Gone are the days when the fashion industry catered solely to one body type – and thank goodness for that. In recent years, we’ve witnessed the rise of retail concepts such as 11 Honoré catering solely to bigger sizes, the burgeoning of the new “curve models” category, and a noticeable presence of plus-size models on the runways of New York Fashion Week. Established brands have also begun to expand their offering, creating lines that specifically target the plus-size shopper, which is exactly how Marina Rinaldi came to be.
Part of the Max Mara fashion group, the label has been catering to curvy women since the 1980s – long before many other players came to the market. This year, Marina Rinaldi has teamed up with Ashley Graham, one of the most famous curve models in the industry, to design a denim collection that spans skirts, shirts, dresses, jackets, and pants. Here, Savoir Flair talks to Graham about her career, styling tips, and more.
Let’s start by talking about your collaboration with Marina Rinaldi. How did the relationship come about and how has it been working with the brand?
I’ve been working with Marina Rinaldi for a few years, and have always appreciated its mission to design quality and fashionable clothing for curvy women who are often ignored in the luxury space. Working with the brand is great because it values my input and relationship with my fans, who are ultimately the customers and the reason why I made the collection.
Marina Rinaldi offers on-trend looks for a plus-size audience, but until very recently, it was all but impossible to find this kind of offering. What are your thoughts on plus sizes finally being catered to?
It’s about time! For so long, the fashion industry focused on one body type and, as a result, alienated a group of women who want that same access to fashion. We still have progress to make, but it’s brands like Marina Rinaldi that are pushing the boundaries and making luxury fashion available to more women.
To what do you attribute your success?
Determination and hard work, but most importantly, the many women who speak up about body positivity on a daily basis and demand to see themselves represented in mainstream fashion and media.
Name three career highlights so far.
My TED Talk – which was my first major public speech – along with being on the cover of major magazines like Sports Illustrated Swimsuit and now designing my own denim collection with Marina Rinaldi.
What do you think of the new term “curve model”? Do you think that having a term is even necessary?
I’m not a fan of labels and don’t think we should have to put anyone into categories. At IMG, all of the models are on the same board – there is no division. We are all equally worthy of all opportunities in the industry.
What’s one thing you wish you could go back in time and tell your former self?
One day, your body will change the world. Love the skin that you’re in because you are worthy of anything you want to accomplish, despite any insecurities you may have right now.
What are some general styling tips that you’ve picked up and could share with curvier women?
Don’t pay attention to the size, pay attention to the fit. I always try on clothes in multiple sizes and, sometimes, I have to size up or down to get that perfect fit.
One day, your body will change the world.
Are there any fashion trends you would recommend staying far away from?
Don’t listen to the “rules” that have been placed upon curvy women. Have fun and wear what makes you feel most confident. Dress for yourself and no one else.
You were in Milan promoting the brand’s denim range. Do you have a favorite piece?
I really love the denim moto jacket and bustier bodycon dress.
What are your top rules or tips when it comes to choosing denim for a curvier frame?
Fit should be your first priority. You want to make sure that the waist of the pants fits you comfortably and isn’t too tight or large. Stretch denim is great because it flatters various body types, whether you have a larger waist and smaller thighs or vice versa.
What is your wish for the fashion industry?
That everyone is able to see themselves represented in the industry.
What is your wish for the world?
To shop the ‘Ashley Graham Denim Collection’, click here.