Sunday, 23 May 2010

What on earth is a Big Bum Jumble?

Here's a little interview with Kay Hyatt, who is organising the Big Bum Jumble.

Charlotte: Who are you?
Kay: My name is Kay Hyatt, I'm a fatty living and working in East London. I'm also Butch Husky from the Chubsters. I'm a fat activist and I'm a mannish lady.

What's the Big Bum Jumble?
It's a jumble sale, fashion show, party and fundraiser. It's going to take place in East London on 14 August. It's a place to buy new-to-you plus-sized clothes that fit at very low prices. 95% of the stuff on sale will be sized XL+, which means over a UK women's size 18, and men's XL. People of all sizes are welcome to come, it's being held in an accessible venue, and you can bring your kids.

Why did you decide to organise it?
I've been inspired by attending the amazing Fat Girl Flea, which I went to in New York in 2007. Since then I felt a yearning for something similar here in the UK. Because I am part of a DIY culture, I decided to organise something myself rather than be sorry that there wasn't one. I'm someone who struggles to find clothes that fit me that I want to wear and can afford, and I thought that there would probably be lots of other fat people in the same situation. Also, it's good to hang out and do stuff with other fat folks.

What was so great about The Fat Girl Flea?
The atmosphere there was just so celebratory. The sheer volume of clothes to look through was amazing. I'm used to crying over the ever-diminishing fat section at the back of the shops here, but there there was such abundance. I loved the way people encouraged each other to try things out, and I loved having people come up to me and say things like: "I just found this, it's not for me but it would look great on you." I got a great Hawaiian shirt that way. There was just a real party atmosphere around celebrating dressing up and looking good with a load of fab fatties.

Who are you hoping will come?
Well, I've been thrilled by the response so far. I hope everyone will come, really. I know it will appeal to fat people who want to shop because I'm sure that I'm not alone in finding there is a lack of good clothes in large sizes. I know that other people would like to be somewhere where there is a glut instead. Friends and supporters of all sizes who want to have a good time should come too. The venue we have got is really lovely with a great café and the fantastic Tamsin and Ruth of Unskinny Bop will be providing the music for the day. There will also be a catwalk show with models and volunteer models from amongst the shoppers walking in clothes found from the jumble. I hope to also get some passers by too, people who are just after a bargain.

What do you mean when you say that you're a fat activist?
I'm a fat activist because I reject the idea that being fat is a problem or something that any right-thinking person would want to change. The Big Bum Jumble is an activist event because it is about celebrating body diversity, changing your wardrobe to fit your body, not your body to fit your wardrobe. It's also a place where fat community can be found and hopefully a jumping-off point for more fat activist events in future. If I make any money, it's going to be used to fund future events, like the planned 2012 Fattylympics.

What's the 2012 Fattylympics?
The Fattylympics is something I'm co-organising with fat activist Charlotte Cooper in response to the London 2012 Olympics. We live very close to the Olympic Park and we want to create a response to this unstoppable force that's happening more-or-less in our own backyards. It's going to be an event promoting Health At Every Size through the medium of arsing around and playing stupid fat-friendly games in the park. It's going to be big!

What help do you need to get the BBJ going?
Right now, I'm still after donations of clothes. Especially stuff above a women's size 28 or men's XXXL. If you have a lot of stuff, I can arrange to come and get it from you within London, though if it's an amount you can carry, just bring it on the day. If you're outside London, get in touch and we can work something out.

Also, if you want to volunteer to help out on the day, I'd be grateful for that too. I have quite a few helpers lined-up but I can always use more. There'll be glamorous and non-glamorous jobs available so I'm sure I can find a role that'd suit you. Drop me a line.

What would be your dream find at the Big Bum Jumble?
I dream of having a Nudie Suit like Gram Parsons or Porter Wagoner used to wear, but I don't think even the Big Bum Jumble will be able to provide that! I'd be happy with some new trousers that fit round my fat belly and aren't too long for my short little legs.

What else would you like to say?
Come to the Jumble. It is going to be amazing. There will be new clothes, low prices, new friends, hanging out, celebratory images, music by The Bops, and a fashion show. There will also be badges of our beautiful BBJ logo designed by Simon Murphy. You'll have a chance to be in a film of the event if you want to. Good times!

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