Category: Diversity, Humanity
1319 NE Fremont St
Portland 97212 United States
The feeling of dread was mutual. The moment a plus size human in my salon had to navigate a cutting cape designed for doctor-prescribed, “appropriately” weight/height ratioed individuals was consistently the exact moment I could see the public embarrassment set in as one struggled to snap the buttons and shift fabric in order to attempt to cover their body. It was the exact moment my clients felt excluded from the luxury of feeling comfortable AND beautiful at the same time, and it was the exact moment the idea that the beauty industry is no place for them -or their body- was seared into my clients’ psyche even further.
As a plus-size female in Portland, Oregon and the owner of Ginger Salon, the irony of anyone feeling less than beautiful (or less than anything, for that matter) in the very place they were coming for transformation or restoration – and paying big money for the experience – was too uncomfortable, raw, and wrong. I had to make a change.
So, I did. I designed, along with the help of a professional seamstress, a body-inclusive cape that makes every person with every type of body feel beautiful, worthy, and welcomed in the SAME gown – eliminating the awkward moments and accentuating the truth in one’s ok-ness, one’s rightness in their own body.
The solution, I might add, wasn’t carrying capes in every single size from xs to 4x. In no way was I going to make anyone relive the experience I had at a high-end spa when they looked me up and down, assessed my body, and then handed me their best-guess of a 5x cape -only for the gown to STILL gap when I sat down.
The solution was designing and making a beautifully fitting, flattering, stylish, lightweight single cape for ALL. The process involved eight solid months of prototypes, redesigns, trials, and do it agains. And it paid off. Exclusively available in all four Ginger salons is our body-inclusive cape.
Taking into account the dynamic shapes plus size bodies take on when standing and sitting, we cut at a bias around the hip, so when the client sits down, the fabric still covers the full shape of the body. The shoulders are wide enough to cover a 4x, but when lay on a size four, they still look appropriate. The sleeves on the cape are bell shaped – allowing to-the-wrist coverage. The length is long enough to cover plus size humans to the knees, but isn’t too long for more petite frames. We also added material to the waist, so that the hip material extends instead of going longer – allowing plus size beauties to feel totally covered when standing and sitting, alike.
And the fabric had to be right. It had to feel good. I discovered a lightweight, water-resistant fabric in the aisles of REI. Originally meant for hikers to use as a tarp for shelter and then easily balled up for packing out, the fabric choice is perfection. We sourced the fabric from this same maker. It’s like butter – and moves with the body.
I had visions of how a person would feel – and the look on their face – when they finally put on a cape that fit them comfortably – without hoopla and force. Perhaps confetti would fall. Maybe butterflies and rainbows. Definitely smiles. And that happens, but not at first.
At first, instead, I witnessed the deeply ingrained raw truth of life in a plus size body in the salon setting. When the cape goes on effortlessly and fits like a glove, there’s an initial moment of disbelief. As if something must be wrong, or a lie is being told, because never have they ever had a gown that fits their body. And once they realize that their body – just the way it is- is accepted here, celebrated here, and honored here, there’s a collective exhale.
From the pics chosen on insta from high end salons and the advertisements used for products, to the not-at-all-one-size-fits-all traditional cape offered, the messaging in this industry is promoting an epidemic of “less than.” No longer is that tolerated or perpetuated in my salons, nor should it be in this industry.
My mission to normalize all bodies doesn’t end with size-inclusive capes within our salons. It’s just the beginning. I have had the honor of reaching out to the Kevin Murphy team, sharing my story and having raw, real, and honest discussions about the opportunity within the industry for representation of all body sizes. When we see ourselves in the advertisements, insta posts, and marketing collateral, we know we are where we belong. Representation matters. We carry KM products exclusively in our salons because we are in complete alignment for doing good in this world. This is an opportunity we have, and we look forward to working together to be the change. Now is the time to create the shift.
All bodies are welcome here. Beyond words and body positive rhetoric, our actions affirm the rightness and beauty of each unique client. Comfort and beauty, acceptance and awareness, all go hand in hand at Ginger Salon.
220.127.116.11 | 30/07/2021