With 2019 drawing to a close, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on the many good times I’ve had this year that I’d really like to share with a twofold purpose of an obvious happy stroll down memory lane & a bit of constructive criticism for ways that 2020 can be even better.
It’s been a long time coming but this is my review of The Curve Fashion Festival in Liverpool on 16th November ’19, featuring the good, the not-so-good & the outright stunning!
As a natural born worrier travelling from Manchester, I purposely arrived ridiculously early & we both chilled in the venue’s foyer with some breakfast, thinking as soon as those doors opened at 10am we’d be first in the queue courtesy of our early bird planning & swanky VIP status.
But, sadly, I were wrong as only the non-VIP guests were given wristbands to enter when the doors opened, leaving the VIPs to stand & wait in an extra queue to be issued separate wristbands & a goodie bag.
This would usually have put a royal dampener on my day but, because of that queue, I met some of my favourite long standing fat friends from Instagram that morning. So, for that queue I am actually grateful…
…Even if it did suck to have spent extra money for worse treatment & a substandard goodie bag.
Once finally in the hall of overwhelming positivity, filled with the happiest like-minded beauties all there for one reason, Kayleigh & me booked our VIP beauty treatment (included in the ticket package) & did a first lap of the stalls to scope out the goodies.
The variety of vendor was impressive & I was thrilled with how welcoming the stall holders & models/influencers/brand representatives were – I’d never been openly invited to manhandle so many gorgeous women who were making an example of their flesh as human advertisements for the products they were endorsing & I bloody loved it!
Back in the plush VIP area with a bag of pick ‘n’ mix (they know what fat girls like!), I had a gel polish & foils with a friendly-but-rushed nail tech while Kayleigh got her hair done.
I was satisfied but saw impending doom when I looked over at Kayleigh on the next beauty station, being ignored by her hairdresser in full conversation with another hairdresser.
It hit Kayleigh’s last nerve & she was ready to take her fancy new hairdo (which, credit where credit’s due, really did look cute!) right back through the doors we’d not long since entered through.
Dramatic, perhaps, but imagine being an anxious person in an enormous exhibition hall packed to the rafters with umpteen levels of hustle & bustle, to then have your pet hates of poor customer service & rudeness flaunted in your face after having already had your buttons pushed by the whole VIP queue fiasco.
Home would’ve seemed the best idea for most people in that scenario, am I right?
But we ploughed on & I’m so glad we did.
The Fangirl Diaries
Full disclosure: other than being a tight-arsed Yorkshire stereotype who wants her money’s worth out of everything she pays for, the main reason we didn’t leave at that point was because I wanted to stick around til at least 3pm to meet Eddie Hall on the Boohoo Man stand. And, nope, I’m not even sorry to be a WSM fangirl, especially after watching my husband kill it winning his strongman competition a couple of years ago! Proud wifey of a jealous strongman fan.
After that change of heart, we grabbed a seat at the catwalk to relax with a brew & to meet our Instafriend, Lucy. Not in the VIP seats as paid for, mind, because of all the catwalk crowds, shopping queues & meet & greet photo ops to wrestle through – all great features that went down immensely but a less than ideal seating placement in the busiest corner of the whole building.
It was completely unplanned but we caught the bridal catwalk by Beautiful Brides Liverpool. Absolute effing game changer of the day for me!
The Outright Stunning
When I got married I didn’t do the whole dress shopping malarkie – by choice, may I say – so this blew my happily married mind in the most spectacular way with the most beautiful, relatable, plus size models of all shapes/sizes/ages/ethnicities adorned in the most unique bridal gowns I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing.
It was so inspiring to see both the models & the designer, Marisa, living their absolute best lives on the catwalk with pride visibly glowing from their every curve.
Then came my highlight; I found my wedding dress of dreams (that I honestly have not stopped thinking about since that day!).
It was everything a bridal gown longs to be with the stunning addition of colour, pattern & personality that would truly be the icing on the cake for anyone’s perfect wedding day.
I have absolutely no reason to buy or even try on this beauty but that TCFF catwalk absolutely did it’s job for the plus size bridal boutique because I whole heartedly plan on paying a visit to see this dress “in the flesh” once the in house collection to which it belongs is officially launched in 2020.
From that moment, the day was back on track & I had a magical time celebrating everything that being plus size stands for with one of my best friends while meeting other lovelies from my online life along the way.
I made memories by taking advantage of the plentiful Instagramable photo ops, highlights of which were the Pretty Little Thing Boomerang booth & the Boohoo magazine cover box. The creativity was just immense!
The Celebrity Pedestal
There were photo ops at every turn with the most inspirational influencers in the curve community from Fuller Figure Fuller Bust (because I am that guy who calls people by their Instagram handle, my bad!) on the Elomi stand to Jess On The Plus Size at Pink Clove, which I had mixed feelings about:
On one hand, it was so lovely to see such powerhouses of women chatting so freely to everyone while they posed for all of our selfies. They all looked so proud to be representing & anyone could see how much they loved doing all of this.
But, on the other hand, I disliked that these beauties were given an elevated celebrity status that meant people had to queue up in order to do that.
I just didn’t agree that the women who are representatives of people like you & me, women who love the fact that they’re just like you & me, who fight the good fight for inclusive representation/against excluding audiences, were put on a pedestal that implied (by TCFF, not the influencers themselves – they were all utter delights!) they were better than us mere “muggles”.
Especially when TV, catwalk & reality royalty, Hayley Hasselhoff (y’know, David‘s daughter) was freely walking around, shopping, chatting, complementing my Kayleigh on her absolutely banging boobs, just being herself – if anyone was held in higher regard than anyone else, surely it should be the born & raised Hollywood child?
I don’t begrudge any of these utter inspirations their completely deserved moment of glory at TCFF but, in a community that fights for inclusivity, it just didn’t sit right with me for the festival to create a “them” & an “us”. But to reiterate: absolutely zero shade to any of these beautiful muses who inspire the bejesus out of my big fat life on a daily basis.
The level of celebrity that did tick my boxes, however, was 2017’s World’s Strongest Man, Eddie “The Beast” Hall – this was such a great draw for TCFF & a real stand out event for attendees who are still proud big ‘uns but who, like myself, aren’t necessarily the most fashion forward, & I commend the Curve team for this booking.
One final lap of goodbyes, selfies & last minute purchases after meeting Eddie, then that was a rap for our Curve Fashion Fest 2019.
Personally, I didn’t buy anything on the day but I thoroughly enjoyed the event nonetheless & I still did a whole load of window shopping for when I’m slightly less broke. Which leads me on to my biggest offering of constructive criticism for TCFF:
The VIP Treatment
The VIP treatment – or lack thereof – certainly didn’t make me feel like a very important person, especially for the rather weighty £45 ticket price.
With me not being the most financially flush fatshionista, I would’ve gladly not paid the additional £30 for a longer queue, a half arsed beauty treatment that I could’ve done at home & a goodie bag that had very little interest to me.
Sure, there were some really cute freebies in the goodie bag, but paying for a generic perfume, a lace body stocking that won’t ever be worn & a Snag Tights voucher that I AM STILL KICKING MYSELF FOR NOT SEEING IN THERE TIL AFTER I GOT HOME (touchy subject – I genuinely could’ve cried because I bloody adore Snag!) didn’t make it worth the price tag in my humble opinion.
The standard £15 ticket would’ve bought me the exact same happy experience but with fewer bugbears to endure & with an extra £30 in my pocket to spend on the day.
Overall, I loved the event even with the few – and easily avoidable with just a bit more organisation – clangers that occurred.
I arrived feeling like a million dollars, I left feeling like a million dollars, & those feelings far outweigh the mishaps.
I’m already waiting for the next one, which I thoroughly recommend to all plus size people at all stages of their self love journey; there’s the positive normalising for those just beginning to love themselves, there’s the infectious confidence for those in the midst of a love/hate identity crisis, there’s the sheer celebration for those who have reached destination body positivity.
See you all there next year… Just not with a VIP ticket.
Dani | Mrs Crater x