01 August 2019

Loud Bodies: Ethical Plus Size Clothing You'll Want To Get Behind

When I first began investigating options for ethical plus-size fashion — that is, plus-size fashion made in an environmentally-conscious way — I was, frankly, unsurprised to learn that very few options actually exist. Among the most cherished ethical brands out there, such as People Tree or Nobody's Child, the maximum size available is often a UK 16 (or US 12). In other words, a standard size Large: two sizes smaller than the average American woman, and only just about the size of the average British woman.

For those of us wearing larger plus-sizes (let's say a 3XL or above) and actively trying to reduce our consumption and/or attempting to consume more thoughtfully, this reality of the market doesn't make things especially easy. Shopping secondhand is probably the most feasible, budget-friendly choice many of us have — but, from my experiences, IRL charity and vintage stores very rarely stock sizes above a UK 20/22. Upon recently trying to make a substantial donation of my old clothing, one local charity shop actually told me my size wouldn't sell. So, yeah. Depop and eBay it is.
In all of my searching, I did find independent designers on Etsy and beyond trying to do things as ethically as possible (bless the indies, always) and also as budget-conscious as possible. Among my favourite finds was one Romanian gem worth celebrating.

Loud Bodies, the woman-owned brand founded by Patricia Luiza Blaj, is a rare size-inclusive, ethically-conscious company. Producing garments in sizes XXS through 5XL (and open to discussing custom orders), Loud Bodies is undoubtedly setting an example for what could be.
As I learned from Loud Bodies' About page, Patricia pays her two employees nearly twice Romania's minimum wage, eschews plastic wrapping for recycled paper, saves all textile waste (with a plan to convert the fabric into pillows to then donate to animal shelters), and always keeps the environmental impact of her production process in mind. From a feminist, fat-positive perspective, it is also incredibly refreshing to see a range of diverse models on-site who represent the brand's size range. 

What's more is that Patricia's designs are just my cup of tea. The dresses, T-shirts, skirts, and bottoms blend classically feminine aesthetics with a kind of contemporary boldness. There are ruffles and pussy-bows and flute sleeves and floaty hemlines, but there are also deep V necklines, high leg slits, and fitted silhouettes. You might call many of the pieces "vintage-inspired," but absolutely nothing feels stuffy or outdated. Timeless might be a better word.
I'm completely besotted with my 'Emmeline' Dress. In it, I feel dreamy and magical; powerful but soft; confident in the contradictions that make me who I am. It may sound like a lot to put on a dress, but sometimes, you just find the right kind of dress.

(P.S. you may notice some purple marker on my arms and legs. My toddler decided I was her canvas on this particular morning. I thought about washing it all off before shooting — but, hey, sometimes this is a reality of being a mum!)
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