Back in February, Beth Ditto, the candid, kick-ass lead singer of The Gossip who's paired up with the likes of Marc Jacobs and Jean Paul Gaultier (including walking both designers' runways), launched her own plus-size fashion line. Now, she's back with a sophomore collection that features new takes on the same refreshing, plus-size rule-busting hallmarks as her debut.
For one, voluminous, oversized silhouettes are back, because Ditto feels it's important to break the archaic adage that a curvier woman "shouldn't wear things that make you look bigger," she told Refinery29. "I think it's really cool to do that, to really draw attention to yourself; I want to create big shapes, meant for big bodies, that aren't about hiding or slimming or smoothing." Plus, there are plenty of patterned pieces. And we're not talking tiny, subtle motifs; these are loud, large-scale prints, often in bright hues. Ultra-dated, body type-oriented style mandates tend to scare curvier women from wearing busier prints — and Ditto's line is a refreshing "fuck you" to that size-shaming advice. This time around, the prints involve some whimsical takes on beauty ephemera, like strips of false lashes, drops of nail polish, and eyeliner-pencil shavings. The campaign for her second collection has a bit of a different vibe, as the clothes were styled by designer Charles Jeffrey and shot by Hanna Moon (last time around, Love editor Katie Grand styled the imagery, which was shot by Ezra Petronio).
"It was a complete departure," Ditto said of the of second campaign's imagery, as well as the casting, which was primarily comprised of non-models. "For the most part, we cast people from Instagram that caught our eyes, that we thought were creative and would be fun to work with; I wanted it to look more 'cool' than 'chic.'" Turns out, most of these women already knew each other in some capacity: "It was really cute," she said. But there was meaningful rationale behind having a looser feel with the casting and aesthetic. "Trying to create a new beauty standard for plus-size women and to show there isn't a right or wrong way to be a plus-size model is important to me," Ditto explained. Prices range from $65 for a graphic tee to $425 for a cocoon-shaped coat. Like the inaugural collection, everything is made in the U.S.A. "That’s why it's all still so expensive," Ditto explained of the price points and why keeping production stateside matters so much. "It would be great to sell a dress for $10 and know that people were being treated well and taken care of, but that’s not the world we live in; if things weren't so fucked up..."
As for whether we should, in fact, still be using term "plus," Ditto is less concerned about the semantics than she is about designers and retailers actually offering more expansive sizing. "The argument right now shouldn’t be what words we’re using, it should be about the sizing: You can’t retire the word 'plus' until designers and retailers really extend past that," she explained. "It’s about being respected and being included and being taken seriously, instead of being marginalized, humiliated, degraded, and treated like a second-class person. When people don’t extend sizes, it’s an ultimate slap in the face, really." Props to Ditto for doing her part to counter the fashion industry's prevailingly less-than-welcoming attitude to women of all sizes.