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The plus-size revolution

Find your springtime look

Ragini Nag Rao:Indian goddess Body image

Is the plus-size trend actually bad? CURVY.COM

Curves take demand






Ragini Nag Rao: Indian goddess


Find your springtime look


Body image Is the plus-size trend actually bad?


Curves take demand The plus-size revolution


Ragini Nag Rao: Indian goddess


Find your springtime look


Body image Is the plus-size trend actually bad?


Curves take demand The plus-size revolution


Ragini Nag Rao: Indian goddess


Find your springtime look


Body image Is the plus-size trend actually bad?


Curves take demand The plus-size revolution


Your May horoscope is in


EDITOR IN CHIEF Nikki Nicolaou @nikki_nicolaou

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Nikki Nicolaou @nikki_nicloaou EXECUTIVE EDITOR Nikki Nicolaou @nikki_nicolaou MANAGING EDITOR Nikki Nicolaou @nikki_nicolaou

FEATURES EDITOR Nikki Nicolaou @nikki_nicolaou

PHOTOGRAPHY COVER Ragini Nag Rao TABLE OF CONTENTS Chelsea RAGINI SPREAD Ragini Nag Rao SPRINGTIME FEVER Alli BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL Model: Amina Mucciolo Photographer: Lauren Comes CLASSY AND TIMELESS Laura PLUS SIZE TREND SPREAD Kristina Wilson ADVERTISING PHOTOGRAPHY HIPS AND CURVES AD Laura FOREVER 21 PLUS AD Laura MODCLOTH AD Laura URBAN DECAY AD Laura MAURICE AD Model: Amina Mucciolo Photographer: Lauren Comes MANIC PANIC AD Alli FEATURE ADISTIUM RERFERIATIA dolut vellor aliquiderios @dolupta s PICIDUSCIUM LICITEM que optatur, cor sunt, idgiaerum consento inis @exerum qu AMUS est, cus @endem fuga. COPY/RESEARCH NONSE PE ELES expla quis dento te @volupta ne vent ADISTIUM RERFERIATIA dolut vellor aliquiderios @dolupta s PICIDUSCIUM LICITEM que optatur, cor sunt, iduntegiaerum consento inis @exerum qu AMUS est, cus @endem fuga. CURVY.COM NONSE PE ELES expla quis dento te @volupta ne vent ADISTIUM RERFERIATIA dolut vellor aliquiderios @dolupta s PICIDUSCIUM LICITEM que optatur, corrum consento inis @exerum qu AMUS est, cus @endem fuga. ADMINISTARTION NONSE PE ELES expla quis dento te @volupta ne vent ADISTIUM RERFERIATIA dolut vellor aliquiderios @dolupta s PICIDUSCIUM LICITEM que optatur, cor sunt, gnim fugiaerum consento inis @exerum qu AMUS est, cus @endem fuga. CONTRIBUTING EDITORS NONSE PE ELES expla quis dento te @olupta ne vent ADISTIUM RERFERIATIA dolut vellor aliquiderios @dolupta s PICIDUSCIUM LICITEM que optatur, cor sunt, idunte magnim fugiaerum consento inis @exerum qu AMUS est, cus @endem fuga.


Plus-size fashion blogger, writer and storybook princess Freyia Lilian Porteous The more the issues surrounding size inclusivity and beauty diversity in the mainstream fashion industry become part of our current conversations, the more inspirational women who represent a broader spectrum of attractiveness begin to emerge in the media. The revolution that started with the rise of the Naomi Campbells and Sophie Dahls of the supermodel era has been growing steadily in strength as — with the number of 21st century humans with access to the internet expand-


ing — style icons have emerged from the everyday thanks to social media and blogs. Fashion blogs and Instagram accounts give women with unique style whose work is all about how to embrace your flaws (perceived flaws, that is) a free and accessible platform to project their idiosyncratic approaches to fashion. Public places in which they explore their sartorial voices and encourage others to do the same. My favorite “unconventional” style blogger by far is A Curious Fancy’s Ragini Nag Rao (who has also written for ROOKIE Mag, xoJane and Marie Claire India). This

beauty hails from Calcutta, India (but plans to move over to U.K. to be with her fiancée in the near future) and puts the world of plussize stylings firmly on the fashion map. An intellectual as well as a pretty face, Ragini has studied the British Colonial Era of India at university, and her sartorial choices reflect her interest in “East meets West.” Floaty lace, starched whites and English Victoriana meet the vibrant tones of the East. Dressed in shades of saffron, azure, spiced reds or antique golds, linen whites and eau de nil, Ragini has an oth-

erworldly dress sense inspired by the illustrations in her childhood books. Always the activist, Ragini rejects conventional fashion rules, turning plus-size no-nos into must haves. She never shies away from shorts, knees-highs, sleeveless or cropped tops, and she wears them all beautifully. Ragini inspires me to get my legs out in the summer, not shy away from displaying my round arms, and to be proud of my little pot belly. Ragini’s ethereal photography style and expert posing give plussize styling the same status as

Kimono: Pussycat London Dress: Swing dress, Asos Beret: Vintage 40’s velvet Necklace: Eclectic Eccentricity


Dress: Anthropologie Crown: ElleSantos, Etsy


Vogue’s editorials. My issue with plus-size fashion styling as a whole is that still, the photography often has an almost catalogue feel, and when curvaceous ladies do grace the pages of established sartorial rags, they almost always seem tokenized. Ragini’s photography, however, is gorgeous by default, and demonstrates that the only barrier between plus-size fashion breaking into the mainstream is the presentation of it. She proves that women’s bodies larger than a size 6 are just as versatile and able to showcase eccentric and “trend driven” fashions alike. A Curious Fancy is not only inspiring sartorially, but emotionally as well. In the spirit of beautiful TMI, Ragini opens up to her readers about the darker side of her psyche, in both a breathtakingly articulate and raw manner. She writes openly about her periods of depression and mental health issues. She is sometimes self indulgent and pitying, but in a way that recognizes that other humans around the globe feel the same. She reaches out to the readers’ heartstrings to make a connection — to show she also feels the same. But she never embodies the “woe is me” apathetic archetype. Her beautifully crafted words acknowledge sadness as something that needs to be talked about openly and honestly. Likewise, in contrast to her perfectly planned outfit posts, Ragini often takes photos of herself sans makeup! She showcases her skin with all its “imperfections.” Hers is a fashion blog that presents beau-

ty in an attainable manner, which I think is essential. She is a role model because she demonstrates the difference between deep beauty and glamour. Glamour being a veil, an empowering mask, a playful costume; beauty as something more inward and integral to the personal self. So channel your inner daydreamer, and adore the body in which you were born — whether you are boyish and slender, buxom and ample or anything in between — in these Ragini-inspired finds. One thing that turned me on to Ragini’s whimsical style is her love for a good pair of sparkly shoes. Observing her exciting collection as I scrolled down her blog, I had a “me too” moment. I absolutely love them, especially gold shoes, and I always find her choice of fancy footwear inspiring. “I have loved pretty clothes for as long as I can remember but what I find most liberating about fashion is how it allows me to live a million lives in my reclusive, monkish one, and how it’s part of the same creative impetus that leads me to write. For me, this is the real beauty of fashion, its true strength.” Always with a vintage air, but with an element of childlike eccentricity alike, Ragini’s metallic or glittered lace-ups add a fun accent to her quaint ensembles. These Ragini-esque shimmering shoes are all lovingly crafted to

My body is history. When I look in the mirror, I see my past. I see strength, the kind of strength that has survived abuse and lived through and continues to live through the ravages of mental illness.

Kimono: Pussycat London Dress: Swing dress, Asos Beret: Vintage 40’s velvet Socks: Tabbisocks Loafers: Bass

perfection and will last. Whether you go for the bargain dance shoes or investment booties, these beauties will sprinkle even the most minimal of outfits with eccentricity. “My body is history. When I look in the mirror, I see my past. I see strength, the kind of strength that has survived abuse and lived through and continues to live through the ravages of mental illness. I see a survivor. I see a woman who has lived in the darkness of a damaged mind and who still thrived. I see someone who fought to live on even when hope seemed pointless and desperate. ‘I have survived hell,’ I tell myself, ‘And I will survive it every single time.’” I love stars, and I often receive gifts in the form of star-shaped adornments. I am naturally drawn to the quirky, symbollic shape. This is one reason why, when I discovered Ragini and the wonderful

world of A Curious Fancy, I admired her glorious finds so much! She added star hair accessories made by independent companies to her thick, raven locks emulating 1920s starlets so well that she gave me butterflies. I was simultaneously respectful and lightly jealous! It was really exciting to discover a stylish lady, halfway around the world, who was as irrationally excitable about star hair accessories as me. A lot of Ragini’s vintage-inspired, glass-glittered stars are from Giant Dwarf, a lovely company that sadly no longer produces its iconic etoilles. Luckily for you, I have found you the above alternatives! “When I dress like a child from one of the books I used to read, it’s an unsettling, disruptive sight. I’m a grown, fat, brown woman dressed like a white kid from the ’40s, the ’60s, or even the Victorian


Dress: Girls on Film, Asos Shoes: Women’s 1460, Dr. Martens Hat: Vintage Borsalino hat


Pinafore: Asos Top: Topshop Crown: DIY floral crown


Dress: Modcloth era. You don’t expect it — it comes a shock to your defined ideals of what a white child should be, in all its innocence and sanctity, when you see a fat brown woman, that symbol of voluptuous, dangerous Oriental sexuality dressed in the clothes that a pretty white child should be wearing. And this is exactly the reaction I want, this is exactly why I’m doing this. It’s my way of reclaiming power, by disrupting notions of whiteness and brownness, of innocence, sexuality and what, as a brown woman, is ‘allowed’ me. I am no longer content to occupy the space that I am allowed, I want to shatter those boundaries and take up the space I want.” I love a cropped top, and the high-waisted silhouette it conjures. And I love how they are now widely available on the high street. Ragini shows that whether you have flat, washboard abs or a squishy tum, crop tops suit all women! “One thing people always tell me is how open I am. And it’s true — my life is an open book; I don’t have anything to hide.” Ragini’s playful approach to


layering is something I absolutely adore. One of my favorite looks is combining girly, floaty dresses with sporty and casual sweaters. It is my go-to. Ragini wears the look so well here in her fun, printed sweatshirt combined with a chiffon dress. Channel her mix of femme and athletic wear with these simple finds. “For the next week, I looked at those photos every day. Several times a day. And somewhere down the line, something changed. I started seeing things that I liked. I loved how powerful my back looked, like it was meant to carry children. I loved my waist, my sturdy, strong, and yet soft thighs, I loved the sheer length of my legs. I looked at those photos and I saw in myself a beauty I had never seen before. I

didn’t look like a model, nor could I ever be one but there was something about it, an attractiveness that shouldn’t have been there, and one which I couldn’t explain. Later on, I realized that that was the beginning of falling in love with myself.” Inspired by an imagined journey along the East Indian spice route and created by a quintessentially English heritage brand, Malabah is feminine, traditional and contemporary. The perfume reflects Ragini’s interest in history and the way she plays with it in her self presentation. A fresh fragrance with a warm heart and base, Malabah opens with notes of lemon Earl Grey tea and cilantro before spices and old-worldy rose. Sandalwood, amber and musk give

One thing people always tell me is how open I am. And it’s true — my life is an open book; I don’t have anything to hide.

this perfume a subtly sexy quality that would suit Ragini to a tea. Ragini is blessed with large, open features that give her face a voluptuous innocence. Her fleshy lips are full and her eyes are wide. So open your eyes a la Ragini with a liquid eyeliner. I find eyeliner pots with neat, little pen-like brushes work the best for developing your perfect flick. Start from the middle of your top eyelid and work to the outside, thickening your line as you go to a feline flick to make your eyes pop with a flapper girl vibe. Be sure not to start to line the eye close to the tear duct as you will actually make your eyes appear beadier. As well as a body fit for an earth goddess, Ragini is blessed with abundant and thick, ebony locks that grow enviously fast. Whether she wears her hair long and luscious or in a bob Clare Bow would covet, her hair philosophy is natural all the way. Ragini is a proud member of the no-poo movement, meaning she has shunned chemically processed haircare products, opting instead for natural alternatives. Source:



SPRING TIME LOVER Get ready for spring with lovely pastels 7 3 1. Dramatically Distinct Wedge, $44.99, 2. Decree Pastel Flower Necklace, $15.40, 3. Pastel Envelope Clutch Bag, $34.95, 4. Fetching Finesse Top, $34.99, 5. Patent Pencil Skirt, $21.95, 6. Presh Play Flat in Mint, $23.99, 7. Dear Blue Sky Dress, $49.99,






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Make a statement with fun and bold pieces 1. AX Paris Diamond Floral Shift Dress, $30.95, 2. Sunburst Faux Stone Necklace, $12.00, 3. Quay Mia Shades, $40.00, 4. ASOS STAGE-STRUCK Heels, $50.00, 5. ASOS HUSTLE Heeled Sandals, $76.00, 6. Floral Drop Earring, $14.97, 7. Fluoro Orange Rubber Ikaria Sandals, ÂŁ70, 8. AX Paris Neon Daisy Shirt Dress, $59.95,

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TIMELESS BEAUTY You can never go 4

wrong with these classy looks 1. Gemstone Statement Necklace, $28.50, 2. Red High Heel Point Toe Shoes, $29.99, 3. Black Waterfall Zip Jacket, $39.00, 4. All Manners of Merriment Dress, $69.99, 5. Gemstone Stud Earrings, $16.50, 6. Tea on the Train Heel in Black, $59.99, 7. Tevolio Faux Fur Wrap, $19.99,

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Is this plus-size trend actually BAD for body image? Sabina, a 24-year-old model in New York, shows up at shoots with a bag straight out of Mary Poppins. It’s cute and normal-looking from the outside, but stuffed with a physics-defying range of things she needs for a full day of running between gigs. Make-up bags, outfit changes, snacks, and — since she’s a plus-size model — her fat pads.


Ben Reininga They come as a set — pairs of flesh-colored butt, breast, and thigh pads, along with a spandex girdle to stuff them in — and are packed in a little, black bag. They're part of the standard equipment a plus-size model carries. Sabina, who’s about a size 12, often needs pads to fit the size 14 or 16 samples of clothing that she’s asked to model. This is not uncommon: She says she uses pads in about half her shoots, and all the models we spoke to have used them. The pads have a practical function. On a shoot where a model might wear dozens of outfits, padding is an easier way to make clothes fit snugly — much like the clothespins that are hidden out of view and used to perfect the fit of garments in high-fashion editorials. But, critics say argue that using pads simply creates a different "ideal" body for plus-size women —


one that might be as hard to find or achieve as the impossibly tall and thin body of a straight-size model. The plus-size "ideal" is the body, big breasts, and butt of a true plussize woman, but the slimmer waist, face, and wrists of the model beneath the pads. Plussize blogger CeCe Olisa remembers feeling disappointed when she learned about padding. “You think you're straying away from the media's "be skinny" mindset by embracing plus-size," she says. “Then, you realize even

that’s an impossible ideal. It’s frustrating.” The past five years have seen a huge uptick in visibility for plussize models, from Crystal Renn's 2009 book Hungry to Tara Lynn, Candice Huffine, and Ashley Graham gracing the pages of Vogue just last month. Even Calvin Klein’s much-discussed decision to cast Myla Dalbesio celebrates a bigger-than-straightsize body in a space where you’d ordinarily only see the slenderest of women.

You think you're straying away from the media's "be skinny" mindset by embracing plus-size," plus-size blogger CeCe Olisa says. “Then, you realize even that’s an impossible ideal. It’s frustrating.

It’s not a shift confined to glossy magazine covers. Mainstream retailers from H&M to Abercrombie have added plus-size lines to their collections this year, and business is booming. Plus-size clothing sales grew 7% this year, to generate $17.6 billion. That change brings a host of new gigs for plus-sized models, especially in the world of e-commerce, where industry insiders describe fat pads as just a trick of the trade. “Since all women are not created the same as the samples, sometimes you need to tweak to accentuate the garment as best as possible,” says Gary Dakin, who founded the all-size modeling agency JAG. Especially on shoots for e-commerce, where one model could show 50 outfits in a day, he says padding is quicker and cheaper than an on-set seamstress, and it makes things fit. “I do not think that padding creates the illusion of


"I would prefer us to not have to wear pads,” model Sabina Karlsson says. “When I was straightsized, I wasn’t skinny enough, and now I’m plus-sized, and I’m not curvy enough. It would be nice to be like: I’m this model, and this is me. For society to know that curvy models don’t have the same can be curvy and a size 12." 21

“When people tell me [that I’m not big enough to be a plus-size model], it always gets said in a way that is supposed to be complimentary,” model Lauren Chan says. “It’s more like, 'Girl, you ain’t plus-size. No way! You look amazing!' It’s supposed to be complimentary, but it’s loaded because it uses 'plus-size' as a negative thing.”


unrealistic body sizes and shapes,” Dakin adds. Elizabeth Taylor, plus-size model and industry consultant (with no relation to the movie star), disagrees. “Padding shows that advertisers don’t really believe a woman who really is size 14 or above can


sell clothing. When I first started modeling, they told us that women want to see really skinny women sell regular-sized clothing. So, they see a size 0-2 and they're a 6 or an 8, and that's aspirational,” Taylor says. By that same logic, a woman who’s a 14 or a 16, she says, would

want to see a size 8 modeling her clothes. It’s the same aspirational (or deceptive) fashion industry practice, just geared towards a larger woman. We talked to six women who work as plus-size models about the state of the industry and what it’s

like to try to fit into the new “plussize ideal.” Then, to get a better sense of the padding phenomenon, we asked them to take some pictures with — and without — their fat pads. The eye-opening results are ahead. Source:

Women’s Fashion Clothing from Size 1-26




of the apparel-purchasing population is plus-size women

$16 bil lion



Eden Miller became the first designer to show a plus-size label at New York Fashion Week

Fashion Week First plus size-only runway show during New York Fall Fashion Week

France’s first plus-size fall fashion show takes place in Paris

More than



of US women wear a mix of standard and plus sizes

of US women size 16 and above buy their clothes online

US women who primarily wear plus sizes are twice as likely as those who don’t to shop online daily

From 2005-2011

12 to 14


Modcloth surveyed over 5,000 U.S. women of mixed sizes, ages 16-65

arly resent ne e p re n e m o nu Plus size willion of retail reve b $16

the average dress size in America has grown from









More US women wear a size 16 than a size 2 and 0 combined


of plus-size women notice the size of the model in:

ads campaigns

stores online



of plus-sized women prefer to see plus size models larger than a size 12 in campaigns, advertisements and magazines

of plus-sized women like to see plus-size campaigns use models more representative of their customer

of plus-sized women say size 6, 8 or 10 model should not be considered a “plus-size model.”

Plus-size confidence

61% 54%





Push for plus size acceptance

“I’m more comfortable with myself today than five years ago”

“I’m more fashionable today than five years ago”

catalogs TV

64.4% said the size of the model affects how they shop

80% 51% 16% of respondents said that they clothes fit who they are as a person

look for fashion inspiration from plussize fashion websites and blogs.

look for inspiration from fashion magazines

Sources: 2013 Just My Size Industry Survey


MAY 2015


(Apr 20 – May 20) Your originality is abundant today and you’re itching to share your ideas with a trustworthy ally because you want honest feedback. You might even arrange an impromptu gathering just so you can kick your plans around with friends.


(May 21 – Jun 20) You don’t need an extra shot of espresso today because staying alert is typically not your problem. Your real challenge is to calm your thinking so you don’t spend all your energy trying to keep pace with your own thoughts. You are able to accomplish much more if you slow down enough so everyone can understand your message.


(Jun 21 – Jul 22) Conversations at work may not go as expected today, but they end up stimulating your imagination anyway. You are eager to explore uncharted intellectual territory now because you believe new ideas can open the doors along your path to success.



(Jul 23 – Aug 22) You might excuse yourself from a social event today so you can retreat into your wild imagination. However, you’re not looking to escape into your fantasies as much as you want to visualize your options for the future.



(Oct 23 – Nov 21) Nearly everyone you meet has something fascinating to share, distracting you from your regular responsibilities today. You’re actually quite receptive to radical ideas and experiences. In fact, you’re so eager to express yourself in a nonconformist way you don’t bother to think about the consequences.

(Aug 23 – Sep 22) You may be required to pay an emotional price for intimacy yet you’re resistant to come up with the entrance fee. However, you are in for a shock now, because the cost is not what you expect. You don’t have to sacrifice anything, nor must you let someone else control your destiny. All you need to do is to express your true feelings.




(Sep 23 – Oct 22) Your thoughts are loudly reverberating in your head now, leaving you with an anxious feeling in the pit of your stomach. Unfortunately, your high-strung nervous system isn’t necessarily in tune with a friend or lover who thinks differently than you do.

(Nov 22 – Dec 21) Your brainwaves are running amok today and you could work yourself into a state of high anxiety if you can’t settle down enough to pick a single path. You may feel as if you’re wired for surround sound and you’re tempted to play your favorite songs simultaneously.

(Dec 22 – Jan 19) Sorting out your priorities can be quite a challenge today because your calculated logic takes you into unfamiliar territory. You might feel disconnected from reality and out of touch with your feelings. Don’t let on if you’re mystified when others claim they can’t understand you.

AQUARIUS (Jan 20 – Feb 18)

A friend or an acquaintance might say something shocking today, revealing information that suddenly alters perspective. You have grown overly comfortable with your point of view about a work-related issue to suddenly realize you were wrong.


(Feb 19 – Mar 20) The emotional seas grow a bit choppy today, but you still can sail through the day with flying colors. Your nervous energy might prompt you to share your excitement before you fully develop an interesting idea. You could start talking with a specific thought in mind, only to shift directions.


(Mar 21 – Apr 19) You love surprises on a day like today, even if your plans fall apart. Change is so exhilarating that you don’t really care what happens next as long as you are in charge. Source : Rick Levine



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Student publication designed and created by Nikki Nicolaou