I was invited by Brandee Bailous, plus size model and designer of the House of Bobinski, who came to an audition for one of my fashion shows a few years back. Me and my home girl Antiniec hopped on the rode for the two hour drive to Columbus, not knowing what to expect from this show. When we arrived the building was already STACKED with people sitting shoulder to shoulder around the stage that jutted out into the center of the room. Some guests were placed on the side of the stage as seating for VIP ran out- I wondered what the audience knew about this show that I didn't.
I did not have to wait long as the show opened and the models came out in all their voluptuous glory- beautiful ladies of all shapes, sizes 12 and up, with skin tones ranging from pale white to the darkest chocolate and every shade in between. The ladies got into FORMATION on that stage and the crowd went nuts which caused me to get excited lol. The ladies looked so good and so much in sync that you could tell two things- that they had practiced for a very long time, and that they genuinely liked each other- cause you just don't move like that with people you don't like lol.
The show was long, but fast paced and moved quickly thanks to an awesome host who kept things rolling and those ladies walked for their LIIIIVES ok! I really enjoyed the show overall mainly because it was highly entertaining, but a few things stood out to me like:
1. I Wanted That.. and That and That Too: The fact that both independent designers and boutiques participated in this show gave such a large variety of fashion that I found myself zoning out while taking mental notes of what pieces I would personally wear, what I would use for an editorial shoot, a commercial shoot, a fashion video and in a fashion show- like an editor from the hottest high fashion plus size publication that ain't even out yet. That perfect blend of fashion and style was awesome to see on all those bodies.
2. The Models were 'Real Women': I adored the the fact that all the models were not carbon copies of the big breasted, flat stomach, dangerous curves ahead, hourglass shaped, Instagram boutique waist trainer wearing girls we see all the time. These women were petite, tall, average height, slim thick, thick boned and big stomached, they gave us rolls, stretch marks and back fat realness and I was here for it ALL!
3. They gave HIGH FASHION: Some of those designs looked like they were fresh off the Parisian runway and I loved that they did not hold back on the fashion. Sometimes these types of shows are more about the entertainment- which is fine- but that was definitely not the case up on that stage. There was sequins, stripes, contrasting shades, print mixing, sheer panels, bold colors and wild prints, furs, florals, mini skirts, tea length and floor sweeping gowns, capes, lots of volume and everything else big girls are told to stay away from. Those ladies gave us all a lesson in confidence and wearibility ok!
4. The Lingerie Scene: Y'all. When I tell you that scene GAVE LIFE, DEATH AND HIGH CLASS SEXY DRAMA in a way that cannot be described! That scene was so real and so sexy, several of us stood up out our seats and gave those confident ladies a standing ovation. Strutting out to Shabba Ranks and R.Kelley in the sexiest, most revealing, leave nothing to the imagination lingerie were plus size ladies with T&A for days, cellulite and wobbly bits be damned, they looked great and EVERYBODY in that room agreed!
5. The Purpose Behind the Show: I can't lie, it touched my soul when the producer of the show stated that this was for the girls who have been told no- they were too short, not the right proportions, or whatever and that this was more than just a fashion show, but an actual movement and a sisterhood. And you could tell just by looking at the women up there on that stage. The confidence and sauce levels were through the roof and I wished every plus size women could have felt all that positive energy and love radiating from the stage.
6. The Audience was Lit: I have been to so many shows, but never have I witnessed crowd participation to that extreme before. You know how at an event, most people cheer for whoever they came to see? Not at this show- I felt like we were a big happy family of about eight hundred watching our favorite niece cross that stage. They went in for every single model and it was so refreshing and energetic that it almost brought tears to my eyes. It really was a "if you cheer for one, you cheer for all of us" type of situation and I was here for it.
I truly believe organizations like Curve the Runway Ohio should have a chapter in every city. Although fashion is slowly changing, it is still a very exclusive industry that turns its nose up and plays favoritism. But what about those of us who physically can't or just refuse to conform? Some shows exclude plus size women, claiming the designers they choose only make up to a certain size- never mind the fact that more than half of the audience watching can't even wear their garments due to the size constraints. Instead of asking other designers with a larger range of sizes to participate they exclude a whole group of ladies who love to rip the runway as well. When will they understand that big girls are here to SLAY?