Monday, 25 September 2017

Debunking Plus Size Myths With Afamado


Plus size women are everywhere. We’re teachers and writers, designers and scientists, lawyers and moms. And yes, contrary to popular belief that plus size women cannot be fashionable and stylish, some of us are fashion bloggers.
Debunking Plus Size Myths
Existing as a plus size woman in society that is hell-bent on ignoring you and making you invisible is nothing less than an act of rebellion itself. But it doesn’t stop here. On a daily basis we are bombarded with overwhelming misconceptions and myths about our bodies and lifestyle. From internet doctors giving us lectures about our health to garden-variety fatphobes telling us what we should and should not wear. 
Everyday some new plus size myth crops up that adds to the growing fatphobia in our society. If we really want to end size based discrimination and prejudices against plus size bodies, it is important to debunk and bust the most common plus size myths.
Dresses For Plus Size Women
Plus Size Is A Temporary Size 
Since a young age women have been conditioned to aspire to look a certain way. And their body size is an integral part of it. Women have been made to believe that for them to be considered beautiful and desirable they have to be thin. Anything other than thin is unacceptable. Because we are so condition to seeing thin as an aspiration and the biggest achievement, many people, including fashion industry insiders, believe that plus size is a temporary size and all plus size women want to lose weight and be thin and no woman really wants to be plus size for life.
It is an age old myth that all plus size women see themselves as a body in transition. That they see their current plus size as temporary that will eventual change. Not only is this thinking problematic but also very harmful. 

Here’s a fact: While many plus size women are unhappy with their bodies and do everything in their power to change it, many of us are very happy in our plus size bodies. Not all of us are aspiring and striving for a single-digit size. Some of us are happy with our double-digit size and plus size bodies. For us, plus size is a permanent size.
Indian Plus Size Brand Afamado
Plus Size Women Don’t Shop Plus Size 
I work in the fashion industry. And not since the past few years when I started blogging, but for a good 8+ years - since I started my career as a fashion designer. From my days as a fashion student to now, I have been told and made to believe that plus size women don’t like to shop and dress up. Back then, the plus size market in India was non-existent. But now, with the plus size market booming globally, many people in India still hold on to these antiquated views. 
The biggest accusation against plus size women is, they don’t spend money on plus size clothes. The truth is, first, plus size clothes are not easily available in India, and second, the few that are available are frumpy, shapeless and downright boring. No woman in her right mind would spend money on those clothes, and yet, so many of us do, not out of choice but out of necessity. 
The sad reality is; the fashion industry takes plus size consumer for granted. Instead of offering her with well-designed, quality fashion, like they do for straight size, they create tasteless clothes that are neither stylish nor interesting.
Plus size women love to dress up and are just as willing to spend like straight size women. We too deserve quality fashion that makes up look and feel good. Time the fashion industry took note of that.
Busting Plus Size Myths
Plus Size Women Are Glorifying Obesity
One of the biggest allegation against plus size people and the body positive and fat acceptance movement is that it glorifies obesity. Ever since the movement has gone mainstream and plus size women have gotten more visible and vocal, the allegation has grown too. 
Anytime a plus size/ fat woman decides to unabashedly celebrate herself and her fat body by promoting self-love and self-acceptance, she is blatantly fat shamed and often accused of glorifying obesity. 
This is hands down the biggest myth about plus size people and the body positive and fat acceptance movement as well.
Plus Size Fashion Blog India
The term “glorifying obesity” is nothing but a dog whistle used against plus size and fat people with the aim to silence them. We all know health is subjective and one cannot just look at someone and decide if that person is healthy or not, fit or not. But that doesn’t stop people from fat shaming plus size and fat people in the name of health and fitness. 
If promoting self-love and self- acceptance at any size is considered as glorifying obesity, then yes, plus size people are glorifying obesity. 
Corissa Enneking of Fat Girl Flow perfectly sums up what glorying obesity really mean: “I am glorifying obesity. I am glorifying this body that does not, and has never, got enough praise for its existence. I am glorifying the rebellion I live each day while loving this body. I am glorifying the pounds I gained after years of starving myself. I am glorifying every moment I am alive in this body that others would discard as worthless. And I am extremely proud of myself. So I celebrate that by sharing my life and my experiences with other people. Amazing people.”
Body Positive India
When I started blogging in October 2011, plus size fashion and plus size fashion blogging, both were considered as niche. Very often the only plus size blogger to be present at an event, I would feel like the odd woman out. On multiple occasions I would not have anything good to wear to these events and I would end up not attending them because of it.
Plus Size Fashion Blogger India
Afamado Dress | Kate Spade Bag | Pavers England Shoes | Lakme Absolute Luxe Matte Lip Color With Argan Oil  Lipstick Crimson Town | Makeup Courtesy Lakmé at Lakmé Fashion Week

Now, when I see the plus size fashion industry in India make its presence felt it gives me great hope. Up and coming size-inclusive brands Afamado is one such brand. With the aim of promoting body positivity and size-diversity, the brand is offering plus size and fat women what they have been deprived for a long, long, time – stylish and quality fashion. The clothes are beautifully designed and well-fitted (they offer customisation as well), Afamado is the go to brand for trendy plus size clothes, especially dresses and gowns. 
The best part is, they are not just breaking plus size myth, they are busting plus size fashion myth too. They are offering plus size and fat women a plethora of choices that is colourful, sexy and so very chic. Their clothes don’t look like shapeless garbage bag or printed tent. None of that here. Afamado’s clothes are structured, on-trend and aspirational. Their clothes aren’t made to hide your body. Their clothes are made to flaunt your curves, give you confidence and make you feel like a million bucks.


Photography by Shreyas Hegde

Till then, tra-la,
    Amena!!
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Monday, 11 September 2017

Plus Size Fashion | Minimalist Style, Maximum Impact With Amydus

As someone who loves vibrant colours, bling, statement prints, and embellished tops, “basics” and “boring” have always been synonymous and interchangeable in my mind. I mean, why would you wear a plain shift dress when you could wear a layered, colour block ensemble? But since I started fashion blogging, my personal style has evolved extensively and I’ve stopped looking at every basic thing as boring.
Minimalist Style, Maximum Impact With Amydus
After spending years wearing only track pants and T-shirt or tunic and leggings and being deprived of quality, fun fashion, I was not ready to go back to wearing anything basic, minimalistic or in neutrals. However, since last year I have been reinventing my wardrobe and investing in minimalistic pieces that can be mix, matched and layered. Pieces that look good on their own as well as pair up easily with other pieces and accessories.
Plus Size Fashion Blogger India
The first time I visited Amydus website this olive green princess seam shift dress caught my fancy. Chic and stylish, the dress is the epitome of minimalistic style and maximum styling potential. Before I started fashion blogging I hadn’t worn a dress in years and certainly not a simple button-front shift dress. I would not even give a second glance to anything that was not in a pop colour or vivacious print, and certainly not something in a solid neutral shade. Basically, anything that was not statement making was off the table. And yet, the sheer simplicity of the dress is why I instantly fell in love with it.
Minimalist Style, Maximum Impact With Amydus
For this look, I wanted the focus to be on the dress itself. Instead of layering it, I decided to pair the dress with contrasting colour pop accessories, statement silver necklace and an oversized tote. The overall look is a fine balance of simple and statement.
Amydus - Indian Plus Size Fashion Brand
Granted, plus size fashion options in India are painfully limited but Amydus is one of the few size inclusive and diverse plus size brands that is trying to bring about a change and offering affordable and fashionable clothes for plus size and fat women like me. And unlike other plus size brands in India their sizes don’t end at size 22. Amydus sizes go up to UK 26 and 7XL, offering a wide range of size and style.
Amydus - Indian Plus Size Fashion Brand
One of the main reasons why I am extremely impressed with Amydus’s collection is because most of the pieces are well-designed, minimalistic with a girl-on-the-go vibe that, when combined with bolder accessories, is pretty perfect for the modern Indian woman. They’re the kind of outfits that can easily be glammed up or can be kept casual and simple depending on the occasion.
Plus Size Fashion Blogger India
As a plus size woman I’ve grown up being told and believing I need to hide my body and not bring any attention to it. And because of that I kept away from anything that would make my fat body visible or attract attention. 
After years of forced minimalism –  first, due to the fear of wearing something that would make me look “more fat” and then due to lack of stylish and quality plus size fashion in India – I had decided that I would never ever wear anything that is simple, basic or in neutrals colours. Anything that so much as looked minimalistic was a big no-no. 
Plus Size Fashion Blog India
For me, wearing “simpler” ensembles has always been a bit of a challenge. As a plus size woman and fashion blogger, I feel like my outfits and my looks have to be “interesting” in order for me to considered stylish enough and have an impact in the fashion blogging community.
Amydus - Indian Plus Size Fashion Brand
For years, I had conditioned myself to believe that basic and minimalistic outfits were not for me and for me to stand out I need to either layer or glam up my looks. But the truth is that I don't always want to dress in the bold pieces or layered looks, I really don't. My real life isn't always colourful tunics and jackets and statement accessories. 
Minimalist Plus Size Look
Amydus Dress | Accessorize Bag | Converse Sneakers | Swarovski Bracelet | MAC Ruby Woo Lipstick | L'Oreal Paris Superliner Waterproof Gel Eyeliner | Maybelline Volum Express Colossal Waterproof Mascara
I've finally learnt that minimalism and simple ensemble can be as much fun and interesting as statement or layered ones. That simple does’t always translate to boring and one doesn’t need glam up at all time to look stylish. 
Sometimes it's all about a chic and simple dress. And I'm loving this one and the confidence it gives me.

Photography by Shreyas Hegde


Till then, tra-la,
    Amena!!
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Wednesday, 7 June 2017

I Am Done Apologising For The Way I Look


When you spend more than half your life living in a fat body, you systematically get conditioned to seeing yourself the way the world views you. As much as you want to, there comes a time where you cannot discrete yourself from the grander cultural narrative that is associated with plus size and fatness. 
Especially, the way Indian fashion industry perceives it.
Plus Size Fashion Blog India
While the world has started to get vocal about body positivity and fat acceptance, India is still sitting on the side-lines, occasionally celebrating the ‘curvy’ or ‘chubby’ or ‘full-figured’ woman.

A country that has more than 50% of its population as plus size and fat, it is extremely important to have regular dialogue about body diversity, body positivity, and fat acceptance. The need of the hour is to break all age old plus size and fat stereotypes and prejudices and educate people rather than body and fat shame them. We cannot have yet another generation going to war with their own bodies and trying to conform in a world that worships being thin.
I Am Done Apologising For The Way I Look
I Am Fat and I Am OK With It!
For a little over two decades, I have tried every trick in the book to not be me. Not that there was anything wrong with me per se. The problem was with me being a fat girl in a fat hating world.
You see, when I was growing up, there was no bigger insult that being called fatThere was always that occasional fat joke thrown my way. Or random remark made about my size and weight. There were times people would stop seeing me as Amena, a human being, and see me as an object that needs to be mocked solely because of her shape and size. If they had nothing to tell me they would just throw a fat slur my way that would cut me off at the knees and I would go from being feisty to fragile. 
Plus Size Fashion Blogger India
Anyone who has been on the opposite side of conventional thin has experienced fat shaming in some way or another. They can tell you instances of being bullied, called teasing names, put in a corner and made to feel like an outsider.
There comes a point when the voices outside your body get so loud that you eventually start believing them. I let those voices control me for far too long until it was a matter of sink or swim. I chose to swim the tide of fat shaming and make it to the other side. I am glad I did it. Once you let go of self shaming, you start seeing life from an all new perspective.

Over the years, ‘fat’ has lost its negative connotation for me. Now, it is just another word, an adjective, that describes me. I see fat and thin purely as descriptors. They are not an abomination or an aspiration. I don’t get offended when some calls me fat. Nor do I get happy when someone says, “Have you lost weight? You’re looking thin”. I am done with all kinds of body shaming.
Body Positivity and Fat Acceptance
Yes, Plus Size Fashion Blogger Is A Real Thing 
Back in 2012, during my rookie days as a fashion blogger, someone politely asked, “Are you a fashion blogger? You don’t look like a fashion blogger!”
The blatant assumption that all fashion bloggers, like models, are the same size - aka thin - is a biased generalisation. Blogging started as a way to express yourself. It gave women and men of all shapes, sizes, colour, sexuality and race a space to share their personal style and views. The bedrock of fashion blogging is diversity and to exclude plus size and fat bodies from it is unfair.
For every fashion magazine that reinstates that style comes in only one size, blogging offers an alternative narrative instead.
After years of believing that nothing will flatter my fat body expect tunic top and leggings, I was finally free to make sartorial choices as I pleased. Blogging empowered me to wear what every fashion magazine for years had denied.
Plus Size Fashion Blog India
Can I Have Some Clothes, Please?
When I decided to make the switch from fashion designing to fashion blogging I knew it would be different and difficult. I was not ready for discriminatory.
During my initial blogging days, I used to love attending collection previews. Not only did you get to see the new collection before everyone else, you also get to try it. I was overjoyed with this idea.
Soon my enthusiasm would turn into an uncomfortable moment for me and the brand as there was never anything that would fit Amena. “Sorry, we just don’t keep anything in your size. Would you like someone else from your team to wear this instead?” 
Earlier, I would say it’s all good and agree to just pose with the clothes rather than wear them. Now it’s a firm no. If I don’t get my size, then I don’t care to be a part of it. 
On many occasions I have asked brands why do they not get a tad bit plus size inclusive; there are people over size 14-16 in India. Most of then were polite and would say, yes, good suggestion, and move on, however, one brand manager was honest with me and said, “No offence, but we don’t want fat people to be seen in our clothes. That would not go well with our core audience.”
This was a major wakeup call. I have been indirectly promoting those brands that choose to look at me and women like me as less than equal, unworthy of their clothes. To think that plus size and fat women wearing their clothes brings down its brand value is not only discriminatory but also incredibly offensive. 
Ever since then, I have stopped associating with that brand. On principle I can not promote something that does not believe in diversity.
One can look at their choice as a preference and not a prejudice. But imagine if they said the same thing for race or sexual orientation. That their clothes are only for white people or straight people. Would we still look at it as a preference? 
As a blogger, I have the freedom to pick and choose who I want to work with. And I choose not to work with brands that are fatphobic and not democratic about size.
I Am Done Apologising For The Way I Look
In the last year, Indian fashion industry has made some efforts towards size inclusiveness. However, It’s high time Indian fashion industry finally embraces body diversity and becomes body positive. 

I long for a time where it will be normal — and not ground-breaking — for brands, fashion weeks, and magazines to feature plus size/fat women and men. The effort for equal and fair representation of plus size and fat bodies is a must. The only way we can end body and fat shaming is by normalising all bodies instead of glorifying a specific type.
Plus Size Fashion Blogger India
It has taken me a few years to undo years of body and fat shaming. To be able to look in the mirror and be okay with what I see. The journey has been tough, but the end result has been the best thing that has happened to me.
I am done apologising for the way I look. I am perfectly happy being a fat woman and a plus size fashion blogger. I am proud of all that I have achieved with the limited available options. I have made peace with who I am. About time everyone else does the same too.
Body Positivity and Fat Acceptance

Calae Top | Calae Check Dress (Styled As Jacket) | Marks & Spencer Jeans | Ted Baker Bag | Van Heusen Wedges | Accessorize Necklace and Rings | Swarovski Bracelet | Kate Spade Watch | MAC Diva Matte Lipstick | L'Oreal Paris Superliner Waterproof Gel Eyeliner | Maybelline Volum Express Colossal Waterproof Mascara

Photography by Shreyas Hegde

Till then, tra-la,
    Amena!!
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