Q: Swimsuitsforall.com meets a very real need for women who want to both look and feel good poolside, but don’t have a ton of options for their figure. Do you think things have changed when it comes to choices since your first collaboration?
A: Oh definitely! The first year, there were very few other retailers even offering swimwear to a young, hip demographic. It was super hard to find bikinis in my size. Now, they’re everywhere! Almost every plus size retailer sells bikinis now, and I think a lot of it had to do with the success of my first collection. We still have a long ways to go overall though. We aren’t anywhere near straight sizes when it comes to the amount of stores and designers who cater to us, and we still aren’t visible enough.
Q: Representation for curvy women has been at the forefront of the fashion conversation of late. What changes do you hope to see this year? In the next five years?
A: I hope things keep moving forward in 2016 and we see more and more brands launching. I hope existing brands break more rules and push more boundaries. And I hope to see more diverse plus size models in ads, editorials, and runways. In the next five, I hope walking into a mall and finding my size in multiple stores isn’t a crazy idea.
Q: “Countess” and “Queen” are just some of the names of the styles in your collection, showing that you want women to feel regal and gorgeous in your designs. Do you have a tip on bikini-wearing confidence that women can use if they feel a bit scared to flaunt their curves on the beach?
A: I think browsing social media and seeing other women who look like you in bikinis is super helpful. Since representation isn’t there as much in mainstream media, we have to find other ways to see ourselves reflected. My collection also offers various options when it comes to showing skin, from high-waisted bottoms to one piece suits and cover-ups, so you can still be stylish but a bit more covered if you’re self-conscious.
Lastly, I just remind people that it’s rare for anyone else at a beach or pool to be judging you. Whenever I go, there are people of all ages and sizes just having fun! We internalize this message from the media about needing to look a certain way, but in reality the beach is full of people enjoying their day with their friends or family.