Lär känna 23:åriga designern och plusmodebloggaren Charlotte Hatt, när vi frågar henne om hennes tankar och drömmar om design. Boende i London är hon aktuell med designkollektionen “The Big Apple” och hon skriver också på bloggen Apple Charlotte
. Kollektionen som går i pastellig rosa, rött och vitt består av både klänningar, över- och underdelar samt ytterkläder och går att finna i sin helhet här
. The Big Apple var en del av Charlottes avgångsprojekt på universitetet och färdigställdes våren 2013, och nu finns planer på att modifiera kollektionen och göra den tillgänglig för alla oss potentiella köpare!
How long have you been interested in fashion and when did you decide that you were going to focus on plus size fashion?
I have been interested in fashion pretty much since I was a teenager. I’ve always been arty and creative throughout my life, even when I was very little, and as I’ve got older my creativity has developed into different areas. When I left school I went to college to do an art foundation and whilst I was there I decided fashion was the right path for me, so then chose to do fashion design at University. When I first started University it hadn’t really fully crossed my mind that I wanted to go into plus size as I was still unsure of myself and what direction to go in. But whilst I was studying and learning my love for fashion grew and grew, and I just knew that I wasn’t happy with the plus size fashion choices out there, so the answer became pretty clear that this is what I am meant to do.
Did your university support your choice of dissertation and collection?
From a ‘being unique’ perspective and ‘pushing the boundaries’, my University were supportive of my choice of specializing in plus size. My dissertation was never an issue as I had a topic I was extremely passionate and knowledgable about and therefore could write the 8000 words. Before I did my collection we had to do a proposal project which is the basis of our final collection, which my tutors loved and fully supported as I had a unique approach to viewing the plus size body. But once it came to making I could tell opinions had changed. One of the issues was my design aesthetic as it’s very young and ‘cutesy’, but one tutor thought I should be doing sexy and sophisticated, but that just isn’t my thing. In any creative area, or a course in this case, people are always unfortunately going to disagree as art and fashion are very subjective.
Not only that, it was extremely hard as I started University with very little pattern cutting and sewing knowledge, and by year 3 I was thrown into making a size UK22 collection with very little help. Although the rest of my class were in the same situation, it was slightly different for me. I had to produce pattern blocks from scratch, arrange my own fittings, and find my own models for the catwalk day, whereas the rest of my class had all this done for them. (My classmates were EXTREMELY supportive though) Several times I was in floods of tears, particularly when I was told that I wouldn’t be able to show at the catwalk show as they hadn’t found me any models, which left me a week to do it all on my own. Another tutor asked me if I could reduce my collection to a size UK16 one week before hand-in after everything had been made, which was impossible to do and went against what my project stood for. Despite all the hard work I managed to pull it all off and it was so much more rewarding when I saw my six models walk down that catwalk. Then I was crying happy tears!
Kläderna på bilden ovan är alla från kollektionen The Big Apple
Would you do anything differently in hindsight regarding your collection?
That’s a difficult question! Design wise, I always look back and think if I was to make that collection now it would be even better, but that’s just life as we are all continuously improving and evolving! But I’m glad I made the decision to make a size UK22 collection, I wouldn’t change go back and change it even if it was the hardest three months of my life with constant battles.
What inspires you when designing?
Lots of different things inspire me! My main inspiration is films, particularly ones like Moonrise Kingdom, or Grease, or Marie Antoinette. I just think clothes in films are so much better than real life, probably because everything is exaggerated. I guess by looking at my final collection you can see it’s got a ‘costume-y’ edge to it, but I just think its fun. Why can’t clothes just be FUN?
What’s your goal regarding designing?
My personal goal as a designer is to keep pushing the boundaries of plus size fashion. I think it’s great that new plus size lines are being added all the time, and the options for bigger women have come on leaps and bounds in the last few years. However, I can’t help but feel that some of them are half-hearted attempts, or overpriced for the most simplest of garments. Sometimes these clothes lack any design or fashion concept at all, or are designed by women who don’t fully understand what it’s like to actually be plus size. I think this is where most of these companies go wrong – that and they don’t go out and ask what the customer actually wants. This is where I think I have a unique perspective, and I just want to keep improving so that one day I hope I can be designing and selling plus size clothes that are crying out to be made.
Do you have any role models, plus size or otherwise?
I don’t really have any specific role models, especially plus size ones as the public eye is missing any that I can actually relate too. To be honest, my main role models is the plus size community as a whole. If I hadn’t found bloggers like Lauren from Pocket Rocket and Gabi Fresh all those years ago (could be 5 years – I’ve lost count!), I don’t know if I would be the person I am today. I, like I’m sure most plus size people, have never felt good enough my entire life due to my size, so the online plus size community basically saved me from my own negative self destruction. I’m a completely different person now and have been for years, but for that I’m truly grateful and continue to look up to other plus size bloggers.
Why do you think so many designers have a hard time making clothes in bigger sizes?
I sort of mentioned this before, but I think one reason designers find it hard making clothes for plus size men and women is because the designer themselves isn’t plus size. Obviously this isn’t always a problem – men design for women, women design for men all the time etc. But for some reason straight size designers seemed to think we want ‘hanky hem tunics’, or funny sleeves, or ugly patterns that hide our lumps and bumps. I don’t think they can get their heads around that we’re just normal people who want to wear on-trend, fashionable clothes. From experiences whilst interning, it’s not always been the designers fault but sometimes people further up the chain. Or a company has a certain target market who likes the all-black tunic with black leggings (thats fine if thats what you like), so thats what they make as it sells.
What made you go against the grain and do plus size instead of following a ready to go concept?
There’s a few reasons why I decided to do plus size. One reason is because I am plus size myself and didn’t want to just add to the massive selection of clothes that I can’t wear by designing and making another straight size collection. Also, you only get one shot at your graduate collection so I thought it was now or never. It’s always been something I am particularly passionate about, so making a plus size collection just felt right. I was also a little sick and tired of plus size collections at size UK12, and no one really doing plus size fashion PROPERLY. Bearing this in mind, I purposely chose to do a size UK22 collection as I wanted to shock people into being woken up – people don’t stop at size UK16, there are women bigger. We do exist, we are real people, and we CAN look good too. Oh, and we do want to show our bodies off and wear bright colours, which was the basis of my whole project.
Will we be able to buy your collection in the future?
I don’t know if I will ever sell exact copies of my collection, maybe alternatives as I’m constantly growing as a designer. I have recently set up a sewing studio in my house with the hope of making and selling a few things (of course in plus sizes). I recently did a giveaway on my blog of a crop top I made in size UK22, and it’s something I am interested in pursuing and making more of. I don’t have a definite answer at the moment as it’s all up in the air and depends on my circumstances, but I definitely haven’t ruled out selling a few things. So keep an eye out!