While in San Diego, I took advantage of location and contacted newbie plus size designer, Ashley Nell Tipton. We spent the day together having lunch, touring her work space, and having good ol' fashioned girl talk. For me, Ashley represents the progression of plus size fashion. She most recently graduated from Fashion Careers College as of Sunday (as in yesterday). Plus size fashion has become such a movement that finally we have fashion design students actually wanting to design and produce strictly plus size clothing lines. In my opinion, it's the only way plus size fashion will continue to grow, become more fashion forward, and get its fair recognition. If you're holding your breath for Karl Lagerfeld or any of these other designers to produce plus size fashion then you're going to turn purple and pass out. Having our own designers, to me, has always been the best option.
In better news, I got some exciting details from Ashley about her audition for Fashion Star, and her upcoming launch. Fashion Star is a new show that started last Fall where designers are showcased in front of buyers from major retailers in hopes of getting their lines picked up. It's like an American Idol for designers. Ashley met with producers, they loved the line, and required her to do a video talking about her life, her line, and her struggles. It's a fabulous video where you really get to see who Ashley is as a person. The thing that stuck out in the video to me was that she states that she is dyslexic. During our chat, she openly talks about her difficulties with reading and continuing her education. It's obvious that she's a driven young woman, who won't let her learning disability stand in the way of her dreams. I don't even really know this girl, but I am so proud of her. It's easy to do something when it's handed to you, but when you have to overcome obstacles and you are still reaching your goals that's amazing. Her spirit, her positive nature, and did I mention her hair color are all just fabulous! Of course I asked her when the line would launch and she's shooting for Spring 2013 and hopes to keep her prices under $100. I'll be first in line for my piece.
Here's a side note on our day together. Ashley and I ate lunch at Cheesecake Factory at Fashion Valley Mall and were literally stared down by the hostess. I was confused a little. I didn't know if she was staring because we were fat, fat and stylish, or just stylish. The smirk on her face said that it was because we were fat and we had the nerve to try and be fashionable. It was so uncanny that I couldn't even pay attention to the girl seating us because I was trying to figure out if she was going to say something. (I was kind of wishing she would, so that I could say something back. I hate rude people.) Sometimes I think I'm in my own world that I don't notice other people's issue with my size. In my mind, I am stylish and the size portion doesn't matter. Maybe Ashley and I were just too much for her that day. Maybe it was because I was in California and they are used to smaller people. I've really never gotten a reaction (that I can remember) that was quite like that before. It was weird. Thought I would share that moment.