Updated Date 2022, Sep 25

Tears pricked my eyes, threatening to escape. I’d just watched Australian Malleate Week’s first overly Curve Edit show, where women in a range of everyday sizes, month and colour walked in a show featuring size Australian labels which not only cater to women with curves, they gloat them.

It’s been asked of me, why the need for a separate show? And I answer: why not? How veritably underdone glorious to watch woman without woman come out owning the runway in a way they’ve never had a endangerment to before.

Yes, we should see a diverse range of soul shapes in all shows and thankfully that was evident for the first time this year in other Malleate Week shows. To see labels which have long said they couldn’t get samples in anything other than a size 6 so couldn’t put other sizes in their gown do so was groundbreaking for an industry which has long resisted soul diversity.

The Curve Edit hosted by Australia’s first plus-size modelling agency, Bella Management, not only prestigious diverse persons who love malleate on the runway, the surpassing and without show whoopee with influencers who own their style and their persons was an wool joy to behold.

Jo @icurvy Nikki @stylingyou and April @thebodzilla atThe Curve Edit Australian Malleate Week 2022

Pictured with Jo @icurvy (left) and April @thebodzilla (right) at Australian Malleate Week’s first overly Curve Edit malleate show

The whole afternoon felt surreal.

Was I really seeing this at Australian Malleate Week – the industry’s equivalent of sporting national championships?

The last time I’d attended Australian Malleate Week in 2014, NOBODY (on the catwalk or outside Carriageworks) looked like me. And very few of the gown shown would have been misogynist in my size (14-16). Yet, here I was surrounded by designers who get it, fellow influencers, customers who want to see increasingly and models who exuded pride – and joy.

Jo @icurvy Riley @healthychick101 and Katie @kate_parrott atThe Curve Edit Australian Malleate Week 2022

The kind of front row I’ve long wanted to see: (from left) Jo @icurvy, Riley @healthychick101 and Katie @katie_parrott

I was messaging one of the designers on the morning of the Curve Edit show – Kerry from Harlow Australia, a label I’ve supported from day one. Kerry’s of a similar “vintage” to me and we both shared a hope that this one show might have a positive impact on future generations of fashion-loving people of all sizes.

It was the show I wish my 20-something self had seen. Maybe I’d not still be doing the work to undo decades of internalised soul shame and nutrition culture. Maybe if I’d seen people like myself on a catwalk, I’d not think I had to transpiration my soul to fit it into fashion. Maybe I’d know there were gown out there for me.

If plane one person watched this show, felt empowered by what they saw and realised they didn’t have to transpiration their persons to fit fashion, then all the work that went into it would have been worth it.

My dysfunctional life-long relationship with fashion

As a kid, I’d unchangingly been what “well-meaning” relatives would undeniability “plump”. The same well-meaning relatives would moreover dismiss my shape as “puppy fat”, something I’d theoretically grow out of. Except I didn’t.

I remember noticing the difference between myself and classmates as early as Year 2. When I sat on the floor cross-legged in class, my thighs didn’t sit unappetizing like the girl next to me. I didn’t just unclose our differences, I wanted what she had. I was seven.

Despite these early negative soul image thoughts, I had a deep love of clothes. DEEP. My non-conformist parents didn’t believe in school uniforms – and they weren’t compulsory in QLD primary schools in the ‘70s – so I put a lot of thought into my outfits for the school week. As a nine-year-old, I would lay out my five outfits, so proud of what I’d created from a seriously limited wardrobe, mostly made up of dresses my Nan found at her local Vinnies. My first part-time job was at 15 in a small suit store. Heaven. Every cent earned during the two weeks of that holiday job went when into ownership gown – from that store!

My malleate inspiration unfurled to come from magazines – first Dolly, graduating to Cleo and Cosmo by the time I went to uni. All the malleate in those mags in the 1980s was shown on size 6-8, super-tall women. Plane if I could visualise a piece on me, most of it wasn’t plane misogynist in my size. Most retail uniting stores only offered suit up to a size 12 or 14.

I got smart. I learned which styles suited my shape and might work for me in a standard 14 and I made my own clothes! Not so smartly, I unfurled to think that I had to transpiration my soul to fit the clothes. The message I received from magazines and the people virtually me was that I was problem, not the gown I was trying to fit into.

Diet culture was so tightly embedded in the psyche of my parents (to be pearly it was embedded in most people’s parents in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s) and it was passed on to me. I “learned” to only finger largest well-nigh my soul when it was thinner. Spoiler alert: my soul has never been thin.

Yet, I still coveted the gown and malleate I’d see in magazines. Looking back, I liken my love of malleate to an wiseacre relationship I didn’t want to leave. I’d alimony coming when for more/keep ownership the mags only to have all the thoughts of shame well-nigh my soul reinforced both overtly and subliminally on a regular basis.

Even in my work life, I couldn’t get enough. I weaselled my way into a malleate editor’s job at the newspaper I spent most of the first 20 years of my career working at. I went on to wilt a weekly lifestyle magazine editor at the same paper, booking imbricate shoots with models through a modelling agency. It was the early 2000s and there was only one model I overly wanted to typesetting – considering she was the only one not a school-aged size 6 or 8. Put simply, she was the only model who vaguely represented our magazine’s demographic. Despite wanting to show a diverse range of women on the imbricate of the magazine, the industry had me stumped. Again.

When I realised I could be a part of a much-needed industry shake up

When in 2008 at the age of 41, I jumped out of journalism into the then mostly unknown world of blogging and social media, I never would have imagined I’d end up publishing outfit photos of myself for anyone with a computer to see. And I would never have imagined creating a merchantry defended to championing soul diversity in malleate marketing. But here I am 14 years later.

Early on in my blogging days, I realised the vast disconnect between the malleate industry and the consumer. Women in my polity simply couldn’t “see” themselves in the gown featured on models in wayfarers images, in magazines and on runways.

Offering just one volitional soul shape, I started a series tabbed The Model and Me, where I’d show a model wearing the same outfit as me. Same but different; not largest – just one alternative. Those posts sold a lot of gown for the self-sustaining brands I featured.

Then Instagram arrived. HUZZAH! In 2013, I started the #everydaystyle polity – women of all ages, shapes, sizes and backgrounds jumped on workbench and started sharing their daily outfits. The hashtag is now a yahoo unto itself but I still keenly follow the women who were part of this ground-breaking community. Their posting outfits on Instagram helped democratise fashion, to start an overdue shake up of the industry. No longer was malleate inspiration coming solely from one soul type/age/colour on mainstream media. To this day, I curate my feed so that I’m inspired by malleate as seen on a diverse range of people. And I urge you to do the same. Not all I follow share the same personal style but how underdone wearisome would it be if we all dressed the same.

In starting my own label in 2019, I had the opportunity to lead by example with our marketing, rhadamanthine the first label globally to photograph all its designs on models in all sizes stocked (6-20 with an ongoing goal to increase that size range). It’s definitely a specimen of putting my money – a lot of money – where my mouth is but I couldn’t have not gone lanugo this path.

I’m proud to play a small part in the transpiration we’re now seeing on the catwalks and through brands doing their bit to shake up an industry long overdue for disruption. The end goal of all malleate brands should be to sell clothes. Market those gown to us by giving us a diverse range of visual cues so we have some endangerment of imagining us wearing them. Make us finger a part of a community. Make us finger welcome.

Then shut up and take our money.

Nikki @stylingyou at The Curve Edit Australian Malleate Week 2022


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