You’ve heard it from Nigel in The Devil Wears Prada: size 0 is the new 2, and size 6 is the new 8. This is the pressure that we receive not only from rail-thin models in ads and editorials, but also from designers who don’t even offer clothes in sizes beyond 10. Abby Z. is trying to change that with her namesake collection, which specializes in designs from sizes 12 to 24. With popular HSN appearances and celebrity support, Abby Z. is growing fast. We recently chatted with her to find out what exactly she means by “sexy at every size”!
Fashion Pulse Daily: With V Magazine’s recent plus-size editorial and increasing exposure of plus-size models in mainstream fashion magazines, the industry seems to have become more accepting of curvier girls. But these features are usually one-off, maybe a tad bit gimmicky in their celebratory nature, themed around plus sizes. Do you think plus-size models will ever go beyond that level to really become part of the fashion norm/mainstream?
Abby Z.: I think plus-size modeling has come a long way with the partnership of Abby Z and HSN selling all sizes on live TV [and] having four live models [who] are all different sized women. [It] is my goal that women will feel sexy at every size.
FPD: As a stylist and a designer, what do you think is the major difference between designing for thin girls and more curvier ones?
AZ: There is no difference on designing; the difference is in the fit.
FPD: How did your own experience of being a plus-size girl influence you as a designer?
AZ: My passion and desire as a woman and a designer is to be able to shop with my girlfriends. Today the department stores still separate the skinnies from the curvies.
FPD: As a fashion industry veteran, how did your first-hand experience inspire you to design for bigger girls?
AZ: “SEX IN THE CITY gone Large” …. April 2004 I went on TV as well as presented to Saks Fifth Avenue my first curvy collection, which was completely inspired by the TV show Sex In The City. Saks Fifth Avenue successfully launched my first Abby Z. Collection in July 2004.
FPD: What is the hardest thing about running a line specifically for the plus-size market?
AZ: The hardest thing is women committing to their size. Women purchasing at retail that are sizes 12 and over have to commit to the size they are wearing today and enjoy the clothing.
FPD: Any styling tips for plus-sizes you’d like to share?
AZ: What flatters you most a v-neck top vs a crew neck. It is ok to show your cleavage. If you have big calves and you can’t tuck your jeans into your boots, wear capris and buy those hot boots you have always wanted.
FPD: You often work with plus-size models yourself. What do you think their future will be?
AZ: Plus size models have a bright future ahead with the majority of the population being over a size 12. And the fashion magazines have begun to show all sized women.
FPD: For many plus-sized girls, it’s more than a problem of clothes; it’s also the lack of self-confidence caused by the pressure of social norms about weight. What is the message Abby Z. wants to send to these girls?
AZ: You are sexy at every size and in our “its good to be me” campaign all women [should know that].
– Justina Lee