The Daily Grind Video

The fashion industry has a major issue. In fashion, the trends come and go, but one is constant: the lack of diversity. Magazines, runways, and campaigns have been too white and too skinny for far too long.

We’re about a week into 2015 and it looks like the times are finally changing. First, Jourdan Dunn became the first black model to appear alone on Vogue UK in 12 years, and today comes another thing to celebrate, courtesy of New York-based designer Courtney Smith.

Smith’s line, Rum + Coke, is pretty—it’s a bold body-hugging extravaganza—but even more so are her models, all of whom are plus-sized women of color. She spilled to the fine folks at Refinery 29 about her collection, which ranges from small to 3XL and is priced between $48 and $200, and talked about what being body-positive means to her. Take a sip from her interview after the jump.

Your styles are sold in a huge range of sizes, but they’re only shot on larger models. Why is that?

“No one questions why there are only small women in other brands’ shoots. I put women of color and ‘larger’ women in my photo shoots for many reasons. One, because I believe in the multiplicity of beauty, and two, there are so many women who seldom see women who look like them in advertisements.”

What was the inspiration behind creating the line?

“I want women to be their most beautiful selves. There are so many negative messages: You’re not thin enough, you’re not young enough, you’re not light enough. These all basically tell women they are inadequate unless they change something about themselves or purchase this or that. I was inspired to create Rum + Coke to send a different message: You, woman, are enough. [Women] are beautiful in whatever package they come in.”

What are your feelings on what’s available in plus-size fashion?

“Plus-size fashion is evolving. Brands are beginning to pay attention to the needs of women who are larger than your standard ‘large.’ However, I feel many brands fall short of making quality plus pieces, or plus pieces at all, because of the stigma attached to weight. Some of these larger brands can do better but choose not to because they know there are a limited number of places that cater to this demographic.”

We know, we know, 2015 literally just began, but we’re willing to take this diversity thing one day at a time. In the meantime, shop Rum + Coke here.

SOURCE: Refinery 29 | PHOTO CREDIT: Rum + Coke

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