Tuesday, 19 February 2013

My big fat disappointment...

As you know, last weekend I attended the first British Plus Size Fashion Weekend. The run up to this event has been tough for Toni and I, firstly the event being touted as the first plus size fashion event to happen in the UK was a little heartbreaking, we'd work so hard on Plus North and when Plus London 1&2 before us had been such a great events too it was a little hard to swallow. Secondly, we'd unfortunately been dragged into arguments that weren't ours to have, the outrage over ticket prices meant comparisons were made to our event and that of Plus London, because we offer such good value for money, and the use of professional models limited in size was also something we were dragged into, but throughout, Toni and I tried to take a step back, for the sake of our event and professionalism.



I personally wasn't going to attend the event, with tickets at £45 each along with travel and hotel, I genuinely just could not afford it, but when I was asked to cover the event and have my expenses etc paid, it seemed like too good an opportunity to pass on, and I must admit, my curiosity really did get the better of me. I am after all, only human.


So I guess this is a really weird post for me to write. On a purely selfish level, I don't want to be perceived as being a bitch, but all I can do is genuinely report my experience of the event.


First off, I have to say, all credit to the team, they created a huge buzz around the event, they secured some amazing brands, massive amounts of publicity and some big stars. But, and there is a huge but (excuse the fat pun) something just didn't work or gel.


I tried to go with an open mind and be as unbiased and neutral as I possibly could, after all I was there representing a brand, but I couldn't help but make comparisons to our event.


The venue although stunning from the outside was very shabby and not fit for purpose, the event had been billed as this huge weekend, purposefully scheduled to coincide with LFW to make a statement, plus size fashion can compete with straight sized fashion, but what we was greeted with was a very run down, scruffy building with unwelcoming staff, little information as to where events were taking place and cramped, dark spaces.


We firstly stopped by the Market Place, a small room, packed with plus size brands. It was great to see some familiar faces, catch up with people and meet new and exciting brands, but, to be fair once you'd done that for an hour maximum, there really wasn't anything else to do. There was no social area, no seating area, groups of women huddled in corridors or out on the street chatting, which in itself was brilliant, I just wish they/I would have had somewhere more comfortable to do it, with no refreshments available we spent much of our time popping across the road to a corner shop to buy drinks as it was so hot and stuffy at the venue.


Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos


We then went on to check out the clothes swap, it was what it was really, there was a rail of clothes to which you added yours and then decided on items to swap.


Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos


After killing a couple of hours chatting, walking round the market place again we headed up for the Plus Size Discussion Panel. I actually really enjoyed this portion of the day, it was interesting to hear other women's thoughts and questions on the Plus Size Community, and to hear from the perspective of designers and fashion buyers. If anything I wish it could have gone on a little longer. I think if they were to do it again next year it might be worth looking at doing it in a proper conference space, a huge hall and microphones don't always mix, the acoustics weren't great and the panel struggled to understand what was being said to them.


After the panel, we were ushered out of the room into the down stairs lobby area, the vendors at the market place were already packing up so we found ourselves squeezed in to a corridor like sardines for what felt like an eternity. Looking around I saw lots of weary faces, who after such a long day with nowhere to sit down we're being made to wait around even longer. Eventually we were allowed back into to large hall (which architecturally was stunning) where we awaited the fashion show. Billed as being hosted by Gemma Collins, it was instead hosted by a lady I wasn't familiar with wearing a skinny bashing T-Shirt saying "I don't want to be size 0" who then went on to tell a really rude joke about how skinny people should eat something *groan* surely we're over this us and them mentality? I don't hate thin people, I don't wish them ill or expect them to put weight on to make me feel better, because I'm happy being a fat woman, I don't need to be rude to thin women to validate me and my body thank you very much.


I digress, the show, which was running 20 minutes late finally got underway, out came model after model in some great outfits, and it was at this point I held my hands up and thought, yeh, you know what ladies? you've got me here, this is a great show, the models look amazing, the atmosphere had a great buzz about it, and I felt proud to be part of something so positive, but then unfortunately things took a nose dive again, the show was very long and drawn out with lots of technical problems.


All in all, the event was a huge disappointment for me, if less time had been spent schmoozing the press and more time spent focussing on what the customer might have needed, what would have made the people paying out £45 of their hard earned cash feel more positive I might have been able to come away with some more positive things to say. The organisation, communication and customer relations left a lot to be desired.


The organisers worked hard, I totally get that, I understand what it's like to run a big event, the amount of hours it takes liaising with brands, dealing with customer queries, but I just felt the event was pitched as this big, glamorous, empowering event to rival LFW, but what we was in fact met with was a big fat disappointment.



17 comments:

  1. The price did put me off, I have to say. I'd expect a top notch event for £45. Maybe it'll be better next year, lessons learnt etc. I too don't like the curvy woman good, slender woman bad approach to things either - this isn't what women should be promoting, or events endorsing. (PS NEVER call yourself a bitch for not liking something or not feeling it's up to scratch, if it's an honest review)

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  2. Sad to hear about any kind of woman bashing. Not acceptable, anytime or anywhere!

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  3. You are not alone in your feelings about this. All the people I have spoken to have said exactly the same. I'm so sad - I so wanted to be proven wrong and to feel like I missed out by not going. I also feel gutted for those people who paid to go to this.

    On the plus side - the sister events of Plus North and PL3 will be hopefully restory people's faith in the community.

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  4. Sorry Becky, can you confirm just what you were meant to get for £45? Cos if you SWAPPED your clothes, and if you bought your own refreshments, what did you GET?!

    xxx

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  5. This is a disappointment, £45 is a hell of a lot of money for not very much, but the general consensus seems to have been that it could have been a hell of a lot better.

    I'm really hoping I can make Plus London 3 this year :) x

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  6. Amazing and honest - seems like they completly lost focus of who the event was for. i have only been to Plus London 2 but was made to feel welcome, special which many of us plus size ladies don't get in our day-to-day. Seems like they really missed a trick here. as for the skinny bashing.... just wrong.

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  7. A good insight on the day....hope they take note for next year

    On the other hand can't wait for plus north and plus London :)) xxx

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  8. It's an honest review Becky, not bitchy at all. I would have been fuming if I'd spent £45, on a ticket and didn't even get a glass of cheap fizz or orange juice!
    Last year's Plus North is the only event like this I have been to, and unfortunately for organisers of other future events I will always draw comparisons to that, as it was so well run and so well put together, especially for a first event!

    It seems British Plus Size Fashion Weekend, from an outside POV was put on to earn money and this quote from you 'if less time had been spent schmoozing the press and more time spent focussing on what the customer might have needed' speaks volumes.

    So pleased I didn't spend my hard earned money on attending!

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  9. The funniest thing is that the venue seemed like the most inaccesible place in the city, three flights of stairs and a cramped sweaty room? Not exactly fat-friendly there and these are things that a lot of event organisers should have to bear in mind. Obviously not all fats find it difficult to climb stairs but I know I certainly do!

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  10. "All in all, the event was a huge disappointment for me, if less time had been spent schmoozing the press and more time spent focussing on what the customer might have needed, what would have made the people paying out £45 of their hard earned cash feel more positive I might have been able to come away with some more positive things to say. The organisation, communication and customer relations left a lot to be desired. "

    Fucking Amen, Sister.

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  11. An excellent description of the Saturday event. I had a ticket for the fashion show but arrived early to go to the market place. I was greeted by 2 indifferent people on the reception who insisted I had to pay an extra £5 to enter. I then found the market place room small, hot & fairly busy. It was hard to get a good look at everything. The smallholders were all excellent and I was pleased to discover some new brands. I then did not feel encouraged to stay for the fashion show as there was no comfortable place to wait. Overall it needs to be better value for money next year with better organisation. Also clearer information on the Internet. Am looking forward to Plus London as I have not been to this before.

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  12. What a disaster! What's so sad, is that it sounds like they didn't really care about the people attending. The focus was more on making money. I find that to be horrible. Some people may not even attend next year, based on this experience alone. You gave an excellent synopsis to what happened. The entire event should be revamped. I feel for everyone and just reading these comments is heartbreaking.

    I'm from the States and I found your blog through Fashion Bloggers Over 30. I'm very impressed with your blog and what you have to say. It's great to see a blogger who doesn't sugar coat a situation. Hopefully there will be some major changes. Keep up the awesome writing.

    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

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  13. How dissapointing :(
    This is a real an honest review babe, thankyou. I hope a lot is learned about it for future events. :(
    Xxx

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  14. Very disappointing. I hadn't heard anything about the event prior to reading blogs during/afterwards. I certainly wouldn't have been able to afford the hundreds of £'s for travel, staying over and ticket price anyway.

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  15. How disappointing! I've only heard negative reviews of this event so far. Such a shame for people who spent so much money to attend,

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  16. I totally share your point of view!
    Let's hope lessons will be learned out of this disaster
    xxxx

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  17. I think that's the biggest thing, it really was just disappointing, I too hope they take everything on board, but unfortunately from what I've seen they (and by they, I think you all know who I mean) seems to be ignoring all the blogs and reports that have any kind of feedback in them. If there is no acknowledgment and improvement I hope people will speak with their wallets.

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Thank you for your comment, I love reading what everyone has to say! B x