Melina Alarconi, Leading Mexico Into a New Era In Body Positivity
Melina Alarconi is a Mexican feminist, activist and enteprenur based in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico.
Melina Alarconi’s activism has been focused in several different fields, but she is most recognized as a designer advocate for the plus-size industry, promoting better sizing and fitting with the manufacturers.
She founded the first Mexican boutique in her hometown catering to plus-size women, “Le Donne Formose.” Then in December of 2012, she created the brand Generose, where she started to produce dresses under fair practices and ethical conditions, focusing on high-end quality fabrics and designs that are thoughtfully crafted to flatter curves.
Maddy: Can you share with us about what it’s like to shop for plus size fashion in Mexico?
Melina: We are very limited with brick & mortar options. Boutiques & retailers still believe that the plus-size customer is someone who lacks style or is fashion-forward, and so manufacturers haven’t changed or updated the fit to cater to plus-size customers. We need more designers and brands to offer apparel for the fuller figures.
I would say it is frustrating because going shopping at the mall, most of the time is disappointing because you return empty-handed; there are not enough options or the right size, if you are lucky to have options in your local area at all.
How has the body positivity movement evolved in Mexico over the last few years?
I’m glad to say that there is a strong body-positive community developing, committed to showing that society will get rid of all stereotypes and make it a better place for all. Of course, we have girls that have been pioneering for a long time, like Ayde30, but over the past 3 years, the community has grown and become very popular not only for mature women but also for the younger generation. In my opinion, feminism has had a great impact, as it liberates you from the patriarchy standard of beauty; we are living a moment of change, and it’s being reflected in the body positive community.
Generose is not like any other fashion boutique. Can you share with us about the premise of your brand and how Generose contributes to the plus-size fashion and body positivity movement?
We deserve good quality clothing, we at Generose do not believe in ‘Fast Fashion’, our clothing is well made, thoughtfully crafted for curves, that it’s not going only to be used one time and then it’s out of fashion. We try our best to incorporate a touch of an atemporal look, this way you can use it next year. Also, It’s not that we are against using stretch fabrics, but we need to deliver clothing that has structure and design, even if we are using stretch or Spandex.
Being a plus-size and body-positive brand, we believe representation matters, and it matters a lot. Our models range from size 14-28, because we want our customers to imagine themselves when they see how our dresses look on different types of bodies or sizes.
I believe that if you don’t name it, it doesn’t exist, and also believe if you don’t see it, it will remain invisible. We do exist, we are not invisible.
Let’s talk about The CurvyFest. WOW! The event was SPECTACULAR! Why did you decide to create this event?
I had asked a few shows to present my collection, but they have their own rules, one being that designers must use the models they cast. When I asked what sizes would be represented, the answer was 0-4. I tried to explain that a size 4 model wasn’t even close to my smallest size. I went back and forth with them, and never got a positive answer about bringing my own models. I just got tired of dealing with people that have no empathy for plus-size or my entrepreneur brand. I decided to take action and do a much-needed change.
Plus-size fashion deserves a professional platform just as straight-size fashion has. From the very beginning, we decided this was going to be a production with quality. We invested in having a professional venue and infrastructure; the event has surpassed my expectations.
What are your goals for The CurvyFest?
I want The CurvyFest to become a safe place for the body-positive and plus-size community, where they can feel free from stereotypes and enjoy a weekend full of Sorority, empowerment and of course fashion!
We are overwhelmed because not only girls from all over México are attending the festival, but also from USA, Canadá, Colombia, Panamá, Venezuela, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, and the UK. I felt so honored that so many girls believed in this project and came all the way to Cancún to TCFest. It was a much-needed festival, and you can see how much they enjoyed their time during this amazing weekend.
We are becoming a place for designers and brands that serve fuller-figures in México & Latin America.
For those that are thinking about coming next year. What are your type five reasons to attend The CurvyFest?
Is hard to list them by priority, but I would say:
A safe space to free yourself from stereotypes
Get to know other members of the body-positive community
A lot of Fashion that ranges from swimwear to gowns
Okay, I have 6… because margaritas by the pool are a lot of fun!