The 2020 Curvy Chic Closet event & Foundation Fashion Show
written by Tawana Blassingame
Curvy Chic Closet event & Foundation Fashion Show is truly an experience for all bodies. Founder, Becky Jarvis, started Curvy Chic Closet after realizing that there were no plus size consignment events to help women buy beautiful gently used plus size clothing. The Curvy Chic Closet event this year was able to offer an amazing shopping experience under one roof with over 20,000 consigned items that included clothing, shoes, jewelry, purses, and accessories; all for the plus size consumer. Even during a pandemic.
I was thankful that I was able to enjoy this year’s event as they went virtual for the fashion showcase. I must say that I enjoyed it and a big part of me regretted not experiencing it in person before this. This wasn’t your typical fashion show. It didn’t showcase your average model that you would see on the runways of NYFW. What it did show was your average everyday woman; it made it that more relatable. Congrats to all involved. We were honored to be Sponsors this year and we thoroughly enjoyed the showcase.
Check out the one on one interview with Becky to get more details on the Curvy Chic Closet event & Foundation Fashion Show and find out how you too can get involved.
Founder, Becky Jarvis
QSM: I believe that every great success story began with a personal WHY. What was your personal why behind starting Curvy Chic Closet?
Becky: I originally created Curvy Chic Closet in 2011 because as a mom, I saw a need for plus size individuals to have access to gently used and new plus size clothing. I attended children’s consignment pop-up events as a seller and shopper. That light bulb moment went off! Ten years ago, I wondered why there wasn’t a plus size pop-up event in the United States. Curvy Chic Closet is now North America’s largest plus size consignment pop-up event held in the metro area of Portland, OR. We now have a community of shoppers that come from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California twice a year.
QSM: Take us back to the very first Curvy Chic Closet event. What did that look like compared to today?
Becky: When I originally started in 2011, I had around 40 sellers with around 2,000 items and was in an 1,800 square foot church building.
We started our fashion show in 2013 with 1 designer and 6 models. Curvy Chic Closet wanted to show that fashion is for “every body”. Since that time, it has grown tremendously to become the largest plus size fashion show on the west coast. The fashion show became more than just a fashion show. Our models range from ages 12 to 65 (youth, women, big and tall men) with all abilities and all heights. The fashion show has given our models confidence to believe in themselves and inspire others. To see our 14-year-old models being peer mentors to other teens is so inspiring! To see our models overcome bullying for being plus size is inspiring!
In 2018, we created the Curvy Chic Closet Foundation. Curvy Chic Closet Foundation’s mission is to empower and inspire plus-size individuals to be their best selves through addressing how to overcome body obstacles and developing strong, body-positive advocacy for all. Curvy Chic Closet Foundation has hosted You Are Enough empowerment workshops for teens and adults twice a year. The Foundation has also helped individuals attend body positive events in the Pacific Northwest and United States.
We just finished our Fall 2020 this past week and we had over 20,000 consigned items (plus size clothing items 14-34, shoes, jewelry, purses) and were in a 40,000 square foot building with plenty of space for social distancing.
QSM: The pandemic this year had everyone rethinking events. A lot decided to cancel and some decided to go virtual. You were one of the ones that took the virtual challenge. Why did you make the choice of producing a virtual event?
Becky: We had already cast our models in January 2020 and were in the process of fittings for our Spring 2020 Fashion Show when Covid-19 hit. I work with an amazing and strong production team and we knew that we would be able to produce fashion videos that would highlight all our designers. My Producer Cindy Bennett lives in California and supervised the summer filmings via facetime and worked closely with our Creative Director Hal Harrison in Oregon. It would have been a huge disappointment if we had to completely canceled our fashion shows for 2020!
QSM: Not everything was virtual though. A portion of your event was in person. Can you tell us what we missed?
Becky: Shopping galore of plus size clothing at bargain prices! We are also very much a strong community of curvy women. Some of our shoppers and volunteers only see each other twice a year at Curvy Chic Closet. Our fall event was like a long-time reunion of old friends. We have 11 spacious dressing rooms with body positive sayings in each of the dressing rooms. At our event, it is an opportunity to try on other brands that you might not have thought to try on such as Eloquii, Ashley Steward, Modcloth, Universal Standard, etc. We also had 15 locally-owned vendors around the perimeter of the building.
QSM: Did you see a big difference in terms of profits and your audience; i.e. attendance?
Becky: Our sales were slightly down due to Covid-19, but not as much as I had originally anticipated. Plus size women are always looking for clothing that looks beautiful on them. And our attendance throughout the 4 days was steady.
QSM: How do you go about choosing your models? What do you look for? I ask because you mentioned that “this is not your typical fashion show”. Can you elaborate on that?
Becky: We are a body positive event that wants to represent plus size individuals on our runway from all ages, heights, sizes, ethnicity and abilities. Our models for our fall fashion show ranged from 13 to 65 (teens, women and big and tall men). We have had models with hearing impaired, visually impaired and other things that have not stopped them from participating in our fashion show. I want that teen in the audience to be able to see themselves on our runway. We look for confident individuals that can inspire others.
QSM: Let’s talk about the charities that you teamed up with and why you chose those particular ones.
Becky: Our fashion show is under our non-profit of the Curvy Chic Closet Foundation. We also work with a local non-profit called Gungho Ministries that helps veterans in our community. In addition, we collect toiletries for Free Food Ministries. We have donated over 40,000 clothing to Gungho Ministries in the past 10 years. We believe in supporting our local nonprofits in the area.
QSM: When is your next show? And how did this year influence how you produce events moving forward?
Becky: Curvy Chic Closet will be back in late April/early May 2021. This was the year of “pivoting”. While I am not particularly fond of the word “Pivot”, I know that as a business owner it was a necessity to change. We have already started preparations for model casting, designer recruitment and filming locations for our spring virtual fashion show. I feel more ready to conquer 2021 and kiss 2020 goodbye!