Although there has been a significant increase in the number of plus size women invading the entertainment and modelling industries, women above size 16 still don’t have the luxury of walking into any store or mall and walking out with something in their size.
Tanyaradzwa Daringo, the owner of a new plus size fashion range “Pretty Phat” agrees that the plus size fashion industry has just started bubbling saying that people have started to open up their minds and ideas in terms of innovation when it comes to plus size fashion. “That is pretty cool and I think it’s a really good step in the right direction for plus sized women,” she exclaimed.
Tanya says that people still frown upon it due to the mere fact that it questions boundaries in the sense most people grew up being told that for them to be models they have to act, look and eat in a certain way. People grew up being to established norms regarded as the definition of beauty and what is acceptable, so I think a lot of it is still engraved in that kind of mentality. Thus people still frown upon it but people are more open to it only because we have started experimenting with for the Love Yourself campaign that was launched last year. This campaign came with a lot of backlash like ‘what are they doing ?‘ But this year it was done again and it was much bigger,” she explains.
Misconceptions on the plus size fashion
Tanya figured that most people are still under the misconception that modelling if for the super slim, real tall women. This belief is premised on the saying that you can’t be fat and look good. However she feels that there are still some reservations which emerge from people’s own perceptions and insecurities about the way they feel. “I think the biggest misconception is that we still think that being fat is shameful or rather not beautiful and if you are fat you can’t be seen as sexy and you cannot be beautiful. You have to wear boring clothes, you have to wear big clothes and hide your arms.” She narrates that people are supposed to look at those who have ventured into plus sized fashion and believe that they have the ability to look stunning, sexy, feel confident, be comfortable while still being plus sized.
Pretty Phat, the name says it for itself…
As for Tanya the word phat is one of the words that exude confidence and this is how she feels. “I am tough and the brand exudes confidence you know you are beautiful, you know you are pretty but you are also acknowledging that you are curvier than the normal girl and you can still look stunning,” she expresses.
Pretty Phat portrays a woman who is confident, forward thinking, one who is fashionable, but a go-getter at the same time. She is one who embraces her curves and she makes them work. “I am a plus sized girl myself and people had always asked me where I buy my clothes. Frequently I am complimented on my dress sense. I am challenged by the fact that shopping for me was and still is a nightmare.”
As a TV personality Tanya says that there’s a lot of pressure because one always needs to look good. “Having a public persona in the media, you need to stand out and you need to look good while doing it. I realised that there are a lot of woman just like me who want to dress well and feel good without having to answer to so many questions and to cover up because they feel ashamed.”
There remains a big need in the market and the range comes from a very personal place. So it’s not just Tanya trying to fit her fingers in every pie in the world but it’s also just her acknowledging that she knows what it feels like to not find jeans that fit and having to get your jeans tailored all the time. “Plus size women need to be able to go out and look like the bomb,” says Tanya.
Who wears Pretty Phat?
Pretty Phat is made to break barriers, set new rules and redefine what beauty means. It targets young professionals full of confidence, people who are fashionable and women know the power of their curves. The range allows you to identify with others and one does not have to be an X girl to be dressed in Pretty Phat. You must be able to know that you are stylish and Pretty Phat has that, you’re confident and Pretty Phat has that, you’re fashion forward and Pretty Phat caters for that.
The range is made by local people while the fabric is sourced locally. Tanya says that it is so much more identifiable than just the normal Mr Price garments. Pretty Phat garments are tailored acknowledging that plus size woman have different shapes.
However, the range is still in the phase of trying out whether the garments are liked, where people wear them, and whether people has adapted to them. “Yes we know that there’s a need but there is a very big difference in acknowledging that there’s a need and being able to provide exactly what people want,” says Tanya.
Although the range only has accustomed garments at this stage, they’re also working on having garments which are not made by Pretty Phat but are more fashionable. “There are boutiques which do not cater for the bigger sizes so Pretty Phat will also be getting the same garments in bigger sizes. We have the double X and the triple X which are hardly ever found elsewhere,” explains Tanya.
Now that Pretty Phat is on the market, Tanya says that it is important for people to acknowledge not only the plus size range but also to encourage plus size modeling and also to encourage fashion designers to work on ranges in that line. Just like their straight size counterparts plus size women come in a spectrum of sizes and they should be able to wear a variety of styles.
“The range is not launched officially yet but we have started selling.” It’s being advertised and the brand is being marketed. As of the 4th of April, Pretty Phat will be available at Lucy Boutique opposite City of Windhoek in town. Pretty Phat also sells at pop up markets.