After growing up poor in Arkansas, feminist lesbian Beth Ditto rose to fame as singer-songwriter for the Gossip, a band she started in Olympia, Washington, in 1999. She has since become a face for body positivity and the beauty of plus-sized women and recently launched a 21-piece clothing collection that was sourced and produced in Manhattan’s Garment District, offering high quality pieces for those sized 14 to 28. Speaking in an interview with Lenny Letter, Ditto said that while growing up she would wear pedal pushers and spent time “ratting” her hair to look like Priscilla Presley and Mary Tyler Moore. When she recognized that she was a lesbian — a femme, at that — her style came to be, but only through trial and error. “You don’t realize that sometimes you’re not able to draw the line between when you’re dressing for other people’s comfort and pleasure and for society, versus [when] you’re dressing in what you like and it’s your expression, it’s your gender,” she said. “But really, I just loved makeup.”
The decision to make her clothing line in America — a practice she described as “zero compromise” and “bare bones”—came from years spent settling for low-quality fabrics that proved disposable, but were the only options for women of her size. “With the shit fabrics comes the idea that fat women are meant to change, that someday they will find this “thin person,” thought of as the real person. The truth is that we are who are and the way we are is amazing and completely valid,” Ditto said.
Read the full story at Lenny Letter.