If You Want To See Plus-Size Bodies Of Color Celebrated, theCurvyCon Is Where It’s At

June 24, 2015  |  

Cece Olisa, Gabi Gregg and Chastity Garner

It’s no secret — or surprise — that by and large the entertainment and fashion industries aren’t checking for fuller figures, and even when they are it’s rare that those plus-size bodies are round and brown. That reality has hardly been a deterrent for curvy fatshionistas who proudly flaunt their colored curves on social media and popular websites, and this past Saturday that community came together in New York City to celebrate that curvy confidence at the first annual CurvyCon.

theCurvyCon, brainchild of bloggers Chastity Garner and CeCe Olisa, was created to celebrate plus-size fashion, beauty, lifestyle and wellness with a day-long event featuring speakers from Kierra Sheard and Amber Riley to Gabi Gregg, Nadia Aboulhosn, and more tackling subjects like confidence, dating at any size, and plus-size health and fitness.

On site for the festivities, we couldn’t help but notice the influx of Black and Brown beauties, spanning ethnicities from African American and Caribbean to Latina and Middle Eastern, so we chatted with a few notable attendees about the state of full-figured minority acceptance and whether we’re still at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to European beauty standards or progress is actually being made.

Style Blogger Gabbi Gregg of Gabifresh.com said she completely understands the frustration of mainstream brands and media not focusing on or featuring women of color, especially Black women. “It’s hard,” she told us on the red carpet.”There’s the colorism issue and the racism issue so it kind of trickles down into every aspect of the industry. Unfortunately, we’re included in that so we’re fighting an uphill battle, having to fight the fashion industry, both because of our size and color. But that’s not to say there’s not progress because I do see more and more people being featured and included.”

One such woman being included is Chanté Burkett of Everythingcurvyandchic.com who was recently featured in a very special “Target Loves Every Body” campaign, aimed at proving swimsuits can flatter body types of all kinds,  including those that are full figured. “For someone like me to be featured on that level was amazing,” Burkett told us at the CurvyCon. “To showcase an obviously brown person in a campaign that big just goes to show we need more of us in that light. It’s always a struggle and it’s hard, but we keep on fighting. Eventually we’ll take over.”

CurvyCon is certainly a great start, particularly because the idea behind the conference isn’t exactly novel – at least among minority women. As conference co-creator Chastity Garner of GarnerStyle told us, “As women of color, it’s almost natural that we started something like this. We’ve always embraced our bodies; we’re just bringing along more people for the ride.”

Conference co-creator CeCe Olisa of Plussizeprincess.com echoed that sentiment, saying “The ethnic communities kind of gravitate towards a little more curvier figures and we’re kind of leading the way and embracing that. Now we’re just letting everyone else in on our secret.”

Hopefully Hollywood and the fashion industries don’t sleep on that well-known fact for too much longer. But if they do, oh well. There’s always next year’s CurvyCon.

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