Did you ever have that experience of going into a clothing store, one which you loved, which was full of ‘trendy’ clothes, and discovering that nothing fit. I remember feeling this way all the time when I was a teenager. It wasn’t just one store, it was all stores and it felt like my whole youth.
I remember it so clearly because all my friends shopped at this store, I’ll call it S-Store, and I wanted to be just like them-(well, I was a teenager and I wasn’t comfortable with my weirdness then). I remember going into this shop with my friends and feeling so out of place. I searched and searched for something that would fit but the largest size they carried was a 14.
It was so embarrassing and awkward because I desperately wanted to buy a shirt but the shirt wasn’t made for people like me.
It wasn’t made for larger women. It wasn’t made for chubby, fat, alternatively shaped women. It wasn’t made for people whose breasts were too big or too small. It was made for a random designers idea of someone who was ‘normal’.
And it was sooo frustrating. It made me not want to shop for clothes. It made me not want to shop at all!!
But here is the thing that nobody told me when I was a teenager- All bodies are good bodies! All people deserve to find awesome clothes that they love and clothes that fit!
Fashion is often(not always) a very important way of communicating in our society. For me, being shy and introverted it has always been a way for me to say something without talking. It allowed me to display my difference to the world. It allowed me to stand out when I often felt like I was blending in with the background.
My body was rejected by mainstream stores.
Teenage me said “If they dont want me to blend in then I’ll stand out…”
So I scraped together a piecemeal wardrobe. I hand stitched dresses and acquired vintage mens shirts. I turned jeans into flares and hand painted tshirts with acrylic paints. I collected and made the clothes that I wanted and they didn’t look like mainstream clothes(you know, those clothes that had rejected me).
All bodies are good bodies!
When internet shopping became a common thing in the early 2000’s it was a liberating experience for me. No more going into shops hoping I might find something that I fit. No more having to deal with embarrassing dressing rooms and having awkward conversations with sales girls.
No more sideways glances from other shoppers. The kind of glance that says 'you shouldn’t be in here’…
I could buy from Ebay. I could buy from the USA. I could shop specialty stores like Torrid. I could get band tshirts and big black boots and gothic corsets(do you see a theme) and I could get them all in my size. It was liberating!
Creating a plus size tshirt collection
When I first added tshirts to the Jubly range a few years ago the most important thing to me was to have size inclusive clothing. I wanted to offer options to as many people as possible. I wanted buying tshirts to be as positive an experience as possible.
My first few runs were difficult. I discovered that there is no size standardisation in Australia and ever company makes their own different sized tshirts. This made it very hard for me to choose the right tshirt and very hard for customer to figure out what size to order. The other problem I had was that I could only order a certain number of tshirts per run and the more common sizes such as large and l sold out quickly while xs and xxl took longer to sell. Even then it wasn’t quite the size range I wanted. I wanted options for more people.
Plus size tshirts made in Melbourne
Finally I came across an option to do individually printed tshirts or print-on-demand. This meant I could offer a large range of sizes and colours and styles and each tshirt is made when the order is placed. This method has added bonuses in that there are no leftovers. We only make a shirt when that shirt is specifically ordered.
My tshirts are now locally printed in Melbourne onto AS colour brand tshirts, are printed to order which means no waste(goodbye fast fashion) and are available up to a Unisex 5xl.
I hope that by offering as many options as possible it will help people to express themselves. The range still isn’t perfect but I am always trying to get it better.
I am trying to get it better for you!
If you have any feedback on my current designs I want to hear it. If you have any suggestions for future designs, colour-ways or products I want to hear it.
I hope that teenagers these days have a better experience than I did. I hope that future teenagers can have the experience of going into the shop and finding something that suits them no matter what size or shape or ability they are.
Xo Tasha xo
ps. i appologise for any typos in this. I am typing it on my home laptop with sticky keys...lol