Discussing plus-size fashion with designers isn’t always easy. Discussing plus-size fashion with Beth Ditto is nothing but fun. The American singer/model/fashionista/fashion designer recently launched a second collection under her name and it’s all about her personal style and personality made into fun and approachable clothes.

“Designing for plus-size people hasn’t been easy. Even though those are my people and I understand what we go through, it’s still very hard to make everybody happy. There’s a lot of boxes to tick and you can’t necessarily tick them all,” Beth tells us. The 12-piece collection represents the plus-size community in a way that isn’t really obvious - there’s a range of shapes with both darker solid pieces as well as bright prints. The story she’s telling with fashion is worth hearing, just as is her music. Her fashion CV includes working with Juergen Teller and walking in big fashion shows, but she doesn’t differentiate it from her career as a designer. “Between working with Marc Jacobs and Jean Paul Gaultier and making my own fashion, it all feels the same, like a continuation of a personal story.”

When asked about divas from the past or future who would look great in her latest designs, she had some specific personalities in mind. From Mama Cass to Rebel Wilson, here they are as reimagined by Beth Ditto.

Big Momma Thornton wears the Ball and Chain Dress.

“The difference between making music and making clothes is that I get paid to do music, and I pay to make clothes. The difficult part is that we’re trying to do as much as we can with what money we have while trying to do it as quickly and good as possible with a team of maybe four people. But that’s usually how the best things happen for me. ” 

Divine wears the Lola Twin, Pop Pencils dress

“Every movement has a fashion attached to it. If you look at the Black Panthers, 1970s feminism, punk-rock or even conservatives. There’s a look that goes with every single movement and it’s really really cool. And if I didn’t find punk and that aesthetic, my life would be so much different. It says everything about the way that you are when people first see you.”

Mama Cass Elliot wears the Deep Cuts top.

“When Mama Cass was around, she wore so many moomoos and it was so powerful because it made her look bigger. That was her look. It would be amazing for her to have things made for her in a way that didn’t exist back then.“ 

Aretha Franklin wears the Cocoon coat.

“I do use the word plus-size because I like it. I understand how people have issues with it because it makes it seem like it’s a continuation of what’s normal and acceptable, like an add-on or an after thought. But at the same time, if we don’t have that we won’t have anything. So, for the sake of the plus-size movement, owning it is really important.” 

Rebel Wilson wears the Klaus Denim trousers with the Eyelash tee.

“To me, it’s more about co-opting the word plus-size into our movement and making it empowering instead of feeling some sort of otherness. Because we are so marginalised, the goal is to take the word and reclaim it, make it cool again. And without it - we wouldn’t have a section in the store.” 

The new Beth Ditto collection is available at https://bethditto.com/.

Interview by Dino Bonacic