Our Fall Swap happens in three days! I’m excited to sort all our donations out, organize things by size and get them ready to be shopped through on Saturday. The clothing is free, so it’s not really going to be “shopped” through per se. But the idea behind our swap is to set things up like a clothing store, with everything hanging on racks or folded rather than just collected in piles. We want attending our swap to feel like going to a clothing store, except nobody’s trying to make a profit, or make you feel bad about your body so you’ll buy more stuff to try to fix it.
Angela and I started this project because in theory, we both love clothing and love to shop. But in practice, it’s a battle. We were both so sick of all the shitty little micro-aggressions one has to dodge or deflect in order to find one piece of clothing that fits. Walking past mannequins shaped nothing like us, wearing our sizes but pinned back to look more appealing to the general public. Clicking through websites where the garments go up to size 38, but none of the models are bigger than size 12. Reading tags with words like like “perfect” “slimming” “flawless” “control” “skinny fit”… Ugh. Enough.
We want to create an inclusive shopping environment, built by fat people for fat people, where you don’t have to walk past all the small clothes to get to one secluded, limited section in the back corner. We want a place for us, where the majority of the clothing is in our size or close to it, and the only signs on the walls say “welcome” and “have fun.” We want people of all genders to be able to shop together in an environment that feels safe and peaceful. No more feelings of scarcity and frustration and separation. Everybody gets the clothing they need, in the style they want.
Ok, so we don’t have the resources to make every little part of that fat fashion utopia happen. But our first swap last Spring felt like a pretty good start. We talked to a lot of people who said how good it felt to find one thing that fit, and then another and another and another. There were some folks who remarked how much fun it was to shop amongst a bunch of other like-minded people who shared their frustrations with mainstream stores. It’s awesome to see other people trying on your donated clothes and finding things that make them feel well-dressed. I cannot wait to have all this stuff happen again this weekend.
A big part of our swap is its location – Embodied Health, a center for yoga, massage and community run by Lucinda Pepper. This is a place where I’ve taken yoga classes for over a year, and I can’t recommend it highly enough to anyone who wants to build a new kind of relationship with their body. In the time I’ve been studying yoga with Lucinda, I’ve figured out so much cool stuff about how my muscles work and how I can appreciate my body’s unique capabilities. Her SizeAble Yoga class is like an hour and a fifteen minutes of of pure, tangible body positivity.
If you’re at all curious about yoga classes at Embodied Health or any of the other amazing services Lucinda provides, you can check out her website here: http://www.embodied-health.com/ and you can scope out the studio during this Saturday’s swap.
Can’t wait to see you all there. :)