15 Jan The Size-Inclusive, Gender-Inclusive, Full of Life Brand We’re Loving ATM…
Patricia Luiza Blaj Q&A
Meet Patricia Luiza Blaj, a Romanian journalist driven by her need to create clothing inclusive of EVERYONE she founded the fashion blog, The Outsiderz and the clothing brand Loud Bodies. TBM writer Calina Muresan sat down with Patricia to chat about her influences and style.
What made you decide you wanted to start a fashion blog?
In my teenage years I dreamed about a fashion blog, however The OutsiderZ is a product of adult(ish) Patricia and it’s a lot closer to my activist side, rather than my fashionista one – not that they don’t get along, they do. OutsiderZ is more of a cry out within and against the fashion world than a fashion blog. It’s pointing out what’s wrong with it and how its rules have made generations after generations of women (and men)(and everything in between) feel like they’re not good enough unless they adhere to whatever standard they fancied at a time.
How did the idea of Loud Bodies come about?
Loud Bodies started from my own inner cry, that started from the frustration of not being able to find clothes in my size, even though I’m barely a EU size 44-46 (UK 14-16). Things are a little bit different throughout Europe, however in Romania, if you’re anything over a size L, you’re doomed. I’ve always envisioned myself running my own business, but I wanted something that would not only be self-serving, but something that would in some way help other people too. Maybe there are more profound ways to help people, however I think we can all agree that spending a few hours in the mall, getting judged & not finding anything in your size is not exactly pleasant. A great outfit can impact your self esteem majorly. It shouldn’t depend on that, of course, however everybody deserves beautiful clothes, no matter their size.
How did you develop your band identity? Were there any difficulties in creating the brand?
There weren’t any difficulties, since everything about the brand is very in line with who I am and the message I’ve been working on spreading for years. It was a natural business venture that stemmed from my work & journey as a journalist. Finding and sticking to the “perfect” name was a bit tricky, if you will, since I suck at this think of decisions, but other than that, I knew what I wanted to do from the start.
Who designs and creates the clothes?
I do. I of course ask the opinion of all my friends beforehand deciding on anything since I am not a designer & not looking to gain that label and, after all, I’m not just looking to share my vision. I started with clothes that I would like since it was the most natural thing to do, however the idea is to design clothes for everybody – so we’ll soon branch into more & more styles.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I don’t have a special place or special trick – to be honest, I feel that we live in such a fast paced world that I no longer afford the luxury of waiting to get inspired by something. It’s inspiration on demand when there’s so much content to be created and so many things to get done.
What’s the most exciting part of having your own brand?
The weekend. Since I worked as a freelancer before, I worked from home and could afford to take a mental health day off, of just laze around when I caught a cold or when I got my period. But since I started the atelier and have an employee and rent to pay, it’s no longer the case. Even though some days I have to force myself out of bed and would give literally anything to just stay in, my new office schedule taught me to appreciate days off and weekends like I never did before. I think it’s such a pity that we don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone. If there would be a lesson to pass on from my experience up until now, that would most definitely be it. Be present. Appreciate what you have, even if it’s not as much as you wished it was.
Can you tell us about the sustainability aspect of the brand?
The things that are in my control regarding sustainability are, well, very much controlled. The clothes are made by me and my employee, whom I am paying well above minimum wage, in spite of being very much at the beginning and without a steady income. I don’t use plastic in the wrapping process of the orders – even though plastic would look neater and more professional, I stick to recycled kraft paper or recycled paper bags. I try to produce as little waste as possible fabrics wise as well. Even the plastic bags in which our chairs were delivered I have reused as trash bags – so I’m really trying to do my part, both in regards to treating people ethically and taking care of our planet.
What does ‘body positivity’ mean to you?
It’s the revolutionary thought that you don’t have to find people attractive to treat them with respect. That you don’t have to go through life perpetually self flagellating for not being able to look the way other people tell you you should look.
What are your top tips for practicing body positivity?
Don’t expect self love to happen overnight, cause it won’t. It’s a process. It’s a struggle. Learning to be patient and kind to yourself even on bad days is just as important, if not even more than loving yourself.
What are you working on for the future?
Right now my biggest challenge is trying to fit content creating back into my schedule. My first baby, my first love, OutsiderZ, has been pretty neglected lately and I would very much like to get back into the saddle and write.