Corrine Lynskey from Curated Curves. Image supplied.
Corrine Lynskey wanted to be able to buy clothing from somewhere that felt like a vintage boutique, stocked with curve-friendly secondhand gems alongside new pieces. Locally based (because nobody likes exorbitant shipping prices, or waiting a week for their order to arrive!), with lots of brands in one place. Corrine couldn’t find a store like that in New Zealand, so she founded Curated Curves from her home in Whakatāne in 2018 – an online store with a selection of handpicked plus size clothing in size 14-30.
We caught up with Corrine to find out more about her store, what inspires her and empowerment through fashion.
How did Curated Curves come about and what has the response been like so far?
Curated Curves basically came about because I couldn’t find the type of store that I wanted to shop at as a size 14+.
I wanted to see fun, non-astronomically-priced plus-size fashion in a variety of labels, as well as a secondhand boutique – only online! Somewhere I didn’t have to wonder “… will anything in here fit me?” (because everything would be plus-sized!), or spend hours rifling through hangers of straight-sized garments first. The response has been fantastic; what started as a dream is now a business that’s almost in its third year!
You stock both new and pre-loved pieces at Curated Curves – what do you consider when you’re curating the range?
My two non-negotiables are that every piece that’s stocked must be a) fabulous – maybe it flows magnificently, is the most delicious shade of pink, or is adorned with an incredible print; and b) something that I would happily wear myself – ill-fitting, uncomfortable, pilling and poorly-made garments simply won’t do.
Looks from the Curated Curves range.
How would you describe the Curated Curves customer and what do you think they’re looking for when they shop with you?
After years of hearing the likes of, “but plus-sized women shouldn’t wear stripes! Don’t you think black would disguise your figure better? Flatter your body! HIDE!”, the Curated Curves customer is someone who is enjoying taking up space, and dressing for herself. She probably has an eye for colour, sparkles and anything that’s a little unusual, but above all, she’s hunting for clothing which not only looks magnificent, but makes her feel magnificent, too.
She understands the environmental benefits of pre-loved fashion, but she may also only be beginning to dip her toes into the pool of it. People often say to me, “well I’d love to wear more recycled clothing, but ugh, it’s always so ugly!” I like to think that Curated Curves is helping plus size consumers to see that secondhand needn’t equate to hideous at all.
Are there any misconceptions you’ve encountered about plus size fashion so far?
Plus size fashion has come a long way over the years (even since I started Curated Curves), but I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that if you’re beyond a certain size, you surely must want to blend in, and minimise your body as much as possible. No, no. I don’t think that’s what plus size women want (I mean, it’s certainly not what I want!) at all. We want to stand out and let our personality shine through our clothing, just as much as anyone else!
How important is it for women to lift each other up and what does that mean to you?
Hugely. When we lift each other up, our vision for what’s possible expands, and we become more encouraging and loving towards ourselves, too.
In what way can the fashion industry be used as a tool for good? Can feminism and fashion co-exist?
I absolutely think that fashion and feminism can co-exist! I like to view fashion as a tool for empowerment; something which helps to give us the confidence to move through the world a different way, and show up as our very best selves. No doubt about it, I am infinitely happier and bolder in sequins!
What do you think we should all be doing as individuals to consume fashion more responsibly?
We could all be more mindful of what we’re buying. It’s super easy to think “that dress is only $10! I’m practically going to be saving money by purchasing it!”, but it’s not really a bargain if it’s going to end up unworn and in landfill. We could also incorporate more secondhand wares into our wardrobe, then we’d be making excellent progress.
Looks from the Curated Curves range.
There has been an increasing awareness from consumers and the industry about the issues around creating products ethically and sustainably. What factors do you take into account when you personally shop from brands?
I’m far from perfect, while I’d love to tell you that I only ever purchase ethically-constructed pieces constructed from natural fabrics, it unfortunately wouldn’t be true. Some factors I’m beginning to consider more and more are where things were made, how they were made and what they have been created from.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received that you keep referring back to?
One of my aunties once said to me, “if you want something badly enough, you’ll usually find a way to make it happen”, and I don’t think I’ve heard “you can’t…” – or any setback – as anything other than “there’s always a solution; you just haven’t found it yet” since!
Where can we find you when you’re not working and how do you relax?
A helpful interjection from Corrine’s partner: “YOU DON’T RELAX!” Busted!
Seriously though, you’ll find me in Whakatāne, a beautiful little seaside town on the East Coast where it basically feels like you’re on holiday all the time, spending time with my favourite humans: my partner Casey, and my two children, Charlie and Brady.
What are your goals for the future?
I once thought that the biggest and best thing I could do business-wise would be to create my own clothing line, but my perspective has changed. Now I get really excited thinking about hosting workshops which teach people how to upcycle and/or repair existing items, organising more clothing swaps (Curated Curves held its first exchange last month!), and maybe opening a physical shop!
Meagan Kerr also writes at This is Meagan Kerr.