LOFT's new campaign includes its own holiday: February 20 or National LOFTimist Day. It's a day intended to highlight the power of collective optimism, and twenty women — aka “LOFTimists” — were tapped for the initiative. The cast includes artists, advocates, and entrepreneurs who truly exemplify a positive spirit, from petite model Maria Sivakova to youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman. CeCe Olisa, co-founder of the body positivity convention known as theCURVYcon, is one of those women, and she has some valuable advice for anyone struggling under the weight of pessimism.
“For me, optimism is having faith that everything is going to be OK, and the way I maintain that is by looking backwards,” Olisa tells Bustle. “Every guy that I’ve dated is better than the one before and has made me grateful that I have broken up with him. Every job that I’ve had has been better than the job before it, so even if I had to quit a toxic job or even get let go, it’s always led me to something better.”
Olisa founded theCURVYcon alongside plus-size blogger Chastity Garner back in 2015. It began as a sold-out event with 500 people on one floor of a tiny venue. Now, it's a four day convention during New York Fashion Week that attracts thousands of attendees.
“theCURVYcon is my way of giving plus-size women a cool space to come, hang out, and feel good about themselves, and meet women who are doing the same," Olisa shares. "I always say theCURVYcon is my first baby, and she has grown up to be so beautiful and cute — I’m so proud of her.”
Despite its sweeping evolution, theCURVYcon's mission of empowerment has remained the same: highlighting people who are doing impactful work for and within the plus-size community.
“I am about using theCURVYcon to elevate other women,” she shares. “We had Lizzo on our stage before she was Lizzo, in 2018. We have created a platform where plus-size women of different talents can come on our stage, show what they’re made of, and if they’re good, the world will receive them. Lizzo is a great example of that.”
“Our inaugural show is called The CeCe Olisa Radio Hour, and my favorite episode so far is called, ‘I’m a virgin who can’t drive: how to meet your husband,’” Olisa says. “Starting a business taught me that sometimes your first business isn’t going to be your most successful, and it’s okay to walk away if there’s something else that might be more impactful.”
Today, all LOFT locations are giving customers an extra 20% off purchases in-store and online. And in an effort to share the LOFTimism and pay it forward, the brand will also make a $20,000 donation to its charitable partner, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.