It's Time to Celebrate Curves

While there are lots of brilliant fashion events in New Zealand every year, there are very few that cater to the plus size market, which is one that has also been underrepresented in mainstream fashion in the past. That is definitely changing though, with more labels catering to or specifically targeting women above a size 14.

This Saturday, November 7, Auckland will see its first major fashion show aimed at the plus size market as the Lovely Larger Ladies Fashion Event hosts a showcase of plus size labels for spring/summer 2015/2016.  The show has already generated a lot of publicity in the past couple of weeks so we wanted to find out more about the event and one of the women behind it, Regina Alai of fashion blog Regina & Peachtree.

FashioNZ: How did you get involved in fashion and what made you start a blog?

Regina Alai: I have always had an appetite for design and for woman with poise and it started from a young age – I was envious of women who dressed with grace, class and beauty, and through fashion the product gives off a representation of strength in a woman.  I attended AUT and completed some fashion study but found it extremely frustrating to be studying and designing to the tall, slim silhouette and I drifted away from the passion. Only in recent time, I have found I fit in a gap in New Zealand fashion.  I began blogging for this reason to make an impact, and from the blogging evolved the vision of the Lovely Larger Ladies fashion event.  Being a plus-size woman myself, the fashion world is an intimidating and prestige industry, all woman appreciate the power to look good, and there is a large percentage of woman who are from a size 14.

FNZ: Where did the idea for the fashion show come from and how did you go about creating it?

RA: The need for such an event was discovered through being a blogger for Regina & Peachtree but I did have my business partner Jessica Jo who is a designer for Paparazzi Dolls and followed me as a blogger; she approached me with the idea and I jumped on it without hesitation. It made sense! Although we have an amazing fashion week, there isn't an event the collectively celebrates retailers and designers for plus-size women.  It has been such a taskly project to try to gather reputable retailers to present a decent event as well as trying to gather sponsors to avoid accumulating unwanted costs. It has been through passion for the project that it has been thoroughly enjoyable, despite the volume of work required. Through the process we have gained huge interest from social media.  There came a time where my business partner and I needed a team as we were struggling to manage tasks on our own – so through social media we put out ads for volunteer coordinators to create a management team.  This year we have a management team of 6 and the tasks of seeking sponsors and volunteering services has been divided amongst them, and through the work of the team we have been successful.

FNZ: What has the reaction been like so far and how have you found the support from the local industry?

RA: The response from the public has been mostly positive and we are so grateful and astounded with the amount of support we have received from the general public.  Fortunately we have also gathered noble support from the retailers and designers involved to really present a good show.

FNZ: There still aren't that many plus size models in NZ, how did you go about casting your show?

RA: We put it out on social media as we wanted to gather all sorts of ladies of size, age and ethnicity to represent all women.  The method we chose has been perfect! Not only are the ladies we gathered absolutely beautiful, they all come with a real story to really be a true representation of NZ women.

FNZ: Who are the labels involved in the show?

RA: On the catwalk we have K&K Fashion, TS14+, The Carpenters Daughters, Victoria J, Paparazzi Dolls and Rita Sue, Roxy Ric Rac, Two Lippy Ladies, Miss La Rue Curvy, and ReDress.  We also have plus-size fashion blogger Meagan Kerr presenting as guest speaker, and the amazing celebrity stylist Sammy Salsa who will be conducting a Style Session for the curvy lady.

FNZ: Where do you see the future of plus size fashion heading?

RA: It is slightly unpredictable, but I do wish the trend for acceptance to be who you are regardless of your size within the fashion world, continues to trend and broaden to more plus-size fashion options in future.

FNZ: What do you love most about New Zealand fashion?

RA: We are so unique, and we are so in tune with all that happens on the international stage.  We are good at being a fashion forward country with our own unique twist.

The Lovely Larger Ladies Fashion Event is on Saturday 7th November at K’Road’s Ironbank. Doors open at 5pm and the show starts at 6pm. Tickets are available from Eventfinder.

Images by Mike Mikha Photography

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