I’m tired of sewing

When you’re a drag queen and you look like me:

Becca D'Bus giving you a nervous "I'm not sure I know you" smile/grimace

You get 2 questions all the time:

Did you do your own makeup?


Did you sew your own costumes?

The answer to both is usually yes.  I can’t really afford a makeup artist at beck and call and really, when was the last time you saw ridiculous clothes for women my size (22-28 depending on cut and intended sluttiness)?

full disclosure, the dress you see above I didn’t make, but another (formerly) fat drag queen did, her gastric bypass surgery was the best thing for my wardrobe.

If my style were a little bit more human, what would my choices be?  Answer: Not very many if I wanted to also look spectacular.

Ever wondered why?

You’ve heard this before, most of the women in the US are larger than size 10.  Designers generally don’t make clothes larger than that and the country is getting larger not smaller.  So I suppose soon, we’re going to be seeing miles and miles of variously colored skin as these women have nothing to wear.

Now we know that designers have said that they don’t make larger sizes because larger bodies don’t suit their aesthetics.  And generally, I’m cool with that.  Some things really need smaller bodies to work well, for example, I think we can generally agree that a size 26 would probably be a disaster for this:


Alexander Mcqueen SS11 photo: vogue.com

I mean how many butterflies would have to die for it, and you just know some fattie like me is going to come along and INSIST on wearing it.

But have you ever watched Project Runway and they get a challenge involving larger than model sized people to dress?  Have you watched the designers generally choke?  And then curse?  And then get really dejected?  And then triumphantly find the inner strength to tackle this unspeakable challenge?

And then pad their dress forms provided by Parsons The New School for Fashion Design (TM)?

Apparently they don’t have larger dress forms at Parsons.  And a quick scan of the course offerings on the Parson’s website suggests that there isn’t a class that teaches students how to design clothes for fat people.  There is a class though that looks at specialty markets and plus-size is one of the specialty markets they look at (always nice to be thought of as market, I’ve probably eaten enough food to be one by now anyway).  So the students are taught why the market is important, though categorized as niche, but not how to design for it?  Way to go!

This isn’t confined to Parson’s, Rosemary Brantley, chairwoman of fashion at the Otis College of Art and Design told the LA Times in October that the specialist skills involved in making clothes for fat people are not easy but then went on to say that students weren’t interested in learning it.

Let’s recap.  It’s a big market.  It’s an under-served market.  Students pay good money to enter the market and be working designers, one hopes, and schools are neither equipped nor have the desire to teach them how to do so?

When I went to college and double majored in theater and marketing, I took a class in physiology.  I hated it.  It had nothing to do with what I was interested in doing.  I wanted to shoot my professor.  It was a general education requirement and I ended up making it work by building a puppet out of two pairs of pantyhose and a one-piece bathing suit to demonstrate the physiology of yoga.

The point is, if a school believes that something is necessary for an education, that something becomes a requirement to graduate.  I would imagine that a trade school (that’s what fashion school really is) would treat serving more than half the clothes wearing population as a requirement.  No?

And really, if you’re creative, you take a sucky class and you make it work.

Get it together people, for once I would love to say in response to pesky question Number 2, “You like it?  I bought it at a sample sale.”

I’m fucking tired of sewing.


One Response to “I’m tired of sewing”
  1. Travis says:

    Amen! I design for all shapes and sizes, and I find that some of my best, most wonderful designs have been for men and women of size. I am a man of size myself (also an actor), and I hate going into costume fittings where other designers have no idea how to fit my body.
    I’d be happy to design for you any time. Check out my (lame) website and see if anything strikes your fancy 🙂


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