Does the illustration above make you smile? I do hope so because I have commissioned a series of such illustrations from Hannah Ensor of Stickman Communications to run over the next several months. The intention is for them to embody the gently humourous aspects of stylish living for the women who I would like to engage on the Plus Black blog and website.
Who are these women?
Women like me, I hope. Women undergoing ‘normal’ lifestyle changes; some minor; others, less so. Whether shifting to portfolio careers, retiring, ageing, struggling with weight and medication, developing minor/major illnesses and motor impairments, we are women who get that it’s normal for unexpected things to happen in life, some of them not pleasant, but for whom life is about living … in as much style as we are generally accustomed to.
Sure, at critical times, we’ll de-prioritise the shopping, the beautician, the hairdresser, the social life but, in the longer term, we will resume all these activities because that’s what we do, even in pain, distress, discomfort and unwillingly. We groom. We dress. We see and are seen. We live life to the best of our ability and to the maximum of quality that we are able. And, we want to look ‘like ourselves’ and be comfortable as we do it.
The Plus Black woman understands this. When bad things happen, to us or our loved ones, we regroup. We adapt. We continue to seek all the beauty, glory and wonderful things that life has to offer be it in the visual, aural, tactile, sensual … as we did before … life changed. But maybe we might use/give a little help on the way – we’re all in new territory here after all (all ten million of us!).
The fundamental precept underlying the Plus Black concept is that women in the process of life change – struggling with weight, pre/post menopausal effects or minor/major physical impairment or illness and can’t (as in not allowed or don’t have the capability to) exercise, do Botox or plastic surgery – really don’t have a lot of fun shopping for the things they need either online or in the high street. It adds insult to injury that those of us forced to deal with our problems ‘au natural’ – those needing the most help – are the least welcome by our major retailers. Read more About Us here.
Plus Black is all about reaching out, bringing together, inspiring women – you, me and anyone we know who fits the description – who have found, or want to find, their own individual style, at those times when life throws a curve ball, and are happy to share information on, and access to:
- products that make disruptive lifestyle change easier
- shopping that makes us feel good about ourselves
- an ethos of inclusiveness, giving and style
That’s what Plus Black is all about … that, and having some fun whilst doing it. Let’s be honest, when life goes down the pan, what can you do but laugh. And so, we return to Hannah and her Stickmen who are, like us, the same but different.
I love Hannah’s style and humour and asked whether, using my +Black blog as ‘inspiration’, she would do a series of illustrations focussed on my ‘changing lifestyle’ demographic as we struggle to integrate style with life’s challenges. I assured her that we do like a ‘giggle’ – as if anyone reading my blog wouldn’t know that as I range from extreme fashion to babywear looking for inspiration!
As well as linking each of Hannah’s illustrations to their subject matter separately, you will find the entire series, as it develops on the +Black Illustrated page. Do keep checking in for the latest additions and go across to Stickman Communications to see Hannah’s other work.
If you’re interested in the Plus Black project, or might like to get involved, follow the +Black blog for updates and to join the conversation on some of the issues raised and, maybe, you’d like to complete the (very short) +Black Survey to let me know your initial thoughts. There is also a Plus Black website under construction for launch in 2013.
+Black is a WIP (work-in-progress) at the moment – I’m entirely open to suggestions and collaborative (and kindly) offers of help. I’d love to hear any feedback you’d like to give. Thank you.