Finally Using Fat

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Last week I had a Skype interview with the makers of this project

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Today designer Chris Wienk and image maker Jivan van der Ende will present their ‘Finally Using Fat’ project. The first step for acceptation and a better fashion esthetic.

Last week I had a Skype interview with these two women.

When I first heard about this project I thought these were 2 men, but it wasn’t. Chris and Jivan are 2 young women. Because of the ‘cool’ pictures a bit ‘Terry Richardson’ style. How they used color, very primair and simple. Jivan did researches to the woman in this society, specially how the fat woman is pictured. Chris is a designer. She totally went back to the basic, shapes, etc. She approaches this abstract, almost mathematical. And that’s why it came to ‘manly’ over to me.

You can also listen to this interview, sorry it’s in Dutch.

1. How do you know each other? And was there already a good connection between the 2 of you? “We were in the same class at Artez, Academy in Arnhem. But during the education/school we were not friends or working together. After the Academy Jivan photographed the graduation project of Chris and then they concluded that both of their work look very similar, image, esthetic. But as person they are the opposite from each other. After that graduation they brainstorming about subjects.
Chris is more mathematical and Jivan is more expressive. Our old class mates are really surprised we work together and it’s woking out really well.”

2. When did you start this project? “We graduated in 2014 and started this project October 2015.”

3. Why a project about this subject? Do you know fat women. have you been one yourself?
” We worked at the same prom dresses shop. Here came a lot of ‘fuller figured women’.
Chris: “And then I was asking the fashion industry the question: why do they always design in the same way? Why can’t they be new? My conclusion is, there can only be a new way of thinking, if there’s a new body shape. And the new body shape is already here, but they only get ignored.”
Jivan: “And the women who came for a dress were very insecure, didn’t like anything about themselves. It really didn’t matter what size they were. I saw them in the fitting room, they all wanted to be slimmer, no belly, etc. Why are all these women the same in these fitting rooms, why so insecure and negative about their bodies. This is wrong and this is not how it should be.
Where should be the change in fashion, the woman will not feeling this negative anymore? That was the question to ourselves. We both were frustrated about this, we had discussions and from this all our collaboration started.

4. Was this the only experience? In a prom dresses shop? It’s a very hard piece of garment to feel comfy in. We are not used to wear this kind of clothes. Did you do some researches in sizes?
” yes when we realized that the ‘new body’ is here, we did some researches and she prognose from CBS that there will be a huge group of fat people. And fat in our eyes are people who are overweight and their BMI is too high. Information from public health. A prognose
We have a model (size 56-58 EU) who we are working with, we have interviewed (in real)here about her experience and a few more women who are overweight from size 48 to 58 EU. This is the group we see as fat.

5. You have chosen to make a statement with a woman body with a size 56-58 EU? ” No it was not a statement to the media, we really wanted to do some research for the body, how it has changed. We have zoomed in to her belly, and then everyone will look larger then when you see an person full length.
We really are looking for new shapes, nu base to work with. And that’s only possible with extremes. Later we can minimize to smaller sizes as well, so also for the average sizes.

You are talking about this ‘new shape’. The fashion industry is focused on the hour glass body shape. But We also know the round shapes, apple, pear, etc. But there is also already a change going on in this plus size industry, that they don’t want to get dress because of the hourglass theorie. That’s why I think it’s interesting you are looking for a n’new shape’

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6. How about healthy? Or obese promoting? ” We are not judging about health. We only want to ask: is fat accepted or not? We ave chosen this model with size 56-58 EU, because it’s still not accepted, people think it’s not okay and it’s even ugly. A size 46 or 48 Eu is already more accepted in this society.

7. Esthetic? Fat? “new esthetic, because now all the designers for plus size are all thinking the same. What in the past worked for plus size, they still do it. I think it’s time for new method to design for this group.”

8. Have you been inspired by social media? Is Tess Holiday a inspiration? ” We didn’t want to be too influenced by the social media, because even woman as Tess, is still photographed in a flattering way when she works for brands. Her own photo’s are more statement.
What we think it’s very interesting of social media, is more the emotional part: how women show themselves. There are 2 groups: not flattering/statement and the perfect and the always the .
The perfection against the imperfection. We just want to show the realness, no filter, no photoshop or registration. we want everything should be accepted. No more flattering.”

9. Positive or negative? “Positive of course. Negative is still from the designers now, how they approach the fat woman now. Positive impulse for new thinking as design and esthetic. we want to renovate and this is always positive. The ‘Ultime couture’ is making clothes customized on the body of the model, very personalized. We want this of the fat woman. Not from the traditional approach from the fashion industry now, but from a new which is not here yet.”

10. Are there already designers in the past, who have done something with fat women? “There were some designers, but they showed a fat women more as a gimmick. These are statements, they say more about the ego of the designer.

11. Is there a collection now? ” This was the research and from now we are working on a collection, images and sculptures. It’s a very complex subject, we had to do a lot of research to the society, the fashion industry. and this was really necessary to have the knowledge we have now to start the end presentation.”

12. Have you also met women who are confident? ” Our model for this project is our inspiration. She is very confident and she is our ‘ideal woman, our muse.

13. The more we see different women, it will have effect on the society? ” People have to get used to images of (fat) women and the more they will be shown, the society will get used to it and accept it. We are already prepare the people for this and we are right on time and we are ‘learn’ that people are used to see a realistic body.

14. Will it be pert-a-porter or haute couture, ‘bold couture’? ” We are working very experimental, but the start is couture, but it will be too abstract. It will not be ‘garments’ as we already know, like a T shirt for example. We approach to find a solution for the new shape of bodies or the new body part shapes, like the opper arm, or extreme belly.

A big applause for these young designers that they have the guts to start this project. I can’t wait to see more. You can visit today their event in Amsterdam.

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