5 Things to Read Instead of Paying Attention in Class

Alexander McQueen, fashion advice for kids, and 11 really weird beauty tips

Words for Kids who Love Fashion on Final Fashion
While much of this amazing advice is targeted at children, it’s never too late to take note. Danielle Meder offers atypical suggestions like ‘develop cultural literacy,’ when the most prevalent advice being given to kids who want to start a career in fashion is to start a blog.

How to Be Handsome: 11 Really Terrible 19th Century Beauty Tips
Prime yourself for history class with some of the head-scratchingly bizarre beauty routines of our ancestors. If you thought heated eyelash curlers were weird, you’ve only just hit the tip of the iceberg.

FATshion on XOJane.com
I am just finishing up my personal summer reading list with Two Whole Cakes by Lesley Kinzel, who also happens to write FATshion, the most on-point and hilarious fashion commentary to be found anywhere on the web.

Ryerson appoints first Designer-in Residence
Fashion and academia are relatively recent bedfellows, and Ryerson University in Toronto is blazing the trail by appointing the first ever Designer-in-Residence. What else could you expect from the only University in Canada that offers a Fashion Communications program?

The Nature of Alexander McQueen: the aesthetics of fashion design as a site of environmental change

If the title sounds really wordy and academic, that’s probably because it is. I wrote my undergraduate thesis last Spring about the significance of art to the environmental movement, and explored the significance of Alexander McQueen’s designs as examples of art. This link ties the two together into a smart and useful package: get your furrowed brow ready.

illustration // Andrea Manica

Fear of Fat

Gabi Gregg of Young, Fat, & Fabulous

What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘fat’? Do you think of Nutrition Facts labels and the first column you look at before deciding whether to buy the crackers? Or maybe you think of elementary school, when the best insult little boys could come up with for girls was “well… you’re fat!” (Good for you, little boys. You’re… dumb.)

Well, I don’t think of anything – or I try not to. To my editor’s dismay, I generally refuse to use the word, except when referring to this blog post. (“What are you working on right now?” “The ‘Fear of Fat’ blog post… Social networking…” “Hey, you said it! You said ‘fat’!”) She thinks “fat” should be used as an adjective, just like “thin,” or “tall,” or “short.” It shouldn’t be a negative thing – not if it’s true. I have a hard time agreeing with her. Nobody wants to be called “fat,” is my rebuttal.

But why not?

It’s not that I have memories of being called “fat” as a kid. In fact, despite being technically – or pretty close to – a “plus-size” (even though I refuse to buy plus-sized clothing, but that’s just a whole other story) for most of my life, I don’t ever remember being described that way. I still have friends who call themselves fat to get others to argue that they aren’t – something else I refuse to do. Be warned: if you call yourself fat, I’ll probably just agree with you, even if you’re a size 4. Because, what’s fat, anyway?

A few weeks ago, I stumbled across Gabi Gregg’s blog, Young, Fat, & Fabulous. “She’s almost the same size as me,” I thought. And she is. And she calls herself fat without cringing. And she doesn’t feel bad about it.

Can you tell me what you think of the word “fat”?
I think the word fat is unfortunately extremely stigmatized in our society, and that needs to change. Just because someone is fat does not mean that they’re lazy, unhealthy, unworthy, ugly, sloppy, or any of the other things that many people unfortunately associate with the word.

The word seems to have several negative connotations – many people I’ve talked to have said this is because “nobody wants to be called fat.” Why do you think that is?
We grow up in a society that tells us that being fat is a bad thing. We are constantly inundated with messages and images that portray thinness as the ideal and fatness as this “evil” thing to avoid at all costs. That’s why many people don’t want to be called fat, even when they are fat. It’s understandable because of what we are taught, yet that does not mean it’s okay. People should reevaluate the word! Being fat is simply a description of someone’s body type.

What do you think of the common association of “fat” with poor health?
I think that there are healthy fat people and unhealthy fat people, just like there are healthy skinny people and unhealthy skinny people. I don’t think anyone is arguing that it’s good to sit around all day and eat ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. However, it’s important not to assume anything about anyone’s health based solely on their weight. A size 16 woman might well be healthier than a size 6 woman. It depends, and it’s important to realize that other people’s bodies and health are not anyone’s business but their own.

My editor thinks that the word should be used as a descriptor, just like you would call someone thin. Nobody would get mad at you for calling them thin, but some people would definitely be offended if you called them fat. What do you think about that?
I agree 100%. It would be nice if the word fat could be de-stigmatized and used simply as a way to describe people. That is how I use it.

With your blog, you refer to yourself and other plus-sized girls as fat. Clearly you are working to change the meanings or associations the word possesses. Why do you think it’s important to embrace the word “fat”?
I think that giving other people power over the word does no good. Once fat people embrace the word “fat” and stop fearing it, they don’t have to walk around wondering if other people think they are fat or not, or be afraid someone will use the word against them. When someone calls me fat now, I just nod. It’s not an insult to me. I use the word in my blog, because too often fat people are thought to be ugly and unfashionable. I wanted to juxtapose the word fat with fabulous and show people that it’s possible to be stylish at any size.

- Stephanie Fereiro. Photos from YoungFatAndFabulous.com.

Is Toronto getting FAT?

There has been a lot of discussion among WORN staff lately about the issues surrounding diversity of models in the fashion world. It is a loaded topic, encompassing such controversial areas as manufactured diversity, political correctness and the effect of one predominant choice of model on women’s concepts of beauty. Mainstream fashion’s obsession with the skinny white girl has superseded trendiness, and although history is full of a variety of idealized body types, I think many people are beginning to find fashion’s preoccupation with size-zero and blank stares a little stale. Exclusivity is a selling point in fashion, but when intelligent women begin to question themselves for being healthy…well, it gives you some food (no pun intended) for thought. (Please note – I am not claiming all mainstream fashion supports size-zero culture, or that all women even take note of it, I am merely noting its current dominance.) This is why I was so excited to have the opportunity to observe FAT (Toronto Alternative Arts and Fashion Week)’s open-call model casting process, which stipulated that it would be looking for a diverse group of unconventional models.
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