In news that makes me full of giddy hurrah, roaring lady power, Beth Ditto, lead singer of The Gossip, has refused to play a round of promotional in-store appearances for Topshop in the UK. Her deal? Why play and sing in a place that doesn't sell anything she could actually wear? Ditto explains, "I don't really know why they want The Gossip...I don't understand because if they saw me in the street they'd never give me the time of day." She has called on the retail giant to invite her to design for larger sizes, explaining, "I don't want just your money or the cred of hanging out with Kate Moss, which is fine, but it's not want I want in life. I want more. I want what she gets."
Moss has recently signed with Topshop for a multi-million pound deal to design clothing for Topshop. Last year, Topshop's rival, H&M, ended its advertising campaign with Moss after allegations of her cocaine use caused a media frenzy. H&M discontinued its plus size collection, BiB for Big is Beautiful, in the US last year. It continues to be sold in other countries. Topshop does not currently have any stores in the US.
I think it's great (as in hilarious, silly, ironic) that Topshop tried to coordinate a Fashion PR Opportunity with a plus-sized singer, and it backfired. My question is: what was the intention of this promotion? Why The Gossip? Why Beth? I wonder if the goal was to inspire a positive relationship with plus-size shoppers for the eventual unveiling of a plus size line for the store - or if that is to optimistic. If this was the case, not sharing the goals with Ditto was a definite poor PR decision. If it was some other reason, like trying to piggyback on Ditto's cool factor, I hope Topshop recognizes this for the potentially lucrative PR opportunity that it is and starts offering larger sizes, partnering with Ditto as the first plus size celebrity designer.
Ditto has made a powerful, affirming, and empowering statement for scores of women and girls who cannot shop at Topshop, and others, like me, who want all women to enjoy and play with fashion. This includes giving women of all sizes access to the same designs and breaking down barriers between thin and plus size women, in part by giving them the opportunity to shop together.
Now I have to get back to cranking The Gossip. All Day Long.