When plus-sized fashion blogger Gabi Gregg and clothing line SwimSuitsForAll debuted the “fatkini" this spring, it sold out in one day.
It’s a nice problem to have -- high demand and low inventory for a hot product, in this case a two-piece bikini in larger sizes. But all the attention prompted potential buyers to descend on Gregg’s Instagram account to ask an obvious question: What’s the big deal?
Gregg says, for one thing, the fatkini addresses a big problem with American retail -- the choices for big girls are scarce.
But, in an interview with HLN, Gregg also said her advocacy is about more than fashion, it’s about self-esteem. “A number on a scale shouldn't determine your self-worth or happiness,” she says.
“It's so important because the messages we receive our entire lives tell us we aren't valuable unless we're below a certain weight. Fashion can play a big role in feeling confident, especially for plus-size women. After being told for so long we aren't allowed to participate in fashion or look stylish, realizing that's not true can be a big turning point.”
And a turning point has certainly emerged in recent years. Since Gregg popularized the term “fatkini,” with a pic on her blog last year, social networking sites have catered to the term. Tumblrs, Twitter accounts, all have curvier women showing their skin in ways that they would have been shamed for before.
It's what attracted SwimsuitsForAll CEO Moshe Laniado to collaborate with Gregg.
"It's not secret that we live in a thin-obsessed world despite the fact that the average American woman is a size 14," Laniado tells HLN. "The incredible reaction to the GabiFresh for Swimsuitsforall line really solidified that curvy women have a variety of different fashion tastes and should not be treated as having the same sense of style which was the industry-standard for a long time."
Of course, not everyone is a fan. Gregg's been been accused of "thin-shaming" and having it in for skinny models because of her advocacy for big girls. She's not bothered.
"I get Internet trolls every so often who make fun of my size or tell me I'm promoting an unhealthy lifestyle, but since I know those are hurt people who aren't expressing the truth, I never let it get to me," she says.
Plus-sized blogger and designer Nadia Aboulhosn agrees, telling HLN, "In the media, skinny is more times than not drilled into our heads and portrayed as the only beauty, which is false. Plus-size women need models they can relate to. It gives them confidence in their own skin which is incredibly important."
Gabi Gregg (far right) shown with SwimSuitsForAll models.