Though mainstream fashion has yet to really recognize their impact, plus size bloggers are extremely influential when it comes to building brand loyalty and creating trends. Customers learn to trust their voices and aim to emulate their styles. Over the past year, there's been an increase of brands bringing on bloggers to design a capsule collection à la GabiFresh x SwimSexy, including Nicolette Mason for ModCloth and most recently Nadia Aboulhosn's collection for Boohoo.
And for plus-size fashion bloggers, I would like to think that designing a collection for a major brand (and having it sell very well) is pretty close to the top tier of success. But for some bloggers, the trajectory can be a little different. Blogging can be a way for them to parlay into designing their own brand. For others, designing comes first and blogging can be a way to further grow their brand. No matter how you spin it, juggling blogging and designing is a challenge not to go unrecognized.
As the blogger turned designer trend continues to gain popularity, I wanted to give a shoutout to some of my fellow indie designers who are also bloggers. Even though I have been designing and selling jewelry and clothing for more than three years, I started my blog, #StareStyle, a little over a year ago as a way to show my customers how I style pieces from my brand. Over the past year, I have had a lot of fun taking photos and styling Ready to Stare alongside pieces from other indie designers who I support. And while some designers may prefer to let their designs do the talking, I've found that my business has grown exponentially as I have made myself more visible.
Indie designers don't often have much advertising dollars or big name investors so you, the designer, can be your best asset. Here are a few plus-size women who manage to design by day, blog by night, or more likely design around the clock and blog when they have time.
1. Amina Mucciolo Of Studio Mucci
When I first saw a photo of Amina Mucciolo on Tumblr, I spent the next hour looking at more photos, reading her story, and lusting after everything in the Etsy shop that she runs with her husband. Mucciolo's brand, Studio Mucci, is a total reflection of her personal style — part whimsical, part boho, and like nothing you've ever seen before. In addition to tees, balloons, and laterns, Mucciolo is really known for her handcrafted tassel garlands, which explains the name of her blog, Tassel Fairy.
2. Shawna Of Chubby Cartwheels
Shawna is the brains (and the beauty) behind indie plus brand, Chubby Cartwheels. She's one of my personal favorite indie designers and has been hugely supportive of my brand and me, for which I am very grateful. Whether it's the signature mermaid leggings or the Natalie dress inspired by blogger Natalie Drue, Chubby Cartwheels is one of those brands in which you can totally recognize the pieces before reading the outfit details. On Shawna's blog, When In Doubt Wear Purple, you can catch her looking cute and styling pieces from her own line or from her fellow indie darling, Domino Dollhouse.
3. Jessica Hinkle Of Proud Mary Fashion
Jessica Hinkle runs the brand, Proud Mary Fashion, which is less than a year old; but Hinkle herself has been blogging and active in the plus community for years. A mix of vintage clothes, designer apparel, and statement accessories, Proud Mary Fashion's pieces have already made a huge splash in the indie plus scene. Hinkle can be found blogging stunning selfies or OOTDs featuring Proud Mary pieces over on her tumblr, FatFashion.
4. Tanesha Awasthi Of Girl With Curves
Tanesha Awasthi ran the hugely successful blog, Girl with Curves, before she ever started designing clothing for her collection of the same name. Her first collection debuted late November 2013 and featured a tutu that would become her signature and a trend in plus-size fashion that won't quit. When her first full clothing collection launched late 2014, it was clear that what her personal style readers knew and loved was translated flawlessly into her collection of plus-size runway-ready looks.
5. Elizabeth Denneau Of CandyStrike
Elizabeth Denneau is another designer who has been both supportive and hugely inspirational to me. Her brand CandyStrike is an indie favorite and Denneau is especially good at reinventing herself and trying new things such as screenprinting to create her own textiles or printing her own illustrations on bags. Denneau is set to release a new crop of pieces on May 17th, which she has been previewing over on her blog, Your Life in Design.
6. Sashagai Renee Ruddock And Garcia Marie Of Flaws of Couture
The blogging duo behind the Canadian-based brand Flaws of Couture is responsible for the tees, crops, and sweatshirts that pose the question, "Pretty for a Big Girl?" and the very clear response tee, "Pretty Period." I first found the brand though blogger Essie Golden and since then, I've seen the tees on plus-size bloggers everywhere. But the women behind the brand can be found regularly embracing their so-called flaws with OOTDs on their blog, Flaws of Couture.
7. Tracy Broxterman Of Domino Dollhouse
Domino Dollhouse is now a household name in the world of indie plus, but designer Tracy Broxterman actually started out as a blogger back in 2009 with her blog, Chubble Bubble, which she still maintains regularly. Whether it's '90s grunge or '50s pinup, Broxterman's brand is known for channeling the past and producing well-made clothing that women feel really good about wearing now and for decades to come. Broxterman has definitely set the bar high and served as an inspiration for me as a designer/blogger.
8. Karen Ward Of Your Big Sister's Closet
Karen Ward started her blog, Curvy Canadian, back in 2010 and she decided to create her own boutique, Your Big Sister's Closet, because she saw a need for plus-size women to feel inspired and have an additional place to shop both online and in person at a physical location in Toronto. You can catch Ward herself modeling on the shop's website or other well-known Canadian bloggers like Thera Warren of Cloud14+.
9. Liesl Binx
I first found out about the self-titled brand Liesel Binx when I was at a New York shopping event and was in awe of blogger Curvily wearing a Liesel Binx sheer organza dress. In a space that can certainly be over-saturated with spandex and anything stretch, Binx opts to buck plus-size fashion trends and focuses on garment construction and tailoring. You can catch the woman behind these designs sporting her on pieces on her tumblr, LieslBinx.
10. Amarina of UrsaMajor+
Amarina is responsible for the Canadian-based vintage plus brand, UrsaMajor+. Anyone plus-size who has ever tried to shop at a vintage store knows you'll be weeding through a lot of size 2 acid wash overalls before you find something in your size (if at all) which is why what Amarina does is so important. In addition to selling plus-size vintage, the brand also recently partnered with Canadian label, Untitled & Co. to also help the void of plus-size streetwear. You can catch a glimpse of Amarina's personal style on her blog from time to time but every hump day you can count on being inspired by her #WomanCrushWednesday.
11. Ashley Nell Tipton
Ashley Nell Tipton is one of those designers who people get very excited about, and rightfully so. Her designs are bright, fun and reminiscent of something you bought in the '90s and wish you had never given away. And while she sadly has not been very active on her blog as of late, you can still catch her modeling her pieces in her shop and looking totally adorable while doing so.
Images: Courtesy Tassel Fairy, When In Doubt Wear Purple, FatFashion/Tumblr, Girl with Curves, Your Life in Design, Flaws of Couture, Chubble Bubble, Curvy Canadian, LieselBinx/Tumblr, UrsaMajor+, AshleyNellTipton/Tumblr