I think I’m still in a bit of shock, but on Sunday, September 15th, 2019, I walked in New York Fashion Week (NYFW)! I was 1 of 50+ dreamers selected for the Dreamwalk Fashion Show, which has been dubbed the “Anti-Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.”
To be honest, the day of the show, I was dealing with awful allergies, so the long afternoon of getting hair + makeup before the evening show was tough on me (I just wanted to nap!). However, in what seemed like an instant, my time to walk the runway came. I walked the runway in like 30 seconds + everything was a blur after that (blame adrenaline + hunger + my sinus infection) until I could finally get some food a couple hours later with my parents, who came into NYC to support me.
It wasn’t until 24 hours later as I was sitting on my flight from JFK to LAX that I started crying after I saw a few photos of myself from the event that I realized the true impact…
“OMG I’m a model” I thought + immediately started crying.
For someone who spent the beginning of her professional career being behind the scenes, hiding the true pain I felt living with fibromyalgia + with all my stories that I wasn’t enough, never did I seriously think I’d be walking in a show in NYFW + one that truly means so much to me.
As much as I’ve always believed we are able to cultivate our own style + become our own stylists, I've also been clear we all truly have our own unique beauty that should be shown in the world. Our voices, our unique looks, our everything deserves a moment to be celebrated + truly be ENOUGH!
YOU ARE ENOUGH!
Truly, I realized my BIG takeaway from all this was that inclusion + diversity truly matters + it’s so important to me as a core value, so the fact my first time walking during NYFW was in a show that was about showing humans of all abilities, races, and body shapes has meant more to me than I ever could express.
It’s up to us to support the companies that truly value inclusivity (not just ones that have jumped on the bandwagon). I read countless articles every season that talk about how so many more brands have plus sized models on the catwalk… but do many times you can’t even buy the clothing brand in a size 16!?
Growing up, I didn’t have any one who I could look up to who wasn’t a size 2 (and, let’s face it, not blonde) + the lack of clothing options being a 12+ made me dress like a 30-something as a teenager. Maybe Oprah is the only person I felt I could relate to as a teen + in recent years, it’s been a delight to see some of my favorite comedic actors like Rebel Wilson, Mindy Kaling and pop stars like Lizzo break down barriers to be true leading ladies. The fact remains, the fashion industry still falls SO behind.
“Inclusivity” has become a replacement term for plus size (which, think about it, inclusive means ALL, not just one group).
Even with Anna Wintour recently saying that inclusivity is in, I only believe her, maybe 25%, if I’m being honest. People are jumping on the bandwagon of the “it” marketing term of our current time.
There are so many strides made in extended sizing, but my biggest thing I felt being in NY leading up to the Dreamwalk Fashion Show (especially after attending Curvy Con), was that the fashion industry is still tremendously wasteful + people are chasing free crap + the best IG shot over quality + consciousness.
Everything felt so disposable.
I started my trip back to NY thinking everything felt super shallow + realized this is why I consistently feel I have a hard time even wanting to be part of the industry.
However, after the Dreamwalk Fashion Show, I’m committed to continue going to the beat of my own drum. Seeing fellow dreamer models who had lost limbs, had many different abilities + were there to celebrate being themselves in all their unique glory was truly an amazing experience that was so inspirational. Everyone there deserved their time to shine + we did.
I wasn’t a cool kid growing up + I’m still ok not being part of the “it” fashion crowd, I know I can make my own crowd of all these amazing people I’m meeting along the way + I’m not here to have the industry + media validate me as one of the “it” kids.
I value the world we live in + I’m committed to building a brand that aligns with my values. I look forward to continuing to create great pieces that may not always be the splashiest photo on the cover of the magazine, but will be the heroes daily in your closet.
I’m excited to cultivate clothing + a community that feel comfortable + welcoming so you can go into the world as yourself.
Here at Poppy Row we are creating a brand around being conscious -
I’m so grateful for everyone who has been on this journey with me - whether you’re new or have known me since I was known as the “not so skinny stylist” or even further back before I had a blog talking about style + my body!
I’m excited to start creating some more content consistently this fall. The last 2-3 years going to design school + creating this line, along with reversing 15 years of fibromyalgia, running a Kickstarter, almost dying of mold exposure earlier this year has taken a lot of time + energy, but I’m excited to get back to my roots talking about why all of this matters giving you more tips + options to go rock the world + be a change maker in the way you need to be!
Introducing 1 Style: 3 Bodies
Because body inclusivity + conscious clothing has always been important to us, my summer interns Caroline + Katie, along with myself, created a series of fall fashion trends using items from our own closets. We are repping a size 4, 14, and 24 + I hope to make these types of series a more regular thing!
Head over to our first blog post about the Neon trend. We’ll be releasing the series this month, so stay tuned!