Ashley Graham’s Pretty Little Thing collection is more than a fashion line. For her, it represents her years of struggling to find clothes that fit and flattered her body, as well as a battle that she hopes that younger women of her size no longer have to deal with.
The 30-year-old model, who recently launched a size-inclusive collection with Pretty Little Thing, opened up to Women’s Wear Daily about her struggle to find clothes for school because of her size. “I remember in middle school and high school thinking, ‘What am I going to wear for school the next day?'” Graham said. “And I could never figure out where to buy it or how to put it together in my closet”
After struggling to find clothes that flattered her body in stores, Graham took matters into her own hands and started cutting and making her own clothes to highlight assets that were often hid mainstream plus-size clothes. “I actually started cutting my clothes up because I wanted to show off my stomach, show my breasts, and so I just would kind of create my own things,” Graham said. “My mom and dad thought I was crazy because I was cutting clothes that I had just bought but they let me and I got to wear things that I felt good and sexy in and here I am now, still cutting clothes up.”
However, Graham, who still cuts her clothes when she finds something unflattering, doesn’t want this to be the reality for all curvy women, which is why she created her collection to provide clothes that are both size-inclusive and beautiful. “We’re not hiding her, we are celebrating her and showing cleavage, thighs, slits, sheer. It’s very sexy, sassy and glamorous, but also fun, and that’s exactly what we all wanted—for her to feel her best,” Graham said.
And though the fashion industry’s journey toward size-inclusivity is moving at a slow and steady pace, Graham is hopeful that there will soon be a massive “domino effect” that will lead to industry-wide change. “Growing up there wasn’t accessibility like there is now for younger curvy girls,” Graham said. “I really believe that it’s not just the U.S. and it’s just not the U.K., it’s women around the world who want to feel sexy, sassy, glamorous and included in the conversation.