If you are not aware of Beth Ditto, then you must have been hiding under a rock!! As the lead singer for the indie rock band Gossip since its inception in 1999, Ditto has described herself as “a fat, feminist lesbian from Arkansas,” and has rallied against the fashion industry for its lack of positive-body images for large women. This rallying cry has given Beth Ditto the opportunity to walk in Jean-Paul Gaultier’s spring 2011 show, collaborate on a cosmetic line with MAC, and in 2009 launch her first plus-size clothing line with women’s clothing retailer Evans.
At 5`1 and 210lbs, Ditto has been a fierce advocate for unconventional style and plus-size fashion. Ditto’s unconventional style centers on vintage clothes, Art Deco, and the irreverent rock n’ roll style of music icons like Grace Jones and Blondie. And while her collaboration with clothing retailer Evans was an “international success” and the “collection struck a nerve with its iconic pieces,” Ditto was not satisfied.
And that dissatisfaction has led Ditto to launch her second fashion collection. Believing that large women don’t have to shy away from oversized garments or silhouettes that are not necessarily form flattering, Ditto launched a new collection, Beth Ditto Season One, in February. Due the overwhelming success and response to the inaugural collection, Ditto is back with the second collection, Beth Ditto #2.
“I want all kinds of fat girls to feel amazing in these clothes! We had such a great response to the first collection—specifically the fact that there were shapes there which people couldn’t find at this size before. We’ve really dialed that up this time! It’s even more sculptural and feels more unapologetic. We’re still transcending the idea of trends; I know I’ll still loves these shapes years from now,” explained Ditto.
Beth Ditto #2 brings back some of the best-loved shapes from Season One, but re-imagined. There are new silhouettes in denim and silk, architectural style shift dresses with cinched waists, a cocoon-shaped wool coat, through to new takes on the relaxed, dropped-shoulder jersey styles from Season One.
And Ditto’s love affair with makeup is front and center in the sophomore collection. Prints include vibrant color-pop eye pencil shavings, dripping red nail polish and three-dimensional, oversized eyelashes.
Additionally, Ditto used Instagram to cast real people, not curvy models, for the brand’s campaign. Los Angeles–based Hannah Moon and Charles Jeffrey assisted in assembling the cast and directing the campaign, set in a chaotic house party that evokes the chaotic irreverent mood of the collection.
“When Beth asked me to work with her on this project, my gut reaction – literally, instantly!—was the idea of capturing how I felt the first time I discovered Beth’s music. The video for one of The Gossip’s first singles, “Listen Up,” was a starting point. We took a lot of the vibes from that and created this setting where interesting, free, real kids could dance in a messy room to music they love. I also really wanted to celebrate their amazing bodies in the same way the clothes do; There are so many great examples of bigger bodies in fashion campaigns but I’ve never seen one that I felt was very rock n roll… I’m so proud of this.”
The eleven-piece collection launched on November 1 and is available in US sizes 18–32. For more information, go to shop.bethditto.com.
—William S. Gooch