As an avid consumer of all things fashion and beauty, I have, on many occasions, heard complaints about the lack of affordable, fashion-forward plus-sized wear on the market.
Couple that with the industry's blatant whitewashing and hesitation to fairly represent a range of sizes in high-fashion editorials, and one thing becomes painfully clear: The market remains largely exclusionary, catering only to the size zero, American woman who represents an increasingly minuscule proportion of the population.
These tired practices make no sense.
Launched in 2013, the label offers stylish, on-trend threads with sizes ranging from small to 3XL. Affordable price points ($48-$200) only add to the brand's appeal.
For Rum + Coke, fashion isn't reserved for the rich, but made accessible to every woman — regardless of size or economic status.
See why we're head over heels?
After ditching a career in finance, Smith decided to launch the label in an effort to “send a different message” than the one commonly conveyed by the fashion industry.
And how she chose to do this is simple, yet groundbreaking: She exclusively hires plus-sized women of color to model her garments.
She told Refinery29,
No one questions why there are only small women in other brand's shoots. I believe in the multiplicity of beauty… there are so many women who seldom see women who look like them in advertisements.
Plus-sized fashion, Smith admits, is evolving, but there's still much work to be done. She says,
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.
I was inspired to create Rum + Coke to send a different message: You, woman, are beautiful enough. [Women] are beautiful in whatever packing they come in.