Kellie Brown, a fashion, beauty and travel blogger and a major influencer in the industry, is inspiring others with her epic Instagram hashtag, #fatatfashionweek.
Brown created the hashtag after she said diverse women were not being photographed during fashion week.
Since then, #fatatfashionweek has prompted women of all shapes and sizes to share images of their own street style on the social network.
As we head into Milan and Paris' fashion weeks, Brown shared how her movement is empowering women across the globe.
Read on for Brown, in her own words.
How #fatatfashionweek was born
Fashion Week rolls around and each season there are so few of us [plus-size women] being captured by street style photographers, and in some ways, acknowledged at all. When media outlets were asked why there wasn’t diversity in their photos, the response was that they weren’t seeing larger women or women of color. Perhaps it’s because we are so often ignored.
At the start of New York Fashion Week, I was at a brunch hosted by [plus-size luxury retailer] 11 Honoré, and there were curvy and/or plus-size women from powerhouse publications like Teen Vogue and Allure attending, as well as stylists, influencers and more. Afterward, I went on Instagram to share my outfit from the event and thought, “How could outlets be saying that [plus-size women] aren’t at Fashion Week?” So, I created the hashtag, #fatatfashionweek.
In that moment, I didn’t think of it as a movement. But I told a few friends about #fatatfashionweek and it took off from there. It’s been so exciting to see editors, stylists, bloggers and other people in the industry using the tag.
#fatatfashionweek starts a revolution
I thought, 'since I know about so many of the incredible things plus-size women are doing in this industry, why do I feel like so few people are witnessing it?'
#Fatatfashionweek helped to highlight those moments. Some of my favorites were when I was named one of the 25 most stylish women by Essence magazine and when I was honored with a Street Style award alongside singer Kelis.
Other big moments were Margie Plus’ behind-the-scenes coverage of the Rhianna Fenty show, Sarah Chiwaya’s runway moment where she walked in the Rinat Brodach SS19 show and CeCe Olisa and Chastity Garner’s prolific plus-size event, Curvy Con. There were also hundreds of images of industry insiders, like BuzzFeed’s Jazzmyne, Nicolette Mason (co-founder of Premme) and Fashionista's Tyler McCall, on their way to shows and events.
I’m thrilled that so many people found #fatatfashionweek to be empowering — most of the feedback has been extremely positive. The word “fat” can be polarizing for some, but most of the women in my life use it because we like to take the shame out of a body type.
“And I Get Dressed”
I started blogging seriously in 2011. Many of the women I was looking at online were fresh out of college and what set me apart was that I already worked in the industry. So, I thought, wouldn’t it be cool to share an insider perspective?
Early in my blogging career, I was still very involved in the public relations world, and as a consultant, one of my most notable clients was Swim Suits For All — for whom I created a campaign bringing Gabi Gregg, of Gabi Fresh, on board to create a swim capsule collection. I knew she and others like her were doing important work. It motivated me and millions of women to share our talents online.
My blog, And I Get Dressed, grew from being a place where I could share outfits, to a platform for sharing everything I'm passionate about — self-love and fashion would be the exclamation point. The big girl who felt alone in the "fashion room" suddenly didn't feel so alone anymore. Thankfully, social media connected us and created a community.
The bloggers in my circle were doing major campaigns and being featured in commercials. The fashion industry as a whole (though slowly) is becoming increasingly inclusive and while there is so much more work to do--through blogging, amazing opportunities have opened up for so many of us.
New York Fashion Week 2018 embraces differences
This season felt more inclusive than ever. The Chromat show blew my mind, not only with really fresh takes on swimwear, but their “Sample Size” t-shirt is one of the smartest things I’ve seen in ages. Duh, sample size is whatever size you make it! It’s all a farce.
Both Chromat and the Teen Vogue Body Party fashion shows featured models of diverse shapes, sizes and races. It was refreshing to see queen Mama Cax, who is a blogger and model, as well as people with disabilities and gender non-conforming models.
It showed an honest reflection of what the world looks like today. It’s been proven that seeing yourself reflected positively is a powerful tool for self-love and self-esteem. Your body type has nothing to do with your ability to be stylish, to be a talented makeup artist, hairdresser, PR person, event coordinator, writer, editor, etc.
My hope since New York Fashion Week has just wrapped is that women working at other fashion weeks around the world use the hashtag to show the world who they are and what they are up to.
And to young people who may think they can’t work in the industry because they don’t fit a certain mold: I hope they see all of the incredible industry folks in this hashtag, and can’t wait to join us.