For loyal customers and activists boutiques like the Plus Bus have become safe spaces to gather. They’re our fat cultural centers.
This weekend, Los Angeles boutique The Plus Bus celebrated its first anniversary as a brick-and-mortar space reselling plus-size clothing. Big whoop, right? Wrong. The plus-size community has so few brick-and-mortar spaces; bigger bodies are constantly being shoved aside to make room for more clothing for their straight-sized counterparts. Anytime a place like The Plus Bus exists, it becomes revolutionary just by staying alive and daring to thrive.
Don’t believe me? Take retailers H&M and Old Navy. Despite being popular choices for larger bodies — especially Old Navy — the two stores chose to remove their in-store plus-size sections. On top of that, Old Navy has historically fat-taxed their women’s plus-size clothing, but not their men’s big and tall — meaning they will charge extra for women’s plus-size items that are cut larger than the straight-size equivalents, but do not subject their larger masculine clients to the same up-sell. This subjects women and femmes to “sexism and sizeism,” as pointed out by critic Renee Posey.
For independent retailers and resellers that cater to larger bodies, staying in business is an uphill battle. Despite the fact that 67 percent of American women are a size 14 or larger, only a fraction of retailers actually accommodate sizes larger than a 14/16. When the numbers are there but the industry simply ignores it, life can be incredibly alienating and frustrating. For loyal customers and activists (both incidental and otherwise), boutiques become more than just places to shop; they become safe spaces to gather. They’re our fat cultural centers.
This weekend, The Plus Bus owned that. With a plus-size DJ, live musicians, fashion show, live tattoo artists and more, owners Jen Wilder and Marcy Guevera-Prete, along with suite-mate Jessica Hinkle of Proud Mary Vintage, created a space for fat women and femmes. People overflowed from the shop and onto the sidewalk as with smiling babes gathered, talked, shopped and simply thrived, showing just how hungry for community we truly are.
These babes were dressed to impress. Check out these great moments for this week’s fashion inspiration!
1. Strike A Pose
2. Wear Your Voice Crew
3. From The Bay to L.A.
Bay area queens Tigress Osborn and Saucyé West made the trip to SoCal for the big fat weekend of fun. Saucye rocks her #FatAndFree campaign t-shirt and Tigress looks beautifully springlike.
4. Babe City
Saucye West, Kat Eves and Troy Solomon look incredible, as always. With their diverse looks and styles, they show that plus-size bodies are not all shaped the same way that most media will show you — they’re even sexier.
5. SeCa Performs Live
Singer/songwriter Selina Carrera (SeCA) and guitarist William Colella perform live at The Plus Bus. This badass vocalist is also a juvenile justice advocate, changing the world with her music and her actions.
6. Birthday Babes
Who needs candles when you’ve got these guys? Style Ethic‘s Kat Eves and Plus Bus owner Jen Wilder show the many Plus Bus clients love with this fun cake.
7. Piece of Cake
Marcy Guevara-Prete and Jen Wilder cut one of many cakes in celebration. Unicorn Tears owner Vanessa Crawford is all smiles as well.
8. DJ Dazzler
DJ Dazzler kept the crowd happy and dancing all day. A rarity in the industry, this plus-size babe fights the industry double-standard just by being happy in her own body.
9. Trio on Trend
10. In-Shop Tattooing
Proud Mary Vintage owner Jessica Hinkle commemorates the awesome event with a tattoo. Spots in the line for tattoos were going quickly!
11. Love Your Community
Find your space and support those who share your struggles — love them and be the safe space from the rest of the world’s bigotry and fatphobia. Be the person you needed when you were younger.