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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Young, Fat, Fabulous and Moving the Fashion Market

Gabi Gregg
Gabi Gregg, organizer of the Young Fat and Fabulous Conference, second from right, tries on some... Expand

n a midtown Manhattan showroom, fashion blogger Amelia Pontes picked up a pair of "jeggings" (jeans tight enough to be leggings) from a table filled with trendy jeans in boot cut, boyfriend and skinny styles.

"The tighter the better for me," Pontes explained to Liz Munoz, an executive from plus-size fashion retailer Torrid.

"I prefer mine just a little loose," said Munoz, who tugs on the fabric of her jeans at the hips. "And check it out, you can wear these on an airplane," she added, bending down to show Pontes how stretchy these jeggings really are.

This cocktail party and jean "sampling" was thrown by Torrid for some of its best customers: young bloggers who proudly call themselves "fatshonistas." The event is part of the Young Fat and Fabulous Conference, a series of meet-and-greet events between 11 bloggers and retailers held in New York City earlier this month.

The conference was a collaboration between fashion blogger Gabi Gregg, a 23-year-old Chicago-based blogger who runs the blog and several plus-size retail outlets including City Chic, Faith 21, Evans UK, Torrid and American Rag.

"I got the idea when I went to the Weardrobe conference," says Gregg, referring to a conference that assembled style bloggers and retailers last year. "There were no plus-size girls there. I try not to separate, because really, it's all just about fashion. But when we weren't included, I thought, we'll just make our own event."

Gregg rallied her tight-knit community of fellow "fatshion" bloggers, like Washington D.C.-based Christina Lewis from, Australian Hayley Hughes from and the two bloggers from Finland behind, who have become like celebrities in their country with 20,000 readers a week and a manager.

For these social media tastemakers, clothing is meant to be chic and not necessarily slimming. The new attitude is part of a growing size acceptance movement with fashion at the forefront; the fact that the bloggers or readers might be a size 18 or 24 is secondary.

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