Body positivity has come a long way from it’s beginnings among pro-feminist blogs. In the last ten years, as the influence of the internet has become more pervasive and the influence of fashion editors and photographers wane, many have seen the conversation shift to the sizist nature of modern fashion.
In 1994, the fashion industry became incredibly obsessed with the waifish figure, coining the term ‘heroin chic’ to describe a look that mimic’ed the drugged out, diseased bodies of addicts. Models were threatened and sometimes outrightly forced to lose unhealthy amounts of weight to stay relevant and designers made clothes only for the heroin chic. The fashion cycle churned and across the world dieting plans and pills surged. We have come a long way from those dark days, and have acknowledged that bulimia and anorexia are very real ailments that arise as a consequence of pursuing the elusive size zero. We know now that a person can be fat and healthy and a person can be thin and morbidly ill, we accept now that plus size women deserve clothes too.
One of the reasons this has happened is the autonomy of the internet. Before the fashion blogger age, our icons were creations of the newspapers and magazines. Now, community can be found anywhere and with community, comes the power to push for things, like better fitting clothes for plus-size women.
Nigeria might have been somewhat backward in this trend but we are catching up very fast, brands have come up to fill the need for plus-size made in Nigeria by Nigerian plus-size clothing. These are a few that we like.
With their eccentric silhouettes and vibrant prints, MaBello Clothiers was the first Nigerian plus-size label to host fashion shows and exhibitions, allowing plus size models and customers enjoy the privilege of the runway experience with outfits made specifically for them. Since then, the brand has gone on to release three collections and continues to dress other bodied women with joy. Most recently, MaBello signed a concession deal with retailer Zazaii, so want a dress? Go there.
VALIENTE BY TOBI OGUNDIPE
Tobi Ogundipe isn’t just a vibrant, fashionable plus size woman, she is also a strong advocate of plus size women enjoying and embracing their bodies. With this in mind, she created Valiente, a plus-size styling agency and fashion label. Valiente released it’s first collection in late 2015 and hasn’t looked back.
Created by Tope Olagbegi, another fabulous plus size fashionista, Rehabiah is a high concept plus size fashion house that creates bespoke pieces for private clientele and has a ready to wear line for the woman on the go. She released three capsule collections in 2014; ‘The Butterfly’ ‘The Boyfriend’ and ‘The Samurai,’ inspired by various influences, all designed to allow plus size women embrace their curves.
The proponent of ‘Fat-Kini,’ plus sized fashion blogger Gabi Fresh has been on the forefront of encouraging women to enjoy their bodies no matter what weight category they are in. She launched into swimwear in 2013, championing the fat-kini and taking it from pariah object to it’s now sexy status. A firm believer in practising what she preaches, Gabifresh stars in all her promotional material, showing that if she can do it, you can too. Her bikinis are retailed at SwimsuitsForAll.com and here is a video of her campaign for her newest collection.