In 2011, fashion blogger and co-founder of the plus-size clothing line Premme Gabi Gregg broke the internet by posting a photo of herself on social media wearing a striped bikini with the hashtag #fatkini in the caption. Since, she’s become a fierce advocate for diversity in the fashion industry.
“Inclusivity is important because it directly impacts people’s self-worth,” she explains. “When you only see certain sizes represented in the media, or are left out of the shopping experience because your size literally doesn’t exist in stores, how are you not left feeling less-than?”
She believes that the only way to truly effect change is by including all sizes, not only in the media’s portrayal of women but also in retail.
“We have come a long way, but we still need and deserve way more retail options,” she explains. While recent studies report that in the U.S. the average woman wears between a size 16 and 18, only a handful of brands cater to this demographic. “There are currently about five [brands] that consistently provide quality and on-trend designs, which isn’t nearly enough nor anywhere near what straight-size shoppers have.”
Gregg also notes that to achieve true diversity, the needle needs to move in more ways than one.
“We also need more representation when it comes to race, size, shape and ability. It’s nice that size 14, hourglass- figure light-skinned women are finally being seen, but there is so much more diversity necessary before it feels like true progress.”
To help accelerate this progress, she urges consumers to join the conversation.
“Call out brands, public figures and even friends when they see something that harms larger folks,” Gregg says. “Social media has really changed things. Regardless of who you are, you are able to leave feedback and get the word out when you see something that you know is not okay.”
With summer right around the corner, Gabi recommends focusing on friends rather than fashion.
“Go to the beach or pool with a group of supportive, body positive friends,” she says, also urging women to find swimwear that matches their street style. “Long gone are the days of being forced to buy matronly floral prints and skirted one pieces. We have so many options now that are fashion-forward and on trend. Your confidence will skyrocket if you’re wearing something you love.”