On Thursday July 7, two of plus size fashion's most popular bloggers teamed up with size inclusive retailer Rebdolls to create sexy and fun swimsuits in sizes S to 5X. Essie Golden and Chanté Burkett of Everything Curvy And Chic are giving us a collection that not only focuses on trendy styles, but pays special attention to support and fit for actual plus size bodies.
Both Golden and Burkett had experimented with swimwear from Rebdolls in the past, and noticed a lack of support for individuals with their body types. The duo brought their concerns to the brand and pitched a collaboration collection that might address their needs. Rebdolls was on board.
"It's always nice to work with brands that value your voice," Golden tells me via email. "Rebdolls really paid attention and was willing to work with us. Creatively, they let us do whatever we wanted. No idea was too big or small. I forever love them for that."
Burkett adds that she's still in shock over Rebdolls taking a chance on them after she and Golden pitched the idea. But to Rebdolls Founder & CEO Grisel Paula, this collaboration was long overdue.
"They both have a unique style which we have been fans of," Paula shares with me via email. "Chanté is more simplistic and classic where Essie is more outspoken and daring with her style. When both of these are combined, you get the perfect recipe for an amazing collection."
E&C Rebdolls "Sweet Thing" Zip-Up Swimsuit, $65, Rebdolls; E&C Rebdolls "Bananas About You" Laced-Up Swim Bottoms, $36.50, Rebdolls; E&C Rebdolls "Bananas About You" Laced-Up Swim Top, $36.50, Rebdolls
Golden and Burkett are undoubtedly both blogger powerhouses in their own right, but it's clear that their individual personal styles came together seamlessly to create this 10-piece collection, with all items ranging from $32.50 to $69. From designing the pieces to selecting the fabrics, making the products, and shooting the lookbook, they did it all in three weeks.
Burkett and Golden each created five pieces, and have their own personal favorites. For Golden, it's the "Shane," a '90s-inspired high-cut swimsuit, and the "Good Vibes Only" one-piece. Burkett, on the other hand, loves the chocolate two-piece called "Godiva Paradise" and the "Beach Babe" one-piece.
"I have to give major kudos to designers," Golden tells me. "It looks so easy from the outside looking in, but it is really hard work. To make sure you're offering something different than what's being offered, have a great fit, and also offer something that is affordable. It's hard. We both really took the time out to find fabrics that really spoke to us and fun prints that people would love."
At the top of the priority list for both Burkett and Golden was the need for support as well as the desire to design pieces that didn't already exist in plus sizes. From creative cut-out one-pieces in fun patterns to sexy lace-up bottoms and vintage-inspired bikini tops, this collection has a little something for everyone who isn't afraid to stand out. And there's thoughtfulness behind each detail.
"What I love about this collection are the 'added surprises' in each swimsuit," says Paula. "Whether it's an extra strap for functionality and support or a hidden cut-out that's sexy [...] We are thrilled to have partnered with this duo and we're super excited to present this collection."
One of the major benefits to blogger collaboration collections is arguably having a plus size consumer who understands the challenges of the plus size shopping experience entrenched in the design process. Looking through this line and being a long-time follower of both Golden and Burkett, I not only saw the infusion of their personal styles, but functionality, original cuts, and aesthetics that would fit and support a number of body types.
"Women with body types like ours are the ones purchasing these swimsuits or any clothing item for that matter," says Golden. "I feel like our opinions of what we want are often left out of the designing conversations. Outside of a few brands like Rebdolls and ELOQUII, they design what they think we want instead of listening to our wants and needs. I'm anywhere between a size 18 to 24. I want to wear form fitting items, bold prints, and cut-outs. I also want support and comfort. Designing this collection made me realize that even though it is hard to make all of that happen, it's possible! I feel like we receive so many excuses, especially women above a size 20, [as to] why we can't have what we want. It was nice to be able to design for women like myself."
With many plus size swimwear lines only being offered up to a size 24, or sometimes only up to a 20, and regularly modeled by size 14-and-under women, it's nothing short of significant to see a swimwear collection available up to a size 5X that is designed and modeled by two black women over a size 16. Pushing representation and inclusion forward is one way that blogger collaborations like this can make an impact when it comes to changing who is seen as able to participate in fashion.
"It is very important to me to see someone my size and race in the media," says Burkett. "My blackness is just as dope as the next race. Girls/women need see others that look just like them in campaigns."
The E&C x Rebdolls swimwear collaboration is just the beginning of a promising partnership. Rebdolls is the presenting sponsor at the Miami Edition of the Golden Confidence Pool Party hosted by Burkett on Aug. 13. And although neither Golden nor Burkett can say exactly what is next for this pairing, they assured me that there will be more E&C x Rebdolls magic to come in the future.
Images: Courtesy Rebdolls