Tall Women In Clogs

Four Brooklyn broads tackle the politics of height

And so to Edinburgh Fringe Festival to meet four women. Four feisty, feminist women who challenge the stereotypes associated with being tall. Four women who wear clogs.

"You grow up tall in America, people think you're older than you are. People think you’re stronger, tougher, more mannish than you feel. The expectation and the reality of us do not align. Or sometimes they do. It’s complicated."

Having teamed up at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2012, the show was born in early 2013 when Sophie and Kathy found themselves in a dance studio wearing clogs. 20 months, 162 backers and a $10,521 Kickstarter campaign later, they bring their show to Edinburgh.

Our show is all about exploring and sharing the commonalities of taking up more space in the world. It's an incredibly powerful thing. It's very emotional.

- Kathy

"The show is split into 12 short acts - '12 different ways to perceive us' - be it a dance, physical theatre or a solo moment. It's about how our bodies get read by other people in different circumstances, different outfits, doing different things with our bodies."
- Sophie

One of the acts explores masculinity. "I was always in the back of school photo with the boys. It's fair to say we all have different relationships to embracing masculinity. If I shop in the menswear section I want it to be an active choice as opposed to something I'm pigeonholed into."
- Maddie

We're all defined by tall yet we deal with it in different ways. Exploring our approaches to height has been profound.

- Jess

"Absolutely. Footwear to me is very personal. I have size 11 feet and I could only ever shop for shoes in one place. I have lots of feelings about navigating footwear - not only what is it to tower above people in height but negotiating the choice available."
- Jess

Sophie agrees that childhood experiences have shaped how they deal with their height.

"I recall quite traumatic shopping experiences with mum when I was younger. I developed early and was always taller than my peers - you're 14 but the clothing industry thinks you're 17 - you're still a child but you're expected to be an adult."

We really wanted to be honest about all of this. It's not just a performance. We wanted to make a space where we could be strong, sensitive, smart, vulnerable... it's been very raw.

- Sophie

"Tall women are really connecting with what we're saying, they're excited by how personal it is. We've built solidarity around being tall."
- Jess

I felt quite emotional in the Long Tall Sally store. I love that it's made for women with bodies like ours. And the store girls are my size!

- Maddie

From left to right Sophie, Edinburgh store manager Jackie, Maddie, Jess and Kathy all wear pieces from the current LTS collection.