The moment you've all been waiting for is here. So get ready...
It's the release of the Golden Girls-inspired Spring Collection, "Let Them Eat Cheesecake!" This is Ready to Stare's first all clothing collection and it features nine limited edition pieces including two dresses, two crop tops, a cape and four skirts. The price points range from $39-$99 and all pieces with the exception one skirt are available in sizes S-5X or 0-32. Everything is handmade and made-to-order.
Featuring a body con black dress with a large floral ruffle known as “The Blanche Dress,” and a black and white draped kimono-style cape known as “The Dorothy Cape,” the silhouettes and prints I designed this collection are fit for a modern-day Golden Girl equipped with Blanche’s confidence, Rose’s heart, Sophia’s wit, and Dorothy’s humor.
When I design, I always take inspiration from pop culture of the past.I find myself drawn to shows that celebrate women and the friendships between them. There's something about the nostalgia of TV shows that we all watched growing up that breeds an interconnectedness. Since I still watch these shows, there's also something to me that makes these women feel timeless. The clothes they wear aren't dated because of how real the characters still are to me.
In addition to always looking towards the past, I also have a tendency to design based on my materials. It's the reason why there are so many everyday objects like dice and toy dinosaurs in my jewelry. I see something and I think "Can I make something from that?" For this collection, it was this amazing floral fabric that started it all. I built the entire collection around this fabric and designed the clothes on a hotel notepad while leaning against the shopping cart. This fabric was too good to pass up! And the "Let Them Eat Cheesecake Collection" was born.
In the past lookbooks, I have featured models across Ready to Stare's size range, one size small, one size large, one size 1X and one 3X. But for this lookbook, I wanted to do something I haven't done before -- feature another model who wears the same size as me but looks nothing like me. Both myself and fellow model Shauntae Meadows wear a size 3X; however, she is 5'9" and I am 5'1" with opposite body types. So often consumers shopping for plus size clothing are presented with one model - usually size 12, usually 5'10" and usually hour-glass. If she's not these things, the illusion is created in other ways such as shapewear, padding or editing. No shade to the companies that choose to represent their brand that way -- it's safe. It mimics the kind of beauty standards used in straight size advertisements. But it doesn't feel representative for me or my brand. And I believe representation matters. I have stretch marks. I don't have a flat stomach. I am a different size on the top than the bottom. I'm not here to create something that's "figure flattering" but I am here to make clothing and accessories that make you say feel like the best version of you. Ready to Stare is designed so that when you put it on, you love how you look so much that you don't give a fuck what anyone else thinks about it.
And the name of the collection was significant for me too -- and not just because the Golden Girls love cheesecake. A writer that I really like, Amanda Richards, penned a controversial essay about the #EffYourBeautyStandards movement. She pointed out that in much of media coverage surrounding Tess Holliday's modeling contract, there seemed to be a disclaimer that she worked out. Amanda's point was for the media, it's okay to be fat as long as you're trying not to be. So in my own way, showing two fat women eating cheesecake was my way of saying: it's okay to be fat. Period. You never have to apologize or justify who you are to anyone.
I really love this collection. It feels both fresh and timeless to me. And I hope you enjoy it! Thank you again to the team who helped: Linda Ford of Linda's Lenses Photography, Make-Up Artist Scott Core of Score Beauty, Hair stylist Katie Pickens and model Shauntae Meadows.
All of the pieces are limited edition so don't stress yourself out and miss out!
This post was originally published on March 2, 2015.