Posted by Jane Janeczko on December 18, 2013
Thank goodness for amazing plus-size fashion bloggers. Honestly, I know that I would be lost without them. It wasn’t until I discovered the amazing community of fabulous “fatshionistas” on the Internet that I really started playing with my personal style, taking fashion risks, and pushing the envelope.
Jill Perella, 21, of Philadelphia, is a salon coordinator and fashion design student, as well as one kick-ass plus-size fashion and lifestyle blogger at Death Before Diet. Jill took the time to talk with IGIGI about being a bold, beautiful, unapologetically plus-size woman trying to break into the fashion industry.
She describes herself as a loud, tall, chubby, outspoken 21 year-old with more sass than most. She likes to spend her days volunteering at animal shelters, making clothes, making friends, and making people’s heads turn.
Jane: How would you describe your personal style? I love seeing the outfits you post because it seems like you’re never really tied any particular aesthetic.
Jill: I would have to describe my fashion as, above all, ever-changing. My style is an outlet of how I feel, so it changes every day. Every hour, even.
Jane: What first got you interested in pursuing fashion? It must have been pretty big since you’re planning on pursuing fashion design as a career.
Jill: My mother first got me interested in fashion, most definitely. She always had a very quirky sense of style. For example: she will wear a totally earth-toned outfit, but peeking out from her clogs will be the funkiest rainbow-colored socks you’ve ever seen. She is also the queen of cute scarves, and sometimes wears two at a time. Little quirks like that taught me to be free with my fashion, and do what I like.
Jane: Who are your biggest fashion inspirations?
Jill: My biggest fashion inspirations are the late Isabella Blow, Justin Tranter, Barbie, Wednesday Adams, my friend Shawna Farmer (founder of Chubby Cartwheels, but she’s pretty much my life inspiration), and the females in the cast of Full House circa the 1990s.
Jane: What advice would you give to the plus-size women who have trouble finding clothes and feel that fashion has left them out?
Jill: I’d tell them to, first of all, never give up. Finding clothes (especially if you’re over a size 10) can be super frustrating and difficult, but never impossible. I always do lots of looking around until I find something that makes me feel good, confident, comfortable, or powerful. Sometimes it takes minutes, sometimes it takes hours, but I don’t give up. After you find one amazing piece, the feeling kind of sticks with you, and it becomes easier to find more stuff. Eventually, you end up feeling inspired on your own.
Jane: Have you ever felt unwelcome in a store or been a victim of size discrimination?
Jill: Unfortunately, size discrimination happens to me all too often, but if I’m being completely honest, I can’t remember the last time I was discriminated against in a retail store. I mainly go thrift shopping, where there is such a wide range of clientele that I kinda fly under the radar, which is harder than you think with pink hair. When I’m in a chain retail store, the employees (which are predominantly women) are exceptionally kind to me and usually compliment my hair or clothing. It might be the fact that I pride myself on being super polite and always smiling, but yea, they’re pretty nice! Who knows what they say when I’m not looking, though.
Jane: Is there anything special that you do to get an extra boost of self-confidence? Or is there a specific circumstance in which you feel really great about your body?
Jill: This might sound pretty vain, but I feel that way every day. It took me about 19 years, but I feel proud of my body all day, every single day. I grew up being constantly told that the way I looked was bad and wrong, and spent my entire life trying to change it. I realized a couple years ago how damaging and uncalled for body negativity is to young people, and ever since, I’ve been actively trying to change that through my blog, and through radical self-love. One of my favorite phrases is, “Your body is the house you grew up in, don’t burn it to ground.”
If you want to dress like Jill, she recommends trying out the IGIGI Karina Wide Leg Pants in Navy Blue. Jill loves high-waisted pants and they are notoriously hard to find. She would accessorize them with a black, long-sleeved crop top and an oversized scarf.
Currently, Jill is studying Fashion Design at the Art Institute of Philadelphia and after she gets her degree she will start working towards having her own plus-size fashion line. Ultimately, she wants to dedicate her life to showing people how beautiful, divine, and worthy they are, not just superficially making them “look good for a fat person,” which is something that plus-size people are told far too often.
If you want to connect with Jill, make sure you follow this sassy blogger on her Tumblr, Death Before Diet!