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Exclusive – Chatting to ‘Miss Fat Kid’ Monica Hudson

Miss Fat Kid, also known as Monica Hudson, has been a one woman-team running her own jewellery business, Moonshine Spectrum, for the last couple of years. Telling me about her new endeavour, The Fat Kid, we discuss the body positivity movement, medical discrimination, and The Devil Wears Prada.

Monica did not stumble across body positivity, she explains. “I got sucked into it.”

Recovering from an eating disorder, she came across Megan Jayne Crabbe, a body positive activist who inspired her to join the community tackling fatphobia.

Along with Crabbe, Monica raved about the Anti-Diet Riot Club, an organisation that provides information, inspiration, and solidarity to those wanting to fight diet culture. They schedule networking and social events, providing information to counter the standard data usually given from scientists and dieticians.

The night before our meeting, Monica attended one of these events to discuss wellness culture and wellbeing, gushing about the importance of this community to provide a safe space.

“Community is the only way you can escape from diet culture”, she said, talking about the overwhelming and negative portrayal of fat people, and the obsession with dieting and thinness in the media.

“You can’t do it alone.”

It was this community that drove her to start The Fat Kid, a venture that combines sustainability and body positivity with thrifted outfits from charity shops being sold from size 14 up. Items that aren’t selling are then re-donated to charity shops, continuing the cycle of giving.

“There are no fun websites for plus-size people.” Monica continues, “you can’t be fashionable and plus-sized in popular culture”.

Plus-size clothes focus on ‘flattering’ and ‘hiding’ your arms, tummy, legs. Plus-size people should be able to express themselves through their clothes and celebrate their bodies as much as anyone else.

Growing up as a fat kid interested in fashion, there were no plus-size fashion models to follow or look up to.

Even now, Pinterest inspiration pages and high fashion are dominated by size 8s and below, all perpetuating the idea that skinny = fashion. On TV, Sex and the City and The Devil Wears Prada presents high fashion and glamour as dominated by straight, thin, white women.

The Fat Kid sells hand-curated and styled outfits modelled by a range of plus-size models to help shoppers find clothes confidently, without worrying about how it will look on their bodies.

An important part of this process is removing the potentially triggering aspect of thrift-shopping where people have to sift through sizes.

A difficult part of shopping as someone recovering from an eating disorder, Monica told me, is having to sort through size 8s, 10s and 12s, to find clothes that fit – The Fat Kid aims to remove this obstacle, whilst finding “my plus-size baddies some fun fits.”

Another accessibility barrier to the sustainable fashion movement is price. Whilst more and more sustainably and ethically produced clothes appear on the market, their prices are not realistic for the everyday consumer.

Sustainable fashion is a class issue- without affordable clothing options available, people like Monica who are not yet financially secure are pushed towards fast fashions sites such as Primark and Shein, whilst being shamed by those with the resources to avoid these companies.

Changes to the fashion industry are happening but to Monica, and many other observers, they are superficial at best. Whether it’s greenwashing by Shein, or plus-size and disabled models only used for diversity campaigns, the change feels manipulative, and a tactic for further capitalisation of consumers who expect more.

Still, Monica has hope for a better future – the Fat Revolution, as she puts it on her website.

What is the Fat Revolution? I asked her, what would the world look like?

“Essentially, it is bringing down diet culture… It’s about educating people, it’s about feeling anger and then healing, and then it’s about not giving a fuck.”

Allowing people to dress how they want, eat what they want, express their gender how they want without pseudo-science and outdated medicine being thrown around, such as BMI (which she describes as “utter bullshit.”)

Change needs to be institutional – there needs to be more education in diet culture, eating disorders and medical fatphobia – as well as cultural. We need more plus-size, trans, gay and disabled people represented in the media, more people of colour not merely as side characters but as protagonists.

“I want a rom com where the protagonist is a size 24.”

We moved onto to the body positivity movement, where Monica explained the difference between body positivity and body neutrality.

“To me, body positivity is external whereas body neutrality is internal.” It’s much easier to express positivity outwards, complimenting your friends and supporting others but it’s much harder to apply this kindness to ourselves.

Body neutrality allows people to acknowledge themselves – this is how my body is, and that’s okay, even the parts of it that I might want to change. It’s about allowing yourself and your body to merely exist, and appreciate your body for what it does for you, beyond its aesthetic.

Monica joked about feeling about her body the way she would feel about a pet – undeniable love, and little expectations – “if your cat did nothing but sleep all day, you would still love it, right?”

Although the Fat Kid is only just beginning, Monica sees big things in its future.

She wants to expand outwards with a team, to challenge the domination of fashion sites that only cater for “straight-sized people” whilst still focusing just on plus-sizes, and she wants people to stop complaining about the name of her company- fat is not a bad or dirty word, fat is an adjective.

 

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