When we look back at where the plus size industry began and where we are today, in many ways it has come full circle.

Women flocked to forums to express their desire to see themselves represented in media, magazines and ads in the early 2000’s. For a while it looked like we were headed in the right direction, and then we veered off a little bit. In the last few years we’ve seen another shift with visibly plus sized women being seen in campaigns, ads, magazine, etc and some with minimal/ no retouching.  This is HUGE progress!

And with all that being said there is still a long way for us to go.

Age, size and shape are still a touchy subject among the plus sized industry. Can you be too fat for the plus sizes industry? Can you be too old to be seen in the plus sizes industry? And do we see enough women of color in our imagery? These are conversations that are being had among many of us but brands have always been reluctant to touch the subject for fear they would be opening a can of worms.

Well here is the “can” ladies and gentlemen, while the “confidence” campaign was created to celebrate the Avenue customer, for me it was much more.

Seeing three women over the age of 40, of different ethnicities, shapes and sizes is a moment in plus size history.

We have not seen this type of diversity displayed in stores, catalogs and web without tip-toeing around what’s acceptable and making diversity the point of the campaign. In fact, this was NOT the point of the campaign for Avenue, it just all fell into place for them and decisions were based on our experiences as plus sized women living in today’s society.

Does representation matter? Yes it does!

I was teary eyed when I took my nieces and daughter to the Avenue store and saw myself in the front window.

I wish I would have been able to see someone like me, Erica or Mia in imagery when I was growing up.

It would have helped me and so many other young little girls believe in themselves during those rough years.

Now, I’m able to have conversations with the children in my life about confidence and staying true to who you are.

Confidence is a journey…

“Confidence doesn’t happen in one day – it has been a process and a daily commitment to myself! I don’t apologize for myself or my size – I own my space.” #IOWNMYSPACE

Many thanks to Avenue for creating such a powerful incentive and supporting all plus size women.

Check out the Avenue Confidence Series here

XOXO – Maddy