dull as watching cadaverous,
androgynous-looking models walk past you in clothes and
only just make it back up the runway alive.
The atmosphere at Full Figured Fashion Week was brimming with
a sense of triumph and unity--
nothing short of life affirming.
It was very much a case of the girls wearing the clothes
rather than the clothes wearing them.
As a result, I nearly forgot to look at the clothes, some
of which were outlandish, others frankly quite ugly.
But the girls rocked every last piece.

What are you doing here tonight?
MALE SPEAKER: I'm here to see beautiful full figured women.
CHARLOT DUBOC: That's so great.
So you're a fan of the fuller figured lady?
I am.
It's all, like, shape and proportion really.
And I like curves and voluptuous women, really.
And I'm here to hopefully get some phone numbers and meet
some new chicks.
FEMALE SPEAKER: We're showing women that are classy.
Woman that love their bodies.
Women that are confident.
And we're showing women that are fashionable.
And they will strut their stuff.
They show what they got to show and they have attitude.
And they respect themselves.
And absolutely, we need to showcase that in the US and
around the world.
Men need to understand that we are a whole lot of women
looking for a whole lot of man.
MALE SPEAKER: There were some that shouldn't have been in
high heels.
And there were some that I would have rather seen in just
high heels, just by their self, high heels
and birthday suits.
But, you know, 12 and up, light skin,
long hair, don't care.
That's how we getting it.
CHARLOT DUBOC: It's all finished.
And I have been honestly overwhelmed.
Because I've never seen women, full figured women, presented
in that way, celebrated in that way, moving in that way
to the extent that I feel like if I woke up tomorrow and I
was a size 16, 20, or 22, I'd be like, let's go.
And that is amazing.
And I just think if the rest of the world were affected
like I was, then things would improve.
And I just think everyone's got it wrong.
Everyone's had it so wrong for so long.
And, I mean, hell.
These women are hot.
CHARLOT DUBOC: To top it all off, we were invited on a
celebratory cruise around Manhattan Island
called Curves at Sea.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Good evening.
Would you guys stop rocking in the boat, please.
Full Figured Fashion Week started sort of like a little
dream of mine.
I went to my first fashion event and I sat there.
And I said, something's not right about this.
There had to be other curvy girls in the world such as
myself who want to go to Fashion Week and be able to
see the fashions come alive via curvy models.
And they want to buy.
Because you want to know something?
We have an incredible amount of power through
our spending dollars.
What do you say?
So I'm sitting there.
And I'm like, you know what?
I need to do something about this.
I am going to create my own full figured fashion week.
And guess what?
The rest is freaking history.
So put your hands together for Ms. Shonda Freeman.
SHONDA: Thank you.
Thank you all so much.
I just wanted to say that for me, Gwen came to me at a time
in my life--
GLEN: Oh, Lord Jesus.
SHONDA: I'm sorry.

I just lost my mom.

understand, it's not about fashion.
It is about respect, inspiration, and all of us
empowering each other.
I feel like Full Figured Fashion Week is a sisterhood.
And just God bless all of you.
SHONDA: And keep you safe.
And always a lady first.
Thank you.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Repeat after me.
ALL: Size!
FEMALE SPEAKER: Doesn't bury our!
ALL: Doesn't bury our!
ALL: Our beauty!
Give yourselves a thundering, thunder,
thunderous round of applause.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Love and kisses to you all.
Enjoy yourself.
And have a blessed, blessed Full Figured Fashion Week.
CHARLOT DUBOC: As Shonda said, Full Figured Fashion Week was
about much more than just fashion.
I've been welcomed into the bosom of what felt more like a
sisterhood than a fashion crowd.
First, no one's denying that it's everybody's right to feel
and look good, the question of size and health remains a
massively divisive topic in western society.
But at that moment, on that boat, at one of the best
fashion parties I've ever been to, I felt pretty convinced
that bigger is definitely better.
FEMALE SPEAKER: A big cake for a big girl.
Fab, full figured is in.