Since premiering on Hulu earlier this month, Shrill has received almost as much attention for its fashion as the writing and acting.
Based on Seattle writer Lindy West's memoir, the show follows Annie (Aidy Bryant), a plus-size Portland woman who realizes "fat" is not a dirty word and needs the world around her to catch up. Annie grows confident and unwilling to be ignored, not only by standing up for herself at her alt-weekly writing job but by wearing a flattering, eye-catching wardrobe.
Shrill's costume designer, Amanda Needham, has said in numerous interviews that she handmade some of Annie's most talked-about looks—like the double-sided sequined party dress she wore to a cringe-worthy work event—because fashion is a "dead zone" for plus-size pieces that aren't overly twee or insultingly shoddy.
It's true that many designers still hide big bodies instead of accentuating them. But to call plus-size fashion a "dead-zone" snubs the many designers and models working to fill that need—particularly here in Portland, where Shrill is both set and filmed.
In an email to WW, Needham confirmed that a few local high-end designers, including Kate Towers, Holly Stalder and Nikki and Jonny Fenix, helped dress Shrill cast members. But their labels are considered "oversize" rather than plus-size, with their largest sizes still unwearable by a woman above size XL.
Here are six plus-size Portland brands we hope are consulted when Shrill gets its second season.
Rumor has it that Gossip singer and luxury fat designer Beth Ditto takes her clothes and accessories to Fat Fancy whenever she needs to downsize her wardrobe. Adele is also rumored to be among many high-profile women who've visited the store while in Portland. Along with a good blend of vintage and contemporary pieces, Fat Fancy even has a men's section. If Annie wanted to dress her loser boyfriend, Ryan, this is where she'd go.
Long a staple in Portland's fat fashion community, Chubby Cartwheels designer Shawna Farmer makes pieces as large as size 5XL, inspired by sex workers and edgy, over-the-top clubwear. If Annie needs a devastating date-night look for a guy actually worth her time, or if she has a "good girl gone bad" moment, she'd turn it out in Chubby Cartwheels.
Claire Doody and her Copper Union label have been featured in numerous local and national outlets. The pieces are flowy and sumptuously colored, perfect for the office and the resort—if Annie finds herself on assignment at Sauvie Island or Rooster Rock, this should be her go-to.
Run by the designer Rita Hudson, Union Rose is not exclusively a plus-size label, but Hudson knows what it's like to wear plus-size. Annie could wear Union Rose to feel casual yet confident, whether she's writing at a coffee shop, calling bullshit on forced-fun fitness, or telling an invasive personal trainer to go to hell.
Allihalla doesn't have a brick-and-mortar yet, but its retro-inspired pieces have shipped internationally since 2010 and can be found in stores like Altar PDX. Along with cotton and spandex shorts, Allihalla sells party-ready disco pants that could give Annie an edge over her stylish, hilariously selfish co-worker Ruthie.
Altar PDX has two in-house labels, and sells pieces by other plus-size designers at its Hawthorne shop. Co-founders Amy Fox and Cassie Ridgway's handmade clothes and jewelry are inspired by the natural world and spirituality of the Pacific Northwest. Altar is not exclusively plus-size, but it has more offerings than most stores. Annie could wear Altar's flattering black dresses, vintage-inspired pants and art kid-cool jumpsuits when pitching stories to her editor, joining a coven of witches or shopping with her roommate, Fran.