Happy Monday my lovelies. I have had the longest weekend at Curve Fashion Festival and thought I’d share my experience with you (grab yourself a brew as it might be a long, photo heavy one). To that end there are a few things I’d like to get out of the way right from the get go, just for clarification purposes…
My plans to attend TCFF18 have been in the works since I went last year. This year is my 3rd year attending. It is an event I genuinely love. This year I received my ticket in exchange for a post prior to the event. That does not and will not affect my opinion in anyway. My plans were already well under way when I was approached by Topsy Curvy to spend a little time on their stand. I was not paid for this, nor did I expect to be. The lovely #TeamTopsy very kindly gave me my outfit for the day. Again this does not affect my opinion.
I know the team behind Curve Fashion Festival. I’m not sure why but for some reason, possibly in the interests of transparency I feel the need to quantify “know”. I am not Facebook friends with either Zoe or Hollie. However I follow them both on social media. I followed Hollie of PrettyBigButterflies before I even realised she was part of the TCFF team. I would feel comfortable enough to talk to them both in social circumstances. We aren’t besties, having PJ parties and braiding each others hair (although if either of you are reading and are interested, I’m totally up for this – call me). None of this influences my opinion either way.
Right now we’ve got that out of the way let’s get on with my day…
Well it was an early one I can tell you that for nothing. It might surprise you to know I don’t wake up looking as fine as my Instagram usually indicates. There is a lot of graft goes in to that. The beautification started the day before with a special treat at my local salon, Tips Tops & Tans in Iver. Usually I have my eyebrows waxed by the lovely Jess and occasionally when I have an event I have cluster lashes done.
I absolutely love having long pretty lashes but I suck at putting on false lashes. My natural lashes are small and very straight. I’ve tried all sorts of mascaras and none achieve a look of even wearing anything. Also thanks but I don’t need a 1001 Younique Reps trying to push the fibre lash mascara on me now either. I had it and it didn’t work for me unless spider lash is my thing (and if it’s your thing that’s great).
Anyway I digress as usual. As I knew I’d have a long day ahead of me I couldn’t be bothered faffing around trying to get false lashes on with my mood getting fouler by the minute. So I left the salon looking like the laughing cow, absolutely over the moon.
My Saturday started at 4.15am. For the most part all my bag was packed and ready to go but I wanted to get up and be fully awake before I left the house to be at the tube station for the first leg of my journey. I got to the tube station at 5.15am to discover I’d left both my oyster card and my business cards at home (turns out the latter wasn’t needed anyway so that was a bonus). So as per usual an epic five minute meltdown ensued before I gave in and bought a travelcard.
I got on what turned out to be the slowest tube ever and arrived at Euston Station about 6.30am. I thought it was perfect timing. Just enough for me to chow down a Burger King before boarding the 7.07am to Liverpool Lime Street. Oh no. Yet again the fates were conspiring against me as Burger King was closed. Enter second five minute meltdown of the day. So I grabbed a big bag of hula hoops and a cherry coke and made do.
I was travelling up on my own. I’m a remotely good traveller and ok with my own company but I was excited as I was expecting there to be quite a few plus sized beauts on the same train as me and I was not disappointed. I was thinking “yay we can chat and swap stories and have a laugh”. Sadly I was on a table with mute businessman and some non English speaking tourists so the chat was non existent.
I arrived at the venue around 9.30am and it was a hive of activity. Everyone was busy getting everything ready, making sure they were set up for the day. The first thing that struck me was just how beautiful St George’s Hall was. I collected my outfit from the #TeamTopsy guys and got myself changed and ready for the day ahead.
The doors opened at 10am and the one thing that became apparent very quickly is just how busy it was. I’d seen a queue forming outside but the Fashion Hall began filling up really quickly. Something else that became apparent quickly was just how hot the venue was. I was so pleased Topsy Curvy did not want their jeans back as my arse was sweating from 9.45am and they were stuck to me like shit to a blanket (it’s a look I know).
One of the first things I did was give a little soundbite to the lovely Molly who was interviewing people for a piece on BBC Radio 5 Live about the death of plus size fashion on the High Street. You can listen here (skip to 47:00 in to hear a lil someone you might recognise).
I was on the Topsy stand for a couple of hours during the day. I also crossed over briefly with my lush twinnie Katie and her Positively Perfect chums. The rest of the day was spent flitting around trying to say hi to everyone, look at stands, taking selfies and have a chat. TCFF is the ultimate selfie fest as it is a veritable smorgasbord of plus size gorgeousness.
I did not see the catwalk at all and I was not VIP (shocking right) so I can’t really comment about either of those areas. All I do know is I was flat out ALL DAY and the #TeamTopsy girls (including Topsy Mum) did not stop so kudos to them.
I bought a few goodies. No trip to TCFF would be complete without a Nicky Rockets tee. Also statement earrings obviously featured heavily. Around 5pm I left to go and grab some food from the amazing Christmas market right out the front with my pal Sarah. I had the most amazing Chinese noodles (thanks to Liv and Katey from Lovedrobe). Truthfully apart from an epic lemon cupcake from Tilly Mint’s Tea Room, I hadn’t eaten all day so they could of been stir fried in dog shit and they’d still of been lovely. Fortunately they weren’t and they really hit the spot.
I grabbed a hot chocolate at Costa in the station and boarded my 6.47pm train home. The journey to Euston gave me a brief opportunity to catch up on some social media activity. I finally got home, absolutely exhausted, about 10.45pm gasping for a nice cold diet coke (other soft drinks are available).
So my review of the day…
I LOVE LOVE LOVE (and love some more) Curve Fashion Festival. I might be a sad bitch but, all the family shit out of the way, it is one of my favourite days of the year. It is something I look forward to and plan in advance. TCFF19 is going to require a lot more planning because I am not doing it in one day EVER AGAIN (I’ve said this before but I’m sticking to it this time).
It is a fabulous celebration of all things fantabulous in the plus size community and Gemma Collins. I want more brands to get on board. I really want industry people supporting this event. There is a place for it and it is needed.
It’s also a chance to get together with friends and who doesn’t want to do that?
But please remember that my opinion is coming from able bodied privilege. Did I find the Fashion Hall cramped – yes I bloody did. If I stopped to say hi to anyone I had large number of people up my arse tutting and sighing and huffing. That shit only usually happens after you’ve wined and dined me.
There were a lot of occasions I could not get in to stands to have a look at things. The best time I had to do this was around 4.30pm but some retailers / brand were already gone or had started knocking down despite the closing time being 5pm.
The venue was as hot as Satan’s under crackers, despite the best efforts of the organisers to try and control it the best they could. On occasion, when I needed to, I found a place to perch my bum. It wasn’t luxurious but it was functional and I made do. Because I have the luxury of being able to do so.
It miffs me off that some brands attend but don’t bring stock you can buy. If I wanted to window shop I’d do that online. I don’t know why? I’m sure there are business / logistical reasons but I’m not sure what they are. It makes business sense to me that you bring stock and take my money but that’s just a simplistic view. I don’t want to look and think “ohhh I could wear that tomorrow” only to be told I can order it and have it delivered to my home in 3 – 5 days.
Now on to accessibility. I am, for the most part, able bodied. I am not affected by any anxiety disorders that may make a cramped environment difficult for me to navigate. Like everyone I was told the venue was accessible. What I now believe that to mean is that it was DDA compliant which is possibly a million miles away from accessible.
Despite a sometimes popular opinion, I am not a twat. During peak times (which was a large chunk of the day) the Fashion Hall was difficult for me to move around. I can’t even begin to imagine what it was like if you were in a wheelchair or on crutches or had any walking aid. And you know what? I’m not even going to try.
There are people who attended the event who are in a far better position than me to give feedback on the accessibility issues and I’m going to let them do that.
Am I passing the buck or only interested in blowing smoke up the arses of the organisers? No I’m not. I just think if a voice needs to be heard it should be that of someone in a position to speak it. It’s not my truth to tell because it isn’t my experience. That doesn’t mean I don’t think the organisers need to hear it. Give them the feedback. Allow them the chance to make it better next year. I absolutely believe they will try to.
I can’t even imagine how much hard work goes in to putting this event on but I know the organisers aren’t doing it to hope it fails or get shit feedback. They want the event to succeed. They want to support the plus size community so allow them to opportunity to do that. Help them to make the event better. Or put an event on yourself.
The only soundbite I gave was to BBC Radio 5 Live. I don’t believe is making noise for noise sake. That doesn’t mean I don’t support what is going on. Like I’ve said I just think there are people better poised to speak it than me. I think that applies to a lot of people.
I’ve heard so much negativity in time since the event it makes me a little sad to be honest. Shade and sniping at influencers and brands for not speaking out. The same for people speaking out. Just because you aren’t hearing, doesn’t mean it’s not being spoken. Even though they have a public forum, not everyone feels the need to be heard.
I don’t know what goes through people’s mind as I’m not psychic but sometimes people need time to process and collect their thoughts and feelings before saying anything. There is no time limit on that. Some people don’t feel the need to make a public statement but still feedback to the organisers. Others don’t feel comfortable saying anything because they don’t want to “suffer the wrath”.
Any or all of these things are ok. You just do you. Don’t worry or focus on praise or plaudits. Do what feels right for you. It’s not always about the reach or the engagement or the retweets. Sometimes it just about the message getting through to the organisers. In my opinion that doesn’t always happen when caught up in a lot of white noise.
Anyway I want to end of a high note. What higher note could there be than my gorgeous fat face. First picture is my lovely glitter braids done on the fabulous Pretty Little Thing stand (I’m also dreaming on the Chinese noodles about to come my way). Second is yesterday when I debuted my new Nicky Rockets top and statement earrings from New Look.
In case it hasn’t come across I had the most wonderful day attending TCFF this year and I will return next year and the year after that. I’ll keep returning like a bad penny until, like Sandra of Gogglebox fame, I’m not welcome anymore. I will always support this event and strive to help improve it anyway I can. Did you attend? What did you think?