March 8 is International Women’s Day celebrates the achievements of women across fields while calling for gender equality. Every year, a theme is chosen as a goal to further the movement and inspire women everywhere to embody that theme while making a change in the world.
We have so many women making a difference in the plus size community, where we encounter issues with size diversity and having a voice as a woman without being judged by our size. It’s not just about fashion and the lack thereof. It’s about having to deal with our health being judged by our size. It’s about dealing with stereotypes forced upon us by society. It’s about being able to live a happy, positive life without bullying and criticism. It’s about changing the minds of the masses on what is truly considered “normal” and showing society that all women are real. We all come in different shapes and sizes and each woman is entitled to be who she wants to be as long as she is happy and confident about herself.
In 2014, the plus size industry and community had many major moments with several women coming forth as leaders with the goal of making a difference. Here’s five women who give us hope that while change is slow coming, it is happening:
Monif Clarke has set herself apart in the plus size fashion industry by daring to create sexy, curve-hugging pieces AND using visibly plus size models to market her creations. While she was in the beginning stages of her line, she approached major high-end department stores to see if there was interest in carrying her collection. They were not. Inspired to forge forward, she now has a thriving seven-figure business. She recently inked a deal with size-22 model Tess Holliday to model some of her Spring 2015 collection and you can see Tess on her homepage, modeling Monif’s latest swim line. She is also sought after to make TV appearances and offer her views on plus size fashion. She is truly an advocate for plus size fashion at any size.
Chrystal Bougon doesn’t just run a lingerie business. She has emerged as one of the leaders in the body acceptance movement, inspiring plus size women to love their bodies and feel sexy at any size. She has hosted lingerie runway shows featuring customers of different sizes as her models. Chrystal started an anti-bullying campaign online and also took on “Fit Mom” Maria Kang who accused her of promoting obesity with her campaigns. Chrystal’s latest project is to create a reality TV show about plus size women, which is created by us and edited by us. You can read about that here.
Susan Gregg Koger co-founded Modcloth out of her love for thrifting and vintage clothing and the company has since taken an important stance on body acceptance. They launched their #FashionTruth movement where they pledged to cast a variety of women from their community showing them as their true selves, while also offering clothing in a range of sizes and honoring their customers as a community. Modcloth is very vocal in not supporting photoshopped ads and was the first company to sign The Heroes Pledge For Advertisers, an anti-airbrushing petition. Their recent swimsuit campaign featuring company employees of different shapes and sizes shows that every woman should feel confident in their swimsuit.
Louise Green is an advocate for the “fat and fit” movement, successfully inspiring many Canadian women to start moving and in the process, accepting and loving their bodies just the way they are. She launched Body Exchange, an exercise boot camp specifically geared towards helping plus size women get more active and lead healthier lives at any size. Body Exchange is presently Canada’s only fitness and adventure company exclusive to plus size women. Louise is currently working on a fitness DVD so non-Canadian plus size women can experience Body Exchange in the comfort of their own homes.
Charlotte Clarke made headlines earlier this year for using her journey to get healthier as a way to inspire plus size women to do the same. She decided to not wait until she was at a certain weight to become a fitness instructor and her Jungle Body and Boogieful classes have become popular with British plus size women. Not only are they fun, but are designed specifically for plus size women with dance steps that are easy to learn at any fitness level. As she continues on her own health journey of being active and fit, her goal is to break barriers for plus size people in the process.
We celebrate all of these women and countless others who use their voices and actions to make a difference for women everywhere. This year’s theme is Make It Happen (#makeithappen) and from what we have seen, these women and many more are definitely doing that.
Who is inspiring to you? Please comment below and let us celebrate all the women making a difference.