Tuesday, January 7, 2014

La Farfa: A Plus Size Japanese Fashion Magazine for "Marshmallow Girls"

Inspired by Victoria Suzanne Stella Alice's recent blog post (aka: Parfait Doll), I also wanted to share this amazing article about the first ever Japanese fashion magazine for the every day, plus size gals out there, La Farfa! (You can also read the original article here and here.)

 This magazine is specifically created for the larger, curvy gals that they call "pocchari" or "marshmallow girls" that completely bucks the trend of the ideal "skinny" girl that are plastered on the covers and glossy pages of magazines all over the world. And I think this is a monumental step for the fashion world, absolutely fantastic!

You can flip through any fashion magazine, regardless of its origin, and most of the time you will only see the typical media enhanced images of women who are airbrushed to be thinner, as they try to obtain that "ideal" but unrealistic, and completely impossible version of "perfection." Pushing this idea of the perfect weight, the perfect size, and perfect shape according to the fashion industry and media is something that effects women and girls, of every age, everywhere as this unattainable image of beauty that they can't acheive and results in a lot of negative thinking, especially about one's body. As a culture, this forces a lot of those ideas into women's heads which get internalized, and when they look in the mirror all they see are these "mistakes" about their bodies, which is complete malarkey!

And as a designer, as a woman, I find that absurd. As that one Girl Code meme says:

Because the "ideal" is unattainable, a lot of girls find that their natural state of beauty is flawed, imperfect, and therefore makes them "ugly" or "not pretty" or undesirable to women or men. I see so many gorgeous photos of girls on Tumblr and they are actually apologizing to viewers because they "look tired" or their face "looks weird", etc etc, and it absolutely baffles me. And then there are the comments/messages from girls around the world to their internet famous lolita idols asking, "How do I look like you? How do I wear what you wear without looking stupid or ugly because I'm a bigger girl, or a taller girl, or have ____ body shape?"

A lot of my curvy friends always feel like they have to cover up, or clothes have to be designed a certain way to hide parts of their body that they find are too embarrassing to show, regardless if it's lolita or just normal ready to wear. Curvy girls shouldn't have to cater to fashion, fashion should be catering to them as a market. They should be able to wear silhouetted garments that are cute, and flatter their body type and shape.

There's some negative commentary in one of the articles about how the magazine is confusing a cute term with girls that simply should lose weight, or are fat, and should be dismissed altogether. Typical responses to anything that gives positive reinforcement to girls who are simply different, and bucking against the fake "ideal" of society. But I think Seina responded beautifully and with class.

In which, Goto Seina responds cleverly and cheerfully, on an article for JapanCrush (which I will not link because of the ignorant commentary in response to the article:)

"Goto Seina, who is actually introduced in the pages of the magazine as a marshmallow girl, is positive: “Of course there will be different opinions — people who say ‘you’re a pig’ or ‘you’re a fatty’, but for me, [marshmallow girl] makes me really happy”. Goto also said that she would be happy if the term “marshmallow girl” would spread, and she’s happy if she or the magazine help people to know about it."

And that's where La Farfa and Goto Seina come in, and they're like "**** that, we are marshmallow girls and we can rock anything, any time, with any body type!" There has been a huge boost of body positive media floating around the internet this year, but this magazine really tops it! Not only are they putting actual girls on the runway, with real curves, and real bodies, but they are designing clothes that are ADORABLE. Look at Goto Seina rocking that mini skirt, short shorts, and heels, and there are some with thigh highs: she looks flawless! (I also loved that for the fashion show they picked real life readers of the magazine as models! See pics here.)

Particularly in Japan, there is this misconception that plus size girls just shouldn't exist because they need to lose weight to conform with the rest of the society. So I love the idea that La Farfa, a Japanese fashion magazine, is advocating to combat fat shaming, and negative body imagery, with this idea of "marshmallow girls" which gives a softer, cuter, positive ideal for plus size girls. (I mean, shoot, you guys know I'm a sucker for pro-body image/ideas of any variety, so this just delights me to no end as its right up my fashion alley!)

To quote my adorable, curvy friend in response to the article: "I don't know if this means I am squishy and enjoyable or delicious after being toasted over open flame. Either way, I am pleased." (My friend also proposed the idea of "pixie stick girls" for those of us, like me, who are extremely short and petite who fit into nothing because we are so tiny, which made me chuckle. I believe she's on to something there!)

I really applaud La Farfa for giving plus size girls all around the world a magazine that promotes such cute clothing with the idea that girls of all shapes, sizes, and silhouettes are beautiful. I hope this advocates in the industry globally and we start to see more and more magazines created for the natural beauties of the world!

It is personally inspiring to me, and more and more I want to learn how to draft patterns for my curvy princesses so I can be skilled enough to also make them beautiful garments. : 3 I really look forward to seeing more of these kinds of articles, magazines, and posts! I hope you too found it inspiring and positive!

Go, go, go marshmallow girls and girls of all shapes, sizes, and types everywhere!

And in conclusion to quote the Militant Baker from the article, "Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls... So I Will:"

"You are fucking beautiful. I'm saying this with a straight face and seriously meaningful look where I maintain eye contact for an uncomfortable amount of time. I know you don't feel like you fit into the category of gorgeous that our world creates. I know that its hard. I know that it's a daily battle. But fuck their fascist beauty standards. The second you stop looking for a skinny model in your mirror and start looking at YOU... is the second you will start to appreciate what you are. Stop looking for flaws. Stop looking for differences. You are perfect. You are more than enough. You are the best thing that has ever happened to you. And you are fucking beautiful." -Militant Baker

Sunday, January 5, 2014

A Quick Look at a New Design!

During this super snowy week/end with work cancelled, we have gotten a little bit of time back to design and work on some new pieces in between the in progress commissions! As I have been in a bit of creative rut lately, I decided to try something different: an all black piece, with only the difference of fabric choices as accents. This is what happened, you can look at it for sale here:

One of my dear friends, a few years ago, had given me this beautiful vintage velvet swiss dot tulle fabric and I have had it tucked away in the drawer as I wasn't quite sure where I wanted to go with it, or what I wanted to do. There was only two yards of it, so I knew until I was sure, I didn't want to waste it!

For the fabrics, I had a small piece of gorgeous, premium black velvet left over from a previous design and so I chose that for the bodice. I decided to do another sheer chiffon neckline, and accent that with a lightly shimmered organza sleeve. For the under skirt, I selected a baroque black satin that I felt had just enough sheen to make the over skirt swiss dot pop.

When I started playing with the pattern, I knew I wanted to have a more elegant silhouette so I really scooped the neckline so it would go up, over the shoulder, and swoop down along the back to expose the shoulder blades of the wearer. I've always found lower necklines on the back of dresses terribly attractive on women!

Originally, I had wanted a silhouette of a very, very full skirt and sleeves but because I had so little of the vintage tulle and width of the organza was a certain size, I went with something more toned down and classic. I compensated that desire of over the top with the over sized, elegant bow and the pretty corset like back with silver eyelets. Beneath the corset like lace up, I inserted a shirred panel which is hidden by the velvet privacy panels.

Instead of doing something aesthetically even, I decided to do something asymmetrical with the bow at the shoulder and the waist line. Overall, I'm really pleased with how it turned out which I haven't been for a long time, which is a relief. And apparently you all like it too which just pleases me greatly! I have never had over a 1,000+ notes on anything before on tumblr but all the comments have made me really happy! Thank you for that!

I hope to show you more in the future, and get my creative head back in the game!
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