(Image: Chastity Garner)
Today more than ever, black women are making waves in the fashion industry via bloggers like Chastity Garner and Cece Olisa, the beauty and the brains behind the CurvyCon extravaganza.
CurvyCon is a day-long event scheduled to take place June 20, that will bring together plus-size brands, fashionistas, shopaholics, bloggers, and YouTubers to promote a positive body image and celebrate women with curvier figures.
Both ladies have dedicated their time and energy to building online platforms that encourage and empower plus-size women. They say CurvyCon is more of a big offline gift to fans and followers, who deserve a worthwhile curvy experience and chance to shop brands that cater to their body type.
BlackEnterprise.com caught up with Garner and Olisa to talk about how CurvyCon came to be, what it was like being plus-sized as a child, and what constitutes a positive body image.
BlackEnterprise.com: Tell me a little about yourselves and what you do for a living?
Chastity: I’m a full-time fashion blogger with a concentration in plus-size fashion. I am 34-years-old, I live in the San Francisco Bay area, and I focus on personal style and giving fashion advice.
CeCe: I’m a California girl living in NYC. I run my lifestyle blog and YouTube channel full- time. I also create plus-size workout videos and run online, body-positive fitness programs for my readers.
What is the purpose behind CurvyCon and what inspired you two to create it?
CeCe: There is a strong online community of women who are plus-sized and body positive who celebrate their curves. We no longer feel that we have to hate our bodies. It’s a powerful experience and we’re hoping to bring a little bit of that into theCURVYcon with hundreds of body positive women under one roof. There will be shopping, chatting, and plus-size women loving who they are.
Chastity: We both work well together and balance each other out. CeCe is focused, detailed-oriented, and systematic. I’m kind of all over the place, but I have an innovative brain and love to come up with big ideas.
What is the body positive movement and how important is it to have a curvy platform for women?
Chastity: For me, the body positive movement is about accepting what you look like today, loving that person, and not waiting, truly, live your life.
CeCe: The body positive movement is reversing the rule that women should hate their bodies if they don’t look like the models on magazine covers. It’s saying: I am worthy of love, respect, and an amazing, full life. No matter what the scale says.
From an entrepreneurial standpoint, what was the big “a-ha” moment that made this topic more than just a blog?
CeCe: So much of our interaction, and even plus-size shopping, is limited to the internet. TheCURVYcon is really a gift to our fans. It’s our way of saying, ‘You are worth a major event. You are worth celebrity guest panelists. You are worth an in-person shopping experience where you get to actually try on clothes.’
Chastity: I wanted to create something fabulous in the plus-size space, something I would want to attend. I wanted it to be young, hip, and fun, but also infused with social media.
I heard you mention in a previous interview that you wish an event like CurvyCon existed when you were growing up. What were your experiences being younger and plus-size? What were you missing?
Chastity: Twenty years ago, there was no one in the media who had the body I have and who made me feel okay with myself. I’m envious of the young girls coming up today who have all these positive plus images around them, helping them be happy with themselves and their bodies. As a teenager, I remember wearing baggy clothes and wishing I looked like my friends who weighed 110 pounds. If I had a Gabifresh around, I would have–for sure–been fly and more confident.
CeCe: I agree 100% with Chastity.
What do you want women to take away from CurvyCon?
Chastity & CeCe: We want women to walk away feeling like we appreciated them, like we created an experience they couldn’t get anywhere else. And that this is the most fabulous event they ever went to.
For more information about the CurvyCon visit here.