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Wear Your Voice is proud to present the 2016 Body Positive Lookbook, chock-full of some of the finest sustainable designers out of the Northwest and beyond.
When people think of Portland, fashion production is not usually the first thing that comes to mind. However, the young, vibrant city is the epicenter of some of the best, sustainably made plus-size fashion. It only felt natural to shine a light on one of the body positive capitals of the world, well-hidden a halo of beautiful green fir trees. Portland-based body positive photographer Suma Jane Dark was the perfect person for the job!
We feature designers Chubby Cartwheels, Copper Union, Size Queen Clothing, Union Rose and Varnish — all Northwest- and Portland-based — as well as Bulgarian designer Unreal Mood, who custom-produced the beautiful white tunic featured in our shoot by photographer Suma Jane Dark.
Queer-owned Portland, Oregon-based Size Queen and its owner, Bertha Pearl, have been a staple of the plus-size community well beyond Portland for many years. Pearl injects her incredible warmth and playfulness into each expertly-crafted piece through her love of zany prints, vibrant colors, vintage aesthetics and wearably soft, comfortable fabrics. Pearl often makes her own patterns, basing them on vintage designs and scaling them up for plus-sized bodies. Blending fat activism and fashion, Bertha Pearl and Size Queen are integral parts of the plus-size industry.
Chubby Cartwheels is owned and run by plus-size blogger Shawna Farmer, who’s also known for her work with When In Doubt Wear Purple. Farmer is an independent designer who creates customizable plus-size fashion from her own home. Chubby Cartwheels offers incredible basics that are available year-round in a variety of colors, but also releases limited collections with unique pieces and accessories. Custom sizing is always free, so if your size is not available, she will produce it for you at no extra cost, as well as welcoming custom orders.
Copper Union is the label of up-and-coming Portland designer Claire Doody. With a diverse background in jewelry design, costuming and fiber arts, Doody has focused her passion and drive into creating plus-size separates that celebrate a woman’s curves with style and attitude. Her strong understanding of textiles and fit techniques set her apart from many other plus-size lines on the market. Copper Union creates new, modern pieces with incredible lines and a strong, bold attitude.
Union Rose is an incredible little shop nestled in the adorable Montavilla neighborhood of eastern Portland, Oregon. It offers a variety of work from indie designers, with a focus on sustainable goods produced in the Northwest. Union Rose offers an excellent range of sizes from XS to 3X (some of the designers will custom-make clothing in larger sizes), as well as incredible jewelry and accessories. Owner Rita Hudson-Evalt, who also produces house brand Hubris Apparel, curates a beautiful collection of clothing that reflects the community of “Dreamers, Schemers, and Makers” that makes Portland so unique.
We got to know Varnish clothing through trying on the beautiful pieces at Union Rose. Varnish is a woman- and femme-centric clothing line that strives to make everyone feel confident and comfortable in their super wearable, dynamic pieces made from soft, easy-to-wear fabrics that are great year-round. Owner and designer Kelcey Blanton is a Portland native who strives to keep all of her production local to the Pacific Northwest.
The wild card of the bunch, we fell in love with the spectacular white tunic from Sofia, Bulgaria-based Unreal Mood. With the perfect cut and flow, the beautiful white piece rounded out our mix perfectly. Nikolova learned to design and sew from her mother, who produced clothing for a large factory in the Eastern European country. Unreal Mood is a family owned and run business, as Nikilova owns her own atelier in Sofia. She happily accepts orders “sur mesure” to ensure the perfect look and fit.
Our cast of models were the beautiful Ashleigh Elizabeth, Katana Fatale, LaToya Johnson, Amanda LaGuardia, Nina Rockwell, Kayla Schacht, Jodi Vaughn, and our amazing assistant, Jess. Wear Your Voice’s own Laurel Dickman worked as stylist, with some hair and makeup assistance by Jodi Vaughn and Elly Garcia on graphic design of the lookbook. Thank you to everyone who was involved!