Article by Ada Mbogu
Photography by Saundra Heath
What do you get when you mix cutting edge designs, beautiful, curvy women and a dosage of elegance?-an extravagant runway show celebrating full figured women and culture.
Women of all shades, shapes and colors gathered in the Financial District’s illustrious Broad Street Ballroom to view the latest styles hitting the scene at the Indie Designer Showcase this past Friday.
As part of Full Figured Fashion Week, the runway show showcased individual designers creating fabulous looks for plus size women; something that has not been done often within the fashion industry.
This year’s Indie Designer showcase pushed the envelope on what plus size fashion is really all about. Instead of using over-sized garments, unflattering silhouettes and daunting patterns that your own grandmother wouldn’t wear, the designs painted a beautiful portrait of a woman decked out in trendy and bold styles that accentuate her curves while still looking fierce.
The show began with a performance by trio singing group, The Glamazons, who brought their sex appeal and raw energy to the runway.
The beautiful models graced the runway next wearing designs by On Oz, which featured figure hugging Midi dresses and my personal favorite, an ivory knee length dress complete with flowered accented shoulders.
Next up was Amiiee, whose designs brought more of an elegant meets chic vibe to the runway with her collection. The dresses and garments were paired bold and flavorful prints, and rich colors, while each model looked sassy strutting their stuff.
ZMJ Denim showcased a unique collection of curvy models breaking down the stereotype that full figured women can’t look sexy rocking denim jeans. Between a standard white denim ensemble and beautiful black and white floral denim suit with an embellished neckline, nothing says I’m comfortable in my skin more by wearing and looking fabulous in a pair of jeans.
But perhaps some of the crowds (and my personal) favorite designs were from The Skinny Billionairess and Rue 114, who happened to win The 2013 Designer of the Year award.
The Skinny Billionairess’s rendition of a Greek Goddess came in full swing while models walked down the runway wearing breathtaking gowns of stoic colors, patterns and thigh high splits.
Rue 114 made a tidal wave on the runway, infusing African print designs with a modern twist. The crowd was excited to see how the African aesthetic can intertwine and be worn so uniquely by full figured women.
Other designers featured in the Indie showcase were Elocin, Nakimoli, Tru Diva Designs, Youtheary Khmer, huudaverti, T~TymeLady Couture, Live Unlimited London and Sean Anthony Designs Inc., each dropping heavy heat with their collections, while the vivacious crowd savored every moment.
But behind every great show, is a great mind and innovator who was able to follow her goals and turn them into success.
Since 2009, Gwendolyn Devoe, who was host of the runway show and is the creative and executive producer of Full Figured Fashion Week, has seen her vision come alive with the events getting larger and more innovative and more importanly, being able to empower curvy women to remain confident and stay beautiful.
“Today Full Figured Fashion Week offers 20 events and 4 runway shows featuring 50 curvy models selected from a 13-city national tour,” said Devoe.
“As we celebrate 5 years of confident, beautiful women of all sizes, but also we hope to celebrate and empower not only plus size women but the plus size fashion industry as a whole.”