I have this theory. I think the #fatkini has revolutionized the direction of fashion trending: from plus size to straight size, rather than the other way around.
Glamour named high-waisted - or retro - bikinis among its top trends in 2014 and this year Victoria's Secret - yes, as in, omg-can-we-make-everything-tinier Victoria's Secret - is carrying high-waisted bikinis. Don't believe me? Look at Victoria's Secret swim collection from 2013. Not one, single, solitary high-waisted style. In 2015? 6 styles.
I trace the provenance of this trend to Gabi Fresh's 2013 #fatkini debut.
For yeeeeaaars I felt like two-piece bathing suits were not accessible to me because it seemed like every year there was less and less fabric to offer any support for my big butt, boobies and belly. I can't wear two triangles instead of a bra! And Oh. My. God. The strings! it felt like swimsuit manufacturers were yelling "PLEASE DON'T WEAR A BATHING SUIT, FAT GIRL!" every time I went shopping for something water-friendly.
Like many fat girls (and lots of other people too!), I used to hate swimsuit season. It represented another opportunity to feel ashamed of my body. My idea of a swimsuit used to be walking fully clothed into a pool and hoping I wouldn't drown in the sea of fabric in which I'd protectively encased myself.
Nowadays, I'm an avid - bordering on pathological - swimsuit shopper. And fatkinis had everything to do with that shift. I was waiting for - nay, stalking - swimsuit season this year hard, girl, suspecting that Forever21 and SwimsuitsForAll were going to stock even hotter swimwear than last year.
AND I WAS RIGHT.
But back to my theory. In pursuing my selfish fatkini research, I began to see a lot of high-waisted bikinis in sizes small through large - a major shift from years previous to 2014 and 2015. And so, um yah, I do think that the fatkini revolutionized trending history. This is an example of the incredible power that fat girls have! We made something so hot that swimsuit manufacturers just couldn't say no.
The skeptic might be thinking: but what about the 2012 Taylor Swift debut of a red polka dot vintage style two-piece?!? To which I say: people were clambering to figure out where exactly she got this magical unicorn of a swimsuit. Answer: fashion forward/vintage-inspired Modcloth.*
*I'm an affiliate for ModCloth!
Virgie Tovar, MA is one of the nation's leading experts and lecturers on fat discrimination and body image. She is the founder of Babecamp (a 4 week online course focused on helping people break up with diet culture) and the editor of Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion (Seal Press, 2012). She writes about the intersections of size, identity, sexuality and politics. See more updates on Facebook.