Musings from a feminist corset-maker

I’m a corset and bridal gown maker, gin fan-girl, and feel at my best when I’m wearing matching lacy lingerie. I’m also a feminist.

I think from a pre-teen I was aware that as women we have a tough deal. Perhaps it was my friend’s older sister telling us that when we were older we would rip open and bleed (yay periods!) and then startled little me asking why it doesn’t happen to boys; just to be told that these aren’t things boys have to deal with. They are women’s suffering.

Alongside the thoughts and feelings growing up that I was disadvantaged by being a woman, I was also very girly. I loved dolls, and I knew I wanted to one day be a mummy. I have also been wearing my signature red lipstick and nail varnish since the age of 16, and prefer having shaved legs and pits. Apart from maybe in winter, I mean the legs get cold in winter…

Even at the start of puberty I found I was being sexualised for having larger hips, and the beginnings of a full bust appearing. I can hold my hands up and say that I wasn’t dressing for anyone else other than me, and I would’ve described myself as ‘the weird girl’ at school. Nevertheless I was paranoid about my bigger body, and hated the catcalling that made me feel self-conscious on a daily basis.

Fast forward to college and I start to notice that in the very female dominated world of fashion that I was entering, the majority of big successful names are all male. Weird. Seamstresses tend to be women; the heads of companies tend to be men. The figure heads: Tom Ford, Dolce & Gabbana, Burberry. I thought I had a break through with Ellie Saab, but alas he was Elie Saab.  But so what, I would be a successful woman; I would be that competitive, ambitious figurehead.

Before I chat about present day, there is one freeze frame in time I want to chat about, something which has stuck with me. A friend’s mum was driving me home from her birthday party. It was a long drive so we had time to cover a multitude of topics. She started to ask if I ever wore ‘minimising bras’. Honestly, I hadn’t the foggiest what one was, but after her explanation and a little help from Google, I discovered something that I can quite safely say I would never wear.

To give you some context I am a UK size 16 with a 34HH bust. I style my hair and make-up based on a 1950s pinup, and wear clothes to accentuate my shape. There is nothing about me that is minimal. The friends mum then carried on her conversation to say that she was shocked I never wore them. She said how she felt far more comfortable, as a feminist, to not have her assets on display. That’s fine, that’s her choice.

I then decided, given the length of the car journey, that I would in fact put across my viewpoint. I said to her that I believe feminism to be all about choice. The fact that when I get up in the morning I can choose to put on a black lace plunge bra is a joy to me. The next day maybe I will choose to wear Harry Potter pyjamas. Both are fine, because both are my choice. To me, feminism is freedom. I count my blessings daily that I live in a country where I don’t feel oppressed into a lifestyle I don’t want to lead. I’m not forced to marry a man I can’t stand, and at an age where I don’t understand what sex is. I could almost see a light bulb go off in her head, she hadn’t considered that maybe the key to all of this is choice. I dress predominantly for me, and if I feel uncomfortable, I simply don’t wear it. That said, what I wear has no bearing on how I feel about tampons being taxed, catcalling, and sexual harassment in the workplace.

My company Rosie Red Corsetry & Couture focuses on bespoke wear for all body types. I predominantly design and create bridal wear, event wear and corsetry. These are all things which people may not see as complimentary of feminism. However, my whole aim is to make women feel bloody brilliant!

Corsetry does manipulate the body to give it a different shape; in the same way that wearing makeup alters the way we look. Body modifications have been around since the dawn of time, and I think doing something that makes you feel brilliant (if healthy) should be encouraged! I have recently started a hashtag over on my intstagram (@rosieredcorsetry) #RosieRednotjustadress. This is to show women that actually my garments are so much more than an item of clothing. Clothes do have the power to alter our moods, and on any of my bride’s big days I want them to feel so totally fabulous.

The models I use are important to me because I want to represent women as a whole. I want us to be a group that can stand together and if that is standing in 6”stilettos or 4 year old trainers, then who really cares.

The fact of the matter is that maybe I’m a very modern feminist; I’m not a traditional stereotype. I have many male figures in my life I adore, as well as many females. I do however think that choice is paramount to feminism, and that my choice to build up women, is not at the cost of putting down men.

It’s time we had more female role models. I am a feminist, and I don’t believe I’m any less of a feminist because of my penchant for pretty things.

 

 

Valentine's Day

This year marked my first Valentine’s Day with my other half. I had anticipated arranging some sort of ultra romantic evening. Thoughtful, yet private. Basically just really special.

I actually had tonsillitis instead.  My face and neck were swollen so fat that talking was difficult, eating solids near impossible, and at night I sounded like a tractor with snoring. I slept on the sofa so he could catch some Zzzs.

I did however get my own tin of a dozen cupcakes iced with ‘I love you’.  So, it wasn’t all grim.

The thing about Valentine’s Day I wanted to talk about, and romance in general is the idea that you have to love yourself before any else can love you. It’s a topic I’ve touched on before. It is also something I believe it to be total rubbish.

Maybe you feel like you have your life together, you don’t have any self doubt that creeps in, or maybe you’re a total mess that feels like a hopeless, drained pile of emotions. Either way, you deserve love.

Sometimes being appreciated, and loved, by another person is what we need to start to build us back up. Maybe it’s someone having the confidence in us as a person when we don’t have any confidence in ourselves.

Love isn’t only for the ready, the lucky, or the brave. If I can say one thing to you today it is this: you are deserving. Just the way you are. Right this second.

P.S. I somehow did manage to eat at least 2 cupcakes despite the sore throat… I call it willpower

 

 

5 reasons to not lose weight for your wedding

1.       You don’t want to!

2.       Your partner loves you for you, without change or compromise!

3.       Why add another huge time constraint like weight loss to your already huge to do    list?

4.       You are already comfortable in your own skin, just the way you are.

5.       Rosie Red creates bespoke gowns for all body shapes and types, so no need to fear about the dress!

The thing about babies...

This blog post has been spurred on by a few things. Firstly a really enlightening article by a good blogger friend, secondly a conversation with my wisest friend (who is a mother), and thirdly by an image shared on Facebook.

Babies. You can (for the most part) choose to have them, or not have them. It’s an individual’s choice. There has been so much said lately around the fact that having offspring is good/bad/selfish/the best thing ever that I think we have forgotten that unless they are our babies it has nothing to do with us.

I’ve always wanted children. I have grown up wanting a big family. I want a big business, but I don’t see that my desire for babies has to be mutually exclusive of this. The fact that anyone should feel pressure either way seems so bizarre to me.

Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that having a baby would put my body through a great ordeal (in fact as a type 1 diabetic far more than most), I know that it wouldn’t be a walk in the park and that my relationships, priorities and whole life would change. But, when the time is right (and it’s not quite yet) I welcome it.

As much as I understand life wouldn’t be like Gilmore Girls, I also don’t crave a Samantha SATC lifestyle either. But, to get back to my original point, this shouldn’t bother anyone else, this sint their decision.

So to those friends who are undecided, I appreciate your honesty, your gutsy way of being able to talk about your fears, and I will support you in any way you ask. To those who have their own children already, you’re doing a great job, and I love and appreciate any time I get to spend with you. And finally, for those of you who are adamant in your decision against having children, then I salute you too, we don’t all need to bring new life into the world, and it isn’t all you have to offer as an individual.  Your choice is valid. All choices are valid.

So please, particularly at Christmas, let’s just live and let live. No one has all the right answers, so let’s not criticise and condemn one another’s decisions.

Sometimes I find it hard enough deciding which bra to put on in the morning, let alone if a distant Facebook friend should or shouldn’t be having children…♥

#RosieRednotjustadress for #WorldMentalHealthDay

Today its world mental health day which I feel seems like a pretty perfect day to write this blog post. Mental health care is something I feel passionately about. Not only have I had friends and family suffer with poor mental health, but I’ve listened and read the stories of others.

To start with, let’s just clarify that everyone has mental health, which means everyone needs to take care of their mental health. This needs to be on balance with our physical health, and the two are often very intertwined. I know that when I drink enough water in a day and get a good nights sleep (body health) it has a knock on to my mental health. Whoever you are, and wherever you are, please take care of your mind and your body.

#Rosierednotjustadress is a new hashtag I have started. You may have seen this pop up a few times on Instagram and some of my other social media. I’m even running a competition using it (go and check it out!) I basically wanted to spread the word about why my brides, clients, and models are all so special to me. This is because #Rosierednotjustadress is at the core about ethical fashion. It’s about beauty in any and all of its forms. It’s not judgemental, but rather wants beauty for all.

For World Mental Health day today let’s speak out more, and share our own stories and experiences: you never know who they might help ♥

#rosierednotjustadress

You're beautiful (just an opinion)

You’re beautiful.

Hearing someone tell you that you’re beautiful can be something pretty difficult to hear. Maybe it’s difficult because you’re having a period of self doubt, or maybe no one has told you before. There are a zillion reasons as to why we may have had our confidence shattered.

The thing is, however 'conventionally' beautiful or not you think you are, when someone tells you this, don’t argue. They deserve to have their opinion listened to. If their opinion is that you are beautiful, then that’s that.

Imagine eating a slice of a really good cream cake. You remark to the baker how delicious it is. They have no right to disagree with you; you’re the one eating the cake. You get to have your opinion.

Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.

So whether it is a friend, family member, partner, or lover, just listen to them. ♥

 

P.S. As a big disclaimer:

I am not talking about trolls and perves on the internet. They have no right to comment on your beauty, and they definitely don’t deserve to have their opinions listened to.

Now that I'm nearly 25

When I was 5 I was constantly dressed up. I loved sequins, playing, mermaids, fairies, and unicorns. 25 wasn’t even a number I could comprehend. It was old.

When I was 8 I was still interested in all those things, and still dressed up. I loved my dolls and I couldn’t wait till they were real life babies. By the time I was 25 I would surely have a great big family.

When I was 12 I knew I was going to be a famous fashion designer. By the time I was 25 I would have an international business, with celebrities flocking to my feet. I would have my London town house, husband, and collection of vintage cars. I had loads of time till I was 25.

When I was 15 I had found the boy I was going to marry. No one could’ve been more in love than us. I couldn’t wait to be proposed to on my 18th birthday (probably in Paris). I wasn’t so sure what I wanted with life any more. Should I study the sciences and get a job that helped people? I had an on-going war with my body. But I would be thin by the time I was 25 right? Thin, married, and with our family of 4. I couldn’t wait for 25.

When I was 18 I realised that boys break your heart. That time is the only thing that can really do any healing, and that I was never going to fit in. High school had been difficult, I was a round peg in a square hole, and after a year of 6th form I had dropped out. I still wasn’t any closer to being thin, and I wasn’t going to be proposed to up the Eiffel tower. I realised that I had a talent, and that I wanted to be a fashion student. There was still time to get my life sorted by 25, right?

When I was 21 I realised that I had more friends than most. I realised yet again that boys break your heart. I realised this more than once. I also found that although I was always sewing, I could do it much better than most. I realised that I was disciplined and that I had found what I wanted to do, not only this, it could help people. I figured that getting a first class degree and heaps of experience would land me a job in a Hollywood blockbuster in no time. I still wanted the house, the family, and the vintage cars. But I was having a string of failed dates, and driving tests. 25 was creeping up, everything seemed pushed for time.

Now I’m only a few days away from 25 and I realise that at every stage of our lives we think we know everything, in fact, we know only the tiniest snapshot.  But it’s so important for us not to patronise those younger than us, and so important not to crush their dreams. The feelings you have for your first love are probably some of the most intense you will ever have, and the feeling that anything is possible should be nurtured and not shot down.  Just before turning 25 I realise that those heartbreaks I had, were actually sign posts for stopping me getting in too deep with the wrong person. I realise that I like drinking, dancing, and building on my own dreams far too much to be able to support a little version of myself just yet. I passed my driving test, and I have set up a company single handedly. I still have more close friendships and relationships than most people I know, a pretty good sign that I’m turning out to be the person I hoped. I realise I am still not thin, but that as a teenager I was obsessed with how large my very slim body was. My whole perception was warped. I realise that body love is something I feel so passionately about, and that this is something I can actively help others with.

I feel as though you hit a certain point in your life where people are no longer on the same page. Some are married, some do have families, mortgages (and maybe vintage cars), but the most detrimental thing we can do is compare ourselves to others. With the internet and Facebook, we see what others are doing, and forget what we have done ourselves. Having goals in life is crucial, but setting markers on an unrealistic time scale is ridiculous. Just do you.

So happy 25th birthday to me, the girl who still loves sequins, mermaids and unicorns; but is currently a bit busy building up her own company ♥

It's getting hot in here (so hot) let's take off all your clothes

Hello, it’s hot!

Its getting hot in here (so hot) so take of all your clothes. I am getting so hot; I wanna take my clothes off.

Isn’t it though? I mean I’m not one to complain, but it is sweltering. I am also not one to often take to twitter, but I recently tweeted a thing that has had more likes and retweets of anything I have ever posted on there. Maybe that’s because it resonated with so many people.

The tweet read: Warning: it’s hot out. Expect people of all body shapes and types to be wearing whatever they want to keep cool. You don’t need to stare ♥”

It says what’s on the tin really. It is hot, and when it’s hot people wear less. Your body is still not any more of anyone’s business in the heat of summer, as it was when you were covered up in layers of knitwear during winter. Having a body means dressing it how you please.

I have many very slim and thin female friends who still won’t show their arms. And I understand that people have hang-ups, but don’t most of us have hang ups because of the way we have been treated in the past. Hating a part of your body is ‘nurture’ rather than ‘nature’. Nature says ‘crikey it’s bloody boiling, get those arms out’, nurture says ‘you remember that time someone made a joke about bingo wings, best keep them hidden.’ I find it sad, but that’s a whole other kettle of fish. When I feel in self doubt about an area of my body I try and praise it. My thighs have always met; I have never had a thigh gap. From a size 10 to a size 16, they have always met. Instead of focusing on the way they rub together or the cellulite they feature, I praise them for how many miles they have carried me. I run, I swim, I walk. They have never failed me, and because one day they might, I am sure as hell not going to take them for granted now, or view them as purely aesthetic things.

Rushing around for the tube the other day, I realised that I was sweating. I could feel actual beads of sweat pooling underneath my bra wire. The woman walking in front of me, far larger than I am was obviously finding it difficult to manage. She was clothed head to toe in long sleeves and long trousers, and I just wanted to say to her that I hoped she had woken up and dressed for her this morning and not someone else. If she had had her legs and arms on show this wouldn’t have offended me, does her being fat take away that right? Is comfort and coolness only saved for the thin? I certainly don’t think it should be.

We don’t owe anyone anything. Dress for yourself, your body, and your comfort. There will always be someone who has a problem with how you are looking. Too much cleavage on show and you’re suddenly a ‘slag’, short shorts with skinny legs and you ‘need a burger’, overweight and in a crop top ‘ahhhh you’re hurting my eyes.’ So let’s just not shall we.

Summer is made for chilling out, being with friends, and letting us enjoy the weather. Don’t let some judgemental stranger make you feel in any way inadequate, or ruin this for you.

I’m off now, time to get the bikini on! ♥

Enjoying that summer sun! ♥

Enjoying that summer sun! ♥

Brighton photographs revealed (and the importance of female friendships)

Today is the day our images from Brighton go live. The images show a collaboration between some really fantastic people in the industry, and something that I was very proud to be a part of. I would love your feedback!

This leads me nicely onto what I want this blog post to be about. Yes it is primarily the unveiling of these new images, but I want to talk about the importance of female friendships. This is in no way discrediting male friendships, a great deal of my friends do happen to be male. I’m lucky in the way that I have an awesome group of friends that are far more like family to me. But there is something different and special about female friendships.

I met Georgina (Ruby Wedding Design) a little over a year ago and knew that we would click. Georgina is someone I can put the worlds to rights with, over a cocktail or two. Amy, the model on the shoot happens to be my best friend. I met her at college and our friendship has outlasted any relationship either of us has had. She has seen every side to me that is possible.

Female friendships are so valid and necessary because sometimes we need someone to relate, and be straight talking with us, someone who can speak from experience. That feeling you get at the end of the day when you whip your bra off, the fear of a late period, and the disappointment when you don’t get that text back. We need that encouragement when we are told that being a competitive woman is unattractive and bossy. We live in a world where being a strong and powerful woman is still not all that encouraged; having female friends reminds us that in order to succeed we need to build each other up. We need to be each others support team.

I don’t often just work with an all-female team, in fact our hair stylist for the day was one of the best I have worked with. Being so alert and helpful on the shoot, he was a true gent. I would absolutely love to work with him again. (You can have a browse through his work here.) Our photographer Stevie-Ella was fantastic, working with her again in the future would be a joy. Each shot was so considered. And, if you need a flower crown like the one shown in the shoot (because why not?!) then Hunter Florist in Brighton are the ones to check out.

So this isn’t an anti-male rant, it’s just a little reminder to show some love for your ladies. And your men. Heck, show some love for everyone! And, enjoy the new pictures while you're at it, showcasing pieces from my ever-developing ‘Wanderlust Collection’ ♥

The time my understanding of body love changed

The most amazing thing has happened tonight. Tonight has been a turning point for my body. As a UK size 16 (considered plus), with a multitude of wobbles that I have been concerned over for years, tonight each body part had an epiphany.

5 weeks ago I began running. I have been using the couch to 5k app on my phone and going with a neighbour or solo with the company of Alanis Morissette and Avril Lavine. Today I have completed a run of 20 minutes solid, travelling a distance of 4k (including warm up walk) without breaking to stop or slowing. To clarify, my pace is about the speed of a grandma snail, but I am pacing and I am moving forward.

When I run my body is purely a tool. It’s a machine and an instrument. My mind is so full of the ache in my legs and the feeling of the tarmac under my feet that I cant, and don’t think about the way my floral leggings are stretched over a mass of wobbling bottom or the way my face looks as my hair is blown about in the wind. When I am running my body is strong. I am proud of it as I will it along to keep moving and pushing on.

So very often, and from such a young age we are taught that our body is all about appearances and that self worth is defined by this. So often now with body positive movements we are told to accept our bodies just as they are. Which, we should. But, we can’t just throw the idea out the window that we can do something to make them feel flippin’ fabulous.

Not only have I started running, for the 9 weeks of the programme I have decided not to my weigh myself. The scales have been put firmly away. I made the conscious decision that this journey was going to be about the strength and endurance of my body. I don't need to see if I gain a couple of pounds one week, because I don't need anything to put me off. A massive other benefit has been that from running, my mental health and happiness has never been better, and I can feel my fitness improve further and further, my recovery time getting quicker and quicker.

So to conclude, my point of this blog post is to say to you that your body is a totally wonderful tool. Paint it with makeup and adorn it in sequins to feel good, but don’t forget that it is a powerful and strong machine first and foremost. If I can run, I promise you that you can too. Surely it’s worth giving a go? And, if you hate it, there are a zillion other things you can try.

Body love is a powerful thing, but body love also means loving your body in all of the ways. For me, so far the best way I have found to give my body love is to take it for a run ❤


If you want to do 'the modelling thing'

This blog post has come about because of several things. Firstly the main catalyst has been my dear lovely friend George (FFFB) blogging all about how she became a model. I want to create a concise list of tips and pointers for you if you want to become a model for me. Some of them will also be relevant for other designers too. There are some very important points to consider. Firstly, Taking a great selfie does not make you model material. Being a model is all about endurance, ability to pose and how photogenic you are. You might be the most gorgeous lady or guy in the world, but you could still be terrible at modelling. The days are really long on shoots. Sometimes cold, sometimes too hot and sometimes wearing garments you don’t like. And, before I start my list of tips and tricks I do want to say that the amounts of shoots I have a year (which are my own) are very limited.

 I adore how many of you say you would love to wear my pieces which are why I offer a rental service. All of my garments are available to hire, and depending on where you are based, I can even attend the shoot to help dress you. You can get in touch here to chat to me about it further.

So here are my tips for becoming a model:

  • Work on your endurance and stamina. I use a wide range of models with different body types, but the main theme is that they all have stamina. Can you be on your feet for a 9 hour day?
  •  PMA! Positive mental attitude on a shoot is one of the most important things. In fact I can’t stress this enough. Working intensely with a group of people means that everyone needs to function as a group. The day feels extra long if someone is bringing down the mood.
  • Modelling is primarily about how you look. Despite the fact I try to use models whose views sit closely with mine (if you’re not body positive or into self love we are going to have a difficult time) it really does come down to how you look and if I feel your images sits comfortably with the brand.
  • This leads us onto the fact that you really have to look like yourself and embrace this! Don’t try to look like another model I have used already. I had someone the other day say she looked like George. Well, that’s great, but I don’t need 2 Georges. Nor does anyone… ;)
  •  Do get in touch, but get in touch with all of your statistics! Make sure you include your location, your current measurements and a portfolio of images. Also, let me know if you can drive. Shoot locations are often all over and way out in the countryside, so driving is a useful skill to have!
  • When you send through images, please make sure that there is a selection of photographs. Ideally images wearing tight fitting clothing and with minimal makeup. This just gives a good idea of you as a blank canvas.
  •  Leading on from that point, boudoir images are fabulous and stunning, but please don’t only have these in your portfolio. Although my images often get retouched and I am not opposed to Photoshop when it is used creatively, just including boudoir images doesn’t show the complete picture.

I always post model castings on my social media platforms if I am looking for fresh faces. I do also keep a file of ladies and gents who have been in touch if they get in touch with all of the information I have listed above.

But remember, if for whatever reason modelling is not for you, it does not mean that you are not beautiful just as you are. Because you are ♥

The things I collect

This isn’t going to be about my vintage brooch collection (which I do have) or my stamp collection (which I don’t have. Or do I…) its going to be about people.

I have seen so many ‘inspirational’ posts and memes about ‘collect experiences not things’ etc. And that is great. In fact that is honestly where I am coming from a lot of the time. That is part of the reason I went into business alone. I have had some ridiculously exciting experiences, which money just couldn’t buy, the whole dream following thing is really important to me. I also want to travel, it’s on my list. So from a personal point of view my want to go to Iceland, road trip America and visit Hobbiton does outweigh my want for shoes, handbags and manicures.

But, if you want ‘things’ this does not make you a bad person. My mum is one of the (if not the greatest) human going and she doesn’t particularly want to travel. After a childhood of having very little, she now wants to have nice things around her. That is fine too. One person’s choice is not superior or greater than the other, and we have no place to judge. However I think we have all forgotten a whole other category: people.

I collect people. I want to look back on my life (hopefully as an old lady) and look at all the people that enriched my life, and whose lives I tried to enrich. I adore meeting new people, and making friends. Maybe at the moment the purse strings won’t allow that road trip around America, but I do have friends all over which I travel between. There’s my wisest cocktail-making, arcade-game playing southern coastal friend. When I need to escape and have my internal compass realigned and some down to earth life advice, I head there. There are all of my wonderful girls I studied with at university, and despite graduating a few years ago now, we all make a constant effort to keep in touch and visit one another. Our friendship is so valuable to each other. I have just got back from the loveliest short break with George of FullerFigure FullerBust who although started out as a model for me, is now one of my dearest friends. She is the big sister I never had, and always gives me perspective. She makes me laugh constantly. I have best friends at home too, and a brilliant escape up north with family that really do have an interest in what I am doing.

This is not meant to be a boastful post, but just one to make you think. Yes collect things, but make sure you have someone to share them with, and yes collect experiences, but you don’t have to be alone in enjoying them.

Best of all collect people, be a friend. Be the kindest most authentic version of you and you will be irresistible, just as you are ♥

I got some rat time in with George's kids!

I got some rat time in with George's kids!

If you're not thin, you're not healthy

Happy New Year lovely readers! I apologise for the dramatic blog title, I just like to reel you in!

First may I say that I am always genuinely shocked to find that people actually read my ramblings on here, so thank you! I hope to keep you on board for 2016. And hey, if there’s a topic you fancy hearing my opinion on, why not leave a comment and I will see what I can do!

This blog post is all about health, a touchy subject for some. My inspiration came from listening to a friend speak about her experiences in the gym. She works as a gym instructor so gets to hear all kinds of chat. There is one guy in particular was chatting to her the other day about what his ‘type’ of woman was. A main point was that he said she has to ‘y’know look like she takes care of her body’. This translates to, she has to be thin. She knew this would throw me into a rage, and it did. This guy was saying that if you’re not thin, then you’re not healthy.

Let’s get this started by saying that thin does not equal healthy. Let me also put it out there that I know that being obese is also not the healthiest option for your body either, it's more strain than we were built to have. BUT, YOU CANNOT TELL HOW HEALTHY SOMEONE IS BY LOOKING AT THEM.

Mental health is a big issue to me; I hold it really close to my heart. We should be actively working on our mental health in the same way that we should be actively working on our physical health. Being healthy means trying to get 7-8 hours sleep a night. It means ordering a dominoes pizza when you’re hungover and not feeling like the world is going to end because heaven forbid you ate fast food, and goodness gracious did you really drink all that gin?! Healthy means that you practise meditation alongside power walks. It means that you feel as though your body right now, deserves to wear nice things and to be attractive (whatever this means to you). Drink more water, get off the bus a stop earlier, accept a compliment, and sing in the shower. These are things that go towards your general health. Health is an overall picture of how we live, and this is why we cannot just judge it by appearances.

This year let's not confuse being healthy with a number on the scales, this makes up such a small portion of what being healthy means. If you’re setting a new years resolution to drop a dress size, maybe change that to trying to grab a healthy breakfast before work, drink 8 glasses of water a day and accept a compliment when someone pays you one.

Oh, and one more resolution, let’s not date boys (or girls) who think healthy is only skin deep. ❤

The time someone complimented my body and I felt truly shocked

This weekend someone told me they loved my figure. Not liked it or thought it was nice, but loved. It was by a woman, which I personally think makes all of the difference. And it was by a woman who didn’t have to say anything at all (read: she wouldn’t have said it had she not meant it.) This compliment really struck a chord with me. Someone had complimented me on something which very rarely gets spoken about.

It made me realise that I spend my life apologising for the way my body is. Having piled on the weight at university I feel that I now spend my days trying to compensate in other ways for not having a generically attractive figure, for a western body. Particularly a body that women would compliment on. The problem isn't the shape. I particularly like the fact that measurment wise I am nearly a perfect hourglass and have been compared to Jessica Rabbit on a number of occasions. That is fab, the weight stuck to this figure is the bit I seem to apologise for.

I choose to dress flatteringly because I have a certain style and taste. I don’t want people to think that I hate the way I look, because I quite simply don’t. My friends call me beautiful, I know I’m attractive to some people, albeit in not a traditional girl next door way, but I am cool with that. I would rather be ‘somebody’s shot of whiskey that everyone’s cup of tea’. Or at least that’s how I think the saying goes. But despite having a ‘cool style’, ‘nice hair’ or ‘big eyes’, no one comments on my body. I think for that reason I have grown apologetic to others about it. Oh yeah, I’ll lose that 10lbs by Christmas, oh god I know I have a bit of a tummy, oh look how fat my chin is when I yawn etc. I spend so much of my time subconsciously apologising while claiming to be full of self love, that this horrible thought occurred to me: maybe I'm a body love fraud.

The thing is that I know I’m a well rounded person (no pun intended) but this heartfelt compliment from a stranger really uncovered some truths that I must have been holding on to. A friend and associate told me he thought all my friends were really pretty earlier this year, with no mention of me. That seems like nothing right? But apparently that had hurt me more than I had realised. Another friend links weightloss to desirability and I hadn’t twigged how messed up this was until now. There have just been a string of occasions filling me with a bubbling of self doubt. I am a self love advocate, and for the most of times I like to think I keep these doubts under control. But I want to let you know that even the most body confident ahve these doubts at times too.

So I do want this blog post to have a direction, and the direction is this: own what you’ve got! Own it right now. What you have right now is good enough, and whether you are on some kind of transformative journey or not: just own it. Be healthy, be happy and don’t compromise because other people don’t see your awesomeness. The way others make you feel says far more about them than it does about you.

You are awesome. You, right now as you are: are awesome.

Well done ♥

Christmas party times with friends ♥

Getting fat

At university I gained weight. A lot of weight. I have only just started to lose it, and I graduated over two years ago. Despite not ever describing myself as fat (I ‘have fat’ but choose to not call myself ‘fat’) the weight gain was substantial, enough to move me from a slim size 12 to a plus size 16. At the average size for a UK female, it stil seemed like a different body to me.

But here is the thing: I regret none of it. It is worth adding as a disclosure that I am closely monitored under hospital guidelines for a separate medical condition, and that had I at any point been told to lose weight, I would’ve done it in a second. My health comes first. In my opinion your health always trumps vanity. The thing is I didn’t just gain weight, I gained so much more. If giving up the times I had at university, the eating Milk Tray in the bath or drinking several bottles of wine on most nights of the week meant being able to stay slimmer there is no way that I would change my behaviour. I regret nothing. I just thought wine was calorie free…

There has been some controversy lately about whether ‘standard size’ designers are capable and equipped to design clothes for plus size women. The arguments seemed to come back that of course they are, why wouldn’t they be? But I want to throw a spanner in the works. I think that having a plus size body, whether this is how I am for the next 5 months or the next 5 years, has equipped me better as a designer to design for women in a similar boat, or with a similar body shape.

I understand the cut of a neckline for a woman with a 34H cup, because guess what? I’ve been there. I know that there are anxieties involved with talking openly about your size, or having measurements taken. I know that a drop waist on a lady who carries most of their weight in a pear or apple shape isn’t going to flatter them or make them feel at their best, and I understand that getting undressed in front of a stranger isn’t just as simple as ‘whip ya clothes off love’.

Being plus size is part of my journey, I have learnt more about the capabilities of my body and mind that I ever thought were possible. I truly believe that it has enriched me as a designer, and that it has given me the upper hand when it comes to designing for bigger bodies. I think it has given me compassion and patience, and that this has truly enriched my character. I also went wakeboarding last weekend.

Weddings are so magical. Getting married is saying, ‘I choose you. Not as you were or how you might be, but right now you are who I want for my always’. I fully support anyone wanting to lose weight before their wedding, maybe it is the push you need to do something you have wanted to do for a very long time. But, I also support those who are genuinely happy with themselves (trust me, it's a thing) and want to stay exactly as they are.

This is your body, this is your journey. Own it ❤

Wakeboarding lookin' glam ❤

Wakeboarding lookin' glam ❤

Felling more gam at Evie Wolfe Modelling's wedding with Narrowed Visions just the week before ❤

Felling more gam at Evie Wolfe Modelling's wedding with Narrowed Visions just the week before ❤

The thing about depression

I want to talk to you about depression. I know it doesn’t have a massive amount to do with dresses or corsets. It just felt like the right time to write about it.

Whether you’re a character that posts status updates about the antidepressants they are taking, or a person who suffers in total silence, just because one is voiced and the other is not does not make one case more superior than the other. We all have different ways of communicating thoughts, and feelings, and if we are one of the quiet few, we still need just as much help.

Most of my friends are on (or have at some point been) antidepressants, having CBT, counselling or would say that they have days where they find it hard to get out of bed. In fact scrap that, this applies to most people.

Depression needs to be talked about. Depression should not be a dirty word, and individuals should not feel like they are alone in this. They quite simply are not.

Kindness: that’s what I really want this blog to be about. I want it to be about trying to have the awareness and sensitivity that it may not just be you that is having a bad day, or a bad week or a bad year.  Ask your friend, family member, heck even the person sat on the bus next to you ‘how are you?’ I have started to learn that the mark of being a kind person is how frequently and often we ask this, not just to others but also to ourselves. We are all allowed bad days. We are all allowed short periods of selfishness. We must try to look after ourselves if we are trying to support others.

Depression is part of the human condition. In a world where we are all busier and more demanding than we have ever been before, a simple smile to a stranger or a ‘how are you?’ could make all the difference.

You can’t be everything to everyone all of the time, but I fundamentally believe that you can show kindness allthe time.

You, whoever you are reading this, you are doing a great job. And if you’re struggling, you are not alone.

If you are reading this you have survived 100% of your worst days, and that in itself deserves a round of applause.

Well done ♥

It's okay to ask for help

There is a fine line between ‘you’ll never know if you don’t ask’ and just being plain rude and intrusive. Sometimes it’s hard to see the frayed edges. But, asking for help is something that I often struggle with. I am sure that I’m not alone in this.

I know that this is not just a feeling I have because the more I talk to people, the more I realise that everyone is having a hard time trying to ‘adult’. No one ever warned us that this was the reality of growing up. Overwhelming worries hit the best of us, and as important as it is to ask for help, it is also important to accept that some days won’t be good days and that the bad days are just another part of life. The key is to not wallow, to accept the bad day and to say you know what, tomorrow I will move forward. (I always listen to this poem on a bad day).

Yesterday I had to ask for help. It was a task I just couldn’t get my head around, and now when I look back at it retrospectively I realise that it was a task maybe I shouldn’t have tried taking on by myself anyway. I was asked if I wanted help, and I said yes.

Whether you need one of your children to help hang the washing out for you, someone to do the graphics for your small business, or just a friend to make you a cup of coffee; asking for help does not change your superhero status. If anything noticing that you cant take on the world alone makes you more of a superhero. After all, Batman always had Robin. ♥

"Can I have this meat for free?"

Stop it; get your head out of the gutter.

Today a series of memes sprung to the top of my Facebook newsfeed. These memes were titled ‘If people talked to other professionals the way they talk to artists…” It showed a customer speaking to a cashier in a supermarket the way a lot of people speak to us as artists.

So I want to outline some myths that hit people working self-employed as artists and creatives are tarnished with…

1.       We do it for fun

Firstly, this is my full time job. I love it and I am still amazed that this is what I am able to do every day, but I work very long hours. This is not a hobby, or something I do for fun (although it has its fun moments). It is a job. As real a job as working as an accountant or a nurse or as the meme shows: in a supermarket.

2.       We can give you exposure that you need

Sometimes yes. I have had amazing opportunities which have gotten me brilliant exposure. For example this includes being featured in high gloss print magazines and dressing celebrities. If you send me a Facebook message at 4am on a Thursday morning telling me you run a Steampunk and Cosplay site, and that if you can have some of my pieces to wear (FREE OF CHARGE) it will get me great exposure in an online fan-blog I will not be impressed. Your exposure is not what I need. You need me. Its like that awful thing when you come to the end of a failed relationship. But its not me, its you. Because of this I offer a paid rental service of all of my garments, because I really do want you to succeed as well. Just not at my cost.

3.       Have you thought about…

Probably yes. I could get key rings made, tote bags printed and duvet sets to match, but there is probably a reason I haven’t. I do love your comments and advice, and sometimes it is exactly what I need, but please keep in mind that when I’m on a night out sipping my third mojito, the last thing I want to talk about is brand merchandise. Just let me dance.

 

4.       If you lowered your prices I could buy more pieces

And I could not make a profit, pay any bills or keep my car on the road.

 

5.       I could make that for a quarter of the price

Well go on and try. I would love to see your results.

 

Now earlier this week I made a pact to myself to not have any of my sarcasm on the internet. I’m sorry (not sorry) that this has broken the pact. I love all of my customers and admirers, absolutely totally and truly. But I feel that writing this post had to be done on behalf of my fellow artists.

You can see examples of images that have been created through loaning my garments here...

And for a good old chuckle, here is the link to the memes that inspired this post ♥

Your weight doesn't define you, does it? ❤

I can’t believe I have now finished and shot my Language of Flowers bridal collection, two days before my 24th birthday. The run up to these things are just so intense. I took on slightly more than was comfortable to chew. This meant lack of free time and temporarily giving up ‘human things’.

I always gain weight when I create a collection. This time hasn’t been any different. The smooth slick 5lbs I have put on in the run up to this shoot are totally insignificant to the other things I have gained. I am aware I have a skill, a skill I need to keep nurturing and pushing to its limits, but a skill nonetheless. I am also blessed with a lovely home, family who care greatly for me and the best friends and social circle I believe any one could ask for. My weight does not define me or make me who I am; these factors do.

If I could tell thin 14 year old me, who used to count her ribs in the mirror, one piece of advice it would be this: ‘you will get fatter and you will get happier’. And she would’ve laughed in my face. Weight is such a big deal when you’re growing up, and to be 5ft 7 with wider hips than the other girls at age 14 seemed like my ultimate battle. But size 10 jeans seem like a long way away now, in a totally different life.

The point I am about to make may be a tad controversial. It’s my opinion, not meant to offend. The scales don’t define your worth, this is absolutely true. They don’t tell your story and the number really is just a number; but maybe they indicate how you feel about yourself. Maybe this extra 5lbs says to me (in a macho voice) ‘look dude, I may be 5lbs but I represent the way you went for days of barely leaving the house because you were weighed under your workload. I am the 8500 steps you didn’t take each day for a month, and the missed swimming sessions you never made because you pushed yourself too hard to get things done that you forgot about me. I am the yoga class you so badly wanted to take up but didn’t prioritise the time for. I am the 1am toast you ate to try and perk yourself up so you could keep going while the rest of the world sleeps. I am the jar of peanut butter you started to eat with a spoon at 2.30am because you were sure you could do just one more hour.’

I know that I am not huge, in fact I am ‘average’ size (whatever that means) for a UK woman, and I am in a weird place where I do actually love so many things about my life, and I genuinely don’t hate my body. How many women (and men) can say that? So no, your weight doesn’t define you, but maybe it lets you know how you’re feeling about yourself, and if you’re being kind enough to yourself and treating it properly.

Size 10 me hated her body. She made poor choices because of that hate, and never believed she would feel comfortable in her own skin.

 Size 16 me has spoken publicly in front of big audiences, dressed celebrities, been featured in magazines, walked runways, shown at fashion weeks, travelled abroad for work and play, been a mentor, a friend, a woman-of-many-poor-dates, taken risks, graduated, set up a fashion label and still believes in the impossible. But she also pushes herself too hard sometimes.

The scales tell me to love myself and to treat my body better. They don’t define me: they remind me.

All of the behind the scenes polaroid pictures from the shoot, find all of the team over on Instagram @rosieredcorsetry ❤

All of the behind the scenes polaroid pictures from the shoot, find all of the team over on Instagram @rosieredcorsetry ❤

Legs to shave

Life right now is busy. So busy that on my to do list is ‘shave legs’. Also wash hair is on there. This is the glamour of fashion, and it’s not a complaint. Its just my current reality.

But this time last year mad things were happening. I was working myself silly to create my first ever collection‘Wild Roses’ which has done better than I ever could have imagined I often wish I had sent round a little ‘guest book’ type thing for all of their wearers to sign and date. I like to think of all the places they’ve been, and bodies they’ve hugged. They really have each had their own stories- if only they could speak!

This time last year I was sat on the biggest secret of my life: I had dressed Helena Bonham Carter and I had my confirmation that I would be featured in the September Issue of Vanity Fair. But my lips had to stay sealed. People were puzzled as to why I was getting a ‘collection’ together, had given up my full time contract working for Cancer Research (a stable sensible job) and cancelled my trip to America. From an outsiders point of view I was now an unemployed 22 year old making pretty dresses without a purpose. There were those that believed in me enough to realise I had a plan in place, but there were far more that gossiped and speculated.

This time last year I wrote a blog post all about the secret I was sat on, and people speculated further, knowing that something was about to be revealed. Now, coming up for a year on I have to remember not to be too hard on myself. I remind myself that these garments I am making are clothes, but that the way they can make someone feel can be really transformative. This has to have been the hardest journey I could’ve picked, but I’m excited to be sat on even more secrets.

Without being too sentimental or self indulgent, thank you so much for all of your support, for the encouragement and for the (slight) bits of negativity I have received: I wouldn’t be where I am without you. I'm always chuffed to know that even one person has read a blog post!

Now I must go, these legs wont shave themselves

The image (which was a full page!) used in Vanity Fair's September Issue. Shot by Mario Testino ❤

The image (which was a full page!) used in Vanity Fair's September Issue. Shot by Mario Testino