written by Tawana Blassingame
Whelp! Full Figured Fashion Week gave it to us once again. I had already come to terms that FFFWeek was not happening this year. But I was pleasantly surprised (and excited) to get the news that the show was still going on. We didn’t get to see each other in person (thanks COVID-19) but the show still went on virtually. And once again, they did not disappoint.
I caught up with Gwen DeVoe (Creator and Executive Producer of FFFWeek) after the show to do a wellness check and make sure she was ok. I asked her how she felt everything went and she said “Overall I was happy. This is the first time we have gone virtual, and the first time we used this new platform. There were a few hiccups that we needed to work out on the fly but everything worked out and everyone was happy”.
There is a whole lot to cover so let’s get to it…..
Disclaimer: I am not rubbing it in but if you didn’t attend this year then
dammit you should have.
Many of us industry professionals got together for an engaging Townhall discussion moderated by Madeline Jones, Editor in Chief of Plus Model Magazine to discuss inclusivity, branding, body positivity, and support within the plus fashion industry. You can find detailed coverage on the forum here
If you know about FFFWeek then you are familiar with the Boutique/Designer Showcase. Now I am not going to sit here and lie to you all; I was a little worried about how these boutiques and designers were going to pull this off virtually. BUT to know Gwen DeVoe and her palette for making sure things are done RIGHT is to trust Gwen DeVoe and KNOW that it will be done right. Gwen will cancel a whole production the day before if it is not up to her standards so my worry only lasted a few moments. (Back to the showcase right lol) Needless to say, they all made the world their runways and bought their A-games. We have lots more to cover in this so here are a few of our favorite looks from the showcase.
Big Man Culture talked a little bit about what they offer in terms of styling men and making them look & feel their best. I love to see our men represented in these shows and conversations. And I especially love me a man that can dress. So Michael Moss, you definitely had my attention.
Obioma Fashion creates fashion pieces that use the vibrancy of Ankara prints and modern silhouettes from American fashion to create new, original designs. And he gave us just that.
OurGlass Custom & Boutique is a clothing brand aimed at celebrating the Sexy & Unique Makeup of a woman! They showed us some everyday summer wear. She had pieces that you could dress up and dress down.
Honey’s Child Boutique is St. Louis first premier boutique for plus size fashionistas sizes 12 and up. They showed some fierce summer pieces from maxi dresses, jumpsuits, skater dresses and more just in time for summer.
Therese Marie Collections has created custom gowns for celebrity clients for the Oscars, Stellar and Emmy Awards Red Carpets. She closed out the show with gowns, gowns and more gowns. Her collection caught all of our attention with the reds and golds.
Please check them out and support
Day Three was packed with more goodness. Marie Denee aka The Curvy Fashionista (whom I love by the way). Held a virtual workshop called “Beyond Traditional Marketing, How to Dominate Your Digital Space”. In the workshop she shared tips, tricks, and techniques on how to leverage your business with social media, the digital tools to amplify, and how to navigate the digital space with confidence. It was so good and extremely helpful to any business owner. She does personal sessions y’all. I could connect you with her, or you can just click here and reach out to her yourself. Marie has built a successful business and is a great resource for anyone who needs help with theirs; especially in the social media and marketing space
Also on day three…. The model workshops were incredible. I am not a model and I truly enjoyed it. There was a lot of information given out from the models on the panel. I am not giving y’all all the tea because you should have been there. But the general consensus for both the men and the women were:
Research the brands you want to work with.
Be your authentic self.
Understand the different types of modeling and what area(s) you want to venture in.
Invest in your brand.
Know your worth and how to negotiate on your own behalf.
Curvy Model Workshop Speakers:
Moderator: Monica Day, The Plus Report
Men Big and Tall Model Workshop Speakers:
Kirklan Hawes (Moderator)
Immediately after the workshops was the So, You Think You Can Walk…..Male & Female Virtual Runway Model Competition. That was fun. Congrats the (our very own social media correspondent) Sheena Postell for taking home her $500 in cash and prizes on the female side. And Jonathan Davila for winning on the male side.
There’s more! I told y’all day three was packed. But we were HERE for it. We only had to buy your tickets and log onto our computers.
Up next was the Indie Designer Showcase. This is usually considered the FFFWeek finale. But not this year. This year’s lineup was:
Robert E. Knight brought us goddess vibes this year. Inspired by his late mother.
Hannah Caroline Couture showed her custom wedding gown collections.
Curverra gave us a little bit of everything for any occasion.
Tru Diva Designs is another designer that brought a little bit of everything. Each year Veronica brings her original, colorful and jaw-dropping designs to the runway. This year was no different.
Support these Indie designers! They are here for US! So let’s be there for THEM!
We ended the night off with The After Glow: (Virtual) Pajama Jam. The party had TWO DJ’s y’all. Shout out to DJ Sasha Renee and DJ Rich, Spirit of Washington, DC. If you ever partied with Gwen then you are aware that she can party all night long. Thank goodness we were virtual because she was ready to keep that reputation. LOL. It was definitely worth it. And a very nice way to end a full day of events.
Day Four started with The P.O.P.E. (Producers of Plus Events) Forum. The overall focus was Pivot, don’t panic. Some of the things they discussed were:
Supporting each other’s events.
Ways to possibly avoid overlapping events.
Pivoting from in-person to virtual events.
More efficient ways to promote events and solicit media.
The panel was moderated by Marcy Cruz, Creator of Fearlessly Just Me
Tanja Marfo, CEO and Founder, Plus Size Fashion Days Hamburg
Mallory B., Creator, Crusade of Curves
Kathy Blaze Jefferson, CEO and Founder, Blazing Curves
Angela Rivers, Creator, Ohio Kurvy Fashion Weekend
Becky Jarvis, Owner, Curvy Chic Closet
Mickey Armstrong, Creator and Producer, District of Curves
Theresa Randolph, Creator, Ms. Full Figured USA
And THEN we ended the day with the Faith Fest. This was technically the event finale. (I will circle back to that in a moment). But let’s talk about this Faith Fest. With the stresses of everything happening in the world it was NEEDED! The performers ministered to us through song and had some of us (ME) knee-deep in our feelings. Bravo Dawn Tallman, Donna Perry and Elijah Scott. You all have phenomenal voices.
Now for the final Finale (that is a thing because I just made it up lol). If you got a ticket for the Master Class on Monday with Instructor, Monif Clarke, CEO, Monif C. Plus Sizes then THIS was your finale. The Ultimate Guide to Building a Profitable Fashion Brand. No matter what you do (professionally) you would have been able to take some knowledge from this course and apply it to your business.
Well, I thoroughly enjoyed Full Figured Fashion Week. I hope you did
Until next year.
Congrats to this year’s Virtual Team Gwen DeVoe
(Creator and Executive Producer of FFFWeek),
Theresa Cottone (Virtual Stage Manager),
Terence Lloyd (Advertising/Media Coordinator), Kim McCarter (Event Consultant), Ernest Jackson (Sponsorship Coordinator), Kenyatta Johnson (Virtual Content Creator), Morgan Stewart (Digital Marketing/Event Coordinator), Nicholas Juzdan (Virtual Content Creator)
Special acknowledgment to Full Figured Fashion Week 2020 Sponsors and Event Partners: Lane Bryant, Cacique Intimates, LVH Enterprises, Queen Size Magazine, Plus Model Magazine, A Design by Diva, Bandalettes, Curvy Chic Closet, Gloria Arredondo, The Honorable Trap Gentlemen, Johntines Boutique, Live Better 360, N-V-Us Fashions and Boutique, Phyllis Spencer, Style by ADR, Susan Moses, Timothy Snell, The Curvy Doc, LifeStylz Plus, MsBeYouDoYou, Un@pologetic, Boots by Pamela, CDiamonds Cosmetics, Curvy Chic Closet Foundation, EyeQ, Fashionable & Thick, Flights in Stilettos, LiviRae Lingerie, Nathaniel Jaye, Pink Mahogany, Royal Hustley, Satrell Beauty, Slay Your Vacay and Slink Magazine