Local Boutique Fat Fancy Is Watching Portland’s Pandemic Fashion Trends Change in Real Time

“No one is wearing pants anymore because of Zoom, I'm convinced of it.”

WW presents "Distant Voices," a daily video interview for the era of social distancing. Our reporters are asking Portlanders what they're doing during quarantine.

Bee Thornton is hoping we all come out of the pandemic dressed like post-apocalyptic warrior queens. But they'll settle for more people wearing sweatpants in public.

"I hope it's crazy," says Thornton. "I want to see monster onesies walking down the street. Give me pajama chic every day of my life."

Thornton owns Fat Fancy, a plus-sized consignment shop in the Hollywood District. Since the early days of COVID-19, Fat Fancy's small store has been open by appointment only and mostly operating digitally. Thorton has started offering virtual styling consultations, which often help clients build gender-affirming wardrobes. Fat Fancy's regular wake 'n' bake sales—where Thornton and their co-host Eric Bauer smoke weed and show off inventory live on the store's social media accounts—get thousands of views each week.

After years of growing a dedicated local costumer base, Fat Fancy is now shipping internationally, and getting orders from "clothing deserts"—where plus-sized options are essentially nonexistent—around the country.

Still, like most small business during the pandemic, Fat Fancy is struggling. Even with online sales, Fat Fancy's business is down to 35% of what it was last year. The store recently launched a GoFundMe campaign to help with debts, and though it reached it $5,000 goal, Thornton says it's hardly a long-term fix.

But if there's a silver lining, it's that Portlanders are trading their slacks for soft, stretchy fabrics.

"No one is wearing pants anymore because of Zoom, I'm convinced of it," says Thornton. "I hope that's how people come out of quarantine, a lot more comfortable with themselves."

WW talked to Thornton about how the pandemic is changing what people wear, "railroad queer" fashion moments, and why quarantine clothing is more gender neutral.

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