Here at Conscious Apparel, we are very keen to include all shapes and sizes, and banish sizeism and ageism – we want all to feel included in beautiful, ethical fashion. As a more curvaceous body type myself, I know how difficult it is to find stylish clothing that is also sustainable and ethical, which was the reason I was keen to incorporate our Curvaceous Apparel range into Conscious Apparel. We asked the teams at Nila Rubia and Afterlife to make us larger sizes, particularly in the items we felt would flatter the body shape of larger ladies. Currently, there are around 1 in 4 adults in the UK who are obese and there is no reason why these people should not have access to sustainable fashion too. The body positivity movement is certainly taking off, encouraging people not to be belittled by unrealistic expectations we so often see on social media. Oddly, this is becoming quite a big movement on Instagram – a platform which regularly presents unrealistic images of amazingly toned and beautiful people who have been deceptively photoshopped.
I have been both slim and fatter, unhappy and happy with my body at various sizes. I had not found the magical size where happiness in oneself reigns supreme. It has taken a long time for me to accept who I am and that how I feel does not need to be dictated by the size of my clothes. Particularly, I’ve realised that I should do activities, events and life goals NOW rather than wait until I had lost a certain amount of weight. What is the point of constantly putting your life on hold? No one really notices and, to be quite honest, my body is not anybody else’s business. Whatever size I have been, I have always worked on being fit and active – cycling the London to Brighton ride four times, cycling holidays around various countries, enjoying long walks through nature with family, and making friends at fitness classes. It did sometimes cross my mind that I might find it easier to haul myself up a volcano if I was a few pounds lighter, but I generally managed it and so put it out of my mind. I have a wardrobe full of gorgeous, ethical clothing, which I have loved wearing and I look pretty good in it too!
However, I have now lost weight – and I must admit I am enjoying it. What caused this change of heart was not how I looked or even how I felt, but the onset of the COVID pandemic. It cannot have escaped many people’s notice that larger patients were at risk of suffering more. I am also asthmatic and have high blood pressure. It occurred to me that I have a family who still very much rely on me being around and that I should maybe do something to increase my chances, should I get it. So, with a focus on improving my health, I embarked on a weight loss programme; after watching Michael Mosely’s programmes, I have lost nearly two stone. I have to say, I was not prepared for the irritation of making some of my lovely clothes a bit big! But more to the point, I am now off my blood pressure medications with my doctor’s blessing – although I need to monitor it at home quite closely.
BUT (and this is a big but!), although I am enjoying being slimmer, particularly with being off my medications, it has not made me think that my life is miraculously going to become all sunshine and carefree – I still have low periods, I still occasionally feel that everything is too much. I also have positive, happy periods that I recognise are nothing to do with being smaller. Weight loss or weight gain is a personal matter, a journey between you and your body, and should not be because society tells you that you need to be a certain size to be ‘acceptable’; this is why the body positivity movement is so important. Whatever your reasons for losing weight or not losing weight, it is your own choice – and we at Conscious Apparel have lovely clothes for all body types!
So… To the pressing matter of what will I do with my larger sized clothes (apart from keeping some of them – a few of the dresses will look great with a belt!)… Well, our fantastic pre-loved section of course! There is no reason for these items to go to waste. Some will undoubtedly end up on there for someone else to enjoy beautiful, ethical fashion.