Project Runway often had both men and women designers who were plus sized, but the show never featured any of the models or the show ending NYFW shows with plus size models, that was just the way things went. I should point out that in the fashion industry, size 0-2 is considered the "norm" anything over a size 8 in the fashion industry is looked upon as a plus size.
In the real world plus size starts at maybe 14/16 and on up from there. Season 14 of Project Runway had a cool new breeze blow through the door and her name was Ashley Nell Tipton. Ashley came on the show to win, and win she did. During the course of the season, Ashley won several of the designer challenges and then decided to go against the advice of the designer's "mentor" and voice of wisdom Tim Gunn and designed what she wanted. Ashley not only used plus size models during her NYFW show, she won Season 14.
What did I like about Ashley, everything. Yes, she is a big girl so she understands from the ground up the challenges that being plus size can bring about. For one Ashley is not afraid to use color in her designs. Most designers are finally realizing that while everyone has and loves the color black, the color does not have to dominate every facet of your closet especially for those of us larger ladies. You know the old saying, "wear black it's slimmng."
Fast forward to 2017. Thus far Ashley has been featured in numerous articles, shows and has a current fashion collaboration with retailer JC Penney As of February 2017 Ashley has collaborated with pattern maker Simplicity for the release of several patterns.
You can purchase the patterns online from Simplicity or pop into your local Fabric Store and pick up the patterns.
Ashley will be featured in the March issue of Fabuplus Magazine