On Friday night, the inaugural Girls to the Front event benefiting the Girls Rock Camp Foundation drew cohosts Beth Ditto and Rachel Bloom, along with guests Hailee Steinfeld, Haim and Miguel to Chateau Marmont for a private dinner-turned-full-on-rager to honor Motown president Ethiopia Habtemariam and songwriting duo Justin Tranter and Julia Michaels, who are responsible for hits with Steinfeld, Justin Beiber, Selena Gomez and Gwen Stefani. Singer-songwriter and plus-size designer Ditto (in Vivienne Westwood) also sat down with WWD to chat about her fashion line, feminism and fear.
WWD: What’s next for your clothing line? It was polarizing for some customers because of the higher price range and limited sizes.
Beth Ditto: We’re working on the second collection now. It’s about learning from the mistakes that we’ve made and listening to what people are saying about price range. We’re still at the learning phase.
WWD: What are your thoughts on how the fashion world can be more inclusive to the plus-size community?
B.D.: Start thinking about how excluding an entire population of people is really counterproductive for fashion, creativity and style. Most designers I know grew up with big women, their mothers are big women, their aunts are big women. I think it’s a new idea in mainstream pop culture, but there’s a lot of consciousness shifting so hopefully it’s one of those things that’s included in the scope of fairness and marketing. We’re more than a number.
WWD: What’s your advice on becoming comfortable with your body type?
B.D.: For me, it’s remembering every negative feeling that you have. Everyone has them, no matter how big or small they are. Just because you’re thinner doesn’t mean you’re going to be happier.
WWD: What are your thoughts on music right now?
B.D.: I miss guitars. I miss live bands. I miss soul music. I miss something raw, but I’m really happy about Rihanna and I’m really happy to see Haim because it’s nice to have instruments.
WWD: Do you consider yourself a feminist?
B.D.: Since I was old enough to know the word. I didn’t know that I was. But I remember learning what the word meant and thinking, “that’s me.”
WWD: Do you remember the exact moment?
B.D.: My mother struggled a lot with seven [kids] and she was so giving and talented and smart and hard-working and underappreciated. I saw it as another piece of injustice and I never really understood that there was a word for it, but I think that’s how it started.
WWD: Why do you think the word feminism gets a bad rap at times?
B.D.: I feel like people are so afraid of change and looking inside themselves and realizing that they’re capable of negative, racist, sexist or homophobic thoughts. It gets a bad rap because people are afraid to examine their real truths because of what we’re fed every day. It’s absolutely fear. Let’s change this to sharing. I don’t know why people think we’re man-haters; all we want is equality and empowerment and just as many chances as anyone else. What’s wrong with that?