Why this designer only hires plus-size models

Clothing is made in a wide range of sizes, yet when fashion advertised, the models selling clothes tend to represent the sizes 0, 2, and 4, and these models are predominantly white. Women come in all sizes and colors, but so many women don’t SEE their size and color reflected in the advertisements for the clothes they buy.

One of these women, New York-based fashion designer Courtney Smith, was sick and tired of seeing the fashion industry adhere to such narrow standards of beauty, and so she decided to turn the tables on the industry and exclusively employ fuller-figured women of color to promote her clothing line Rum + Coke

When Refinery 29 asked Smith about her choice of models, she explained:

“No one questions why there are only small women in other brands’ shoots. I put women of color and ‘larger’ women in my photo shoots for many reasons. One, because I believe in the multiplicity of beauty, and two, there are so many women who seldom see women who look like them in advertisements.”

She also broke down the inspiration for the line:

“I want women to be their most beautiful selves. There are so many negative messages: You’re not thin enough, you’re not young enough, you’re not light enough. These all basically tell women they are inadequate unless they change something about themselves or purchase this or that. I was inspired to create Rum + Coke to send a different message: You, woman, are enough. [Women] are beautiful in whatever package they come in.”

Dresses for the line are available in sizes 2 to 22 and garments are priced between $48 and $200.

Ultimately, Smith’s goal is to champion positive body image. In an interview with TheCurvyFashionista in November, she said:

“Woman are constantly bombarded with messages that highlight their “inadequacies” or ”flaws” and I have made it my personal mission to replace these messages of self-loathing with messages of self-love and empowerment. I truly believe that women should feel confident and beautiful every time we get dressed.”

Which is exactly why Rum + Coke’s motto is so fitting: “Clothing for the confident woman. A new perspective on Plus.”

We are down with that positive message. Also, loving the looks.

(Images via Rum + Coke)

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