I grew up as a tall, thin, lanky child and teenager. I didn’t know it at the time – but I’ve always had thin privilege. Now I’m a tall, curvy, thin woman and I know that I still have thin privilege. I can shop at any store – I can even shop at sample sales. I find my size easily – and no one judges me for wearing whatever I please (or at least not because someone my size and shape “shouldn’t” be wearing that.)
I was not specifically an activist child – but I was academic; and looking around me at my friends and family seeing women of all shapes and sizes, I never once considered that they shouldn’t or wouldn’t have all of the fashion and clothing options I did.
When I started fashion design classes in high school and it came time for the yearly fashion show – I chose my best friend, who would have been classified as plus size, to model. I didn’t do it to make a statement or a point. I wasn’t trying to be revolutionary or break the mold. I simply thought my friend was stunning and I wanted her in my clothes.
As I grew older and moved to the appearance obsessed New York City – I befriended some of the most amazing, intelligent, and inspiring woman around. For the most part, they all had one thing in common – they liked to talk down about themselves. After a couple years of listening and nodding – I got mad. These women spent so much time nit picking at things that only they noticed – that they weren’t adding anything to conversations and they were certainly only making themselves feel worse and worse.
But I wasn’t mad at them. I was mad at all of the outside sources that have crept into their brains and told them they aren’t enough. I decided if I was going to make a clothing line – it would have to do something to correct this problem.
SmartGlamour is body positive. Without body positivity – it would not exist, plain and simple. It is all inclusive. It is welcoming. It is empowering. And it’s for everyone.
I employ “models” (quotations used because while some ladies do have modeling experience, the majority do not) of every size, shape, age, height, weight, and ethnicity to wear my clothing. Sometimes it’s actually difficult to find the diversity I crave because woman all around the world are told that they are not good enough to ever be a model. I disagree.
I use no photoshop – on the ladies or their clothing. There is no professional make up and hair team. I want the ladies to look like themselves – in my clothing. I want them to be comfortable and happy – and the photos always end up showing those emotions. Sometimes women have acne and sometimes clothes have a wrinkle – that’s reality and it’s okay.
Even the women who are fully behind the concept often get nervous when it comes time to shoot. “Are you going to airbrush my varicose veins?” No. “Oh but I have an extra fat roll there.” Doesn’t bother me. “How should I style myself? How do you like my hair? What color nail polish?” It’s up to you.
We – as women – are subconsciously taught everyday by the ads and images we see, that we are not good enough as we are. What if images of women were all what women actually looked like? What a huge weight would be lifted!
I am always looked at like I’m reinventing the wheel – by women I hire, by photographers I employ. “You mean I can’t use photoshop at all?” No. You can’t.
The other day, an anonymous internet user accused me of “obviously” thinking myself as brave for what I do.
That person was mistaken.
It has never been a marketing ploy, selfish act, get rich fast, or superficial scheme of mine to display women as they truly are. It’s just common sense. It’s important, and needed, and inspiring – yes. But I am not brave for putting it out there. I am passionate, and concerned, and driven – but I am not brave.
These women are you – your sister, your aunt, your best friend, your neighbor, your grandmother. They are wonderful, and interesting, and breath taking. And they are enough. Just the way they are.