Blogger Gabi Gregg has been advocating chic fashions for plus-size women for quite some time now through stylish posts on her popular blog Gabi Fresh. But it was Gregg's "Fatkini" post clad in a striped pin-up style bikini that sparked almost 200 comments. The blogger has now teamed up with SwimsuitsForAll to finally design what she and other stylish plus-size ladies have been on the hunt for. Here, she talks to ESSENCE about the collabo and why you should rock your two-piece fearlessly.
ESSENCE: What initiated the conversation of creating a capsule collection for swimsuitsforall? Did you inspire them with your "fatkini" blog post?
GABI GREGG: I think so! I have been fashion blogging for five years now, and while I'm known for my sense of style, my bikini blog posts have definitely had the biggest reactions. Because I'm well known for encouraging women of all sizes to feel comfortable in swimwear, swimsuitsforall approached me about designing a few months ago and I jumped at the opportunity. I've wanted to design for years, and I think this was a perfect match for me.
ESSENCE: What was your inspiration in coming up with prints, colors and, most importantly, the silhouettes?
GREGG: Neons are such classic bikini colors, yet they're not easily available in plus sizes, so I knew I wanted to include them in my collection. I also really love the graphic print trend that's so huge right now, and I wanted to see it translated into swimwear. I've been obsessed with galaxy print for a while now, and I knew it would look killer on a bikini. In terms of silhouettes, I think high waisted two pieces are super great on curvier body types, and I love that the neon bikinis are convertible; you can either wear them very high-waisted, or fold them down to your comfort level.
ESSENCE: Which specific cuts did you select and what about these styles flatter a curvy figure?
GREGG: I think some women want to be able to tan their mid-sections, yet don't want string bikinis, so I think that my two pieces provide a style that many plus-size women are looking for. I also designed a one piece and a cover-up for women who want more coverage.
ESSENCE: As a designer and a consumer were there specifics that you were able to address with what you've been looking for in swimwear and couldn't find?
GREGG: I really just was looking for great styles! I think so many plus-size swimsuits are made for the older demographic, and it was hard to find really on-trend, reasonably priced swimwear that I loved. I wanted to stay away from what I usually see, like floral prints and skirted suits, and focus on fun details like convertible tops and bottoms, and mesh cut-outs. These are those fun, stylish additions that you don't see everyday for women my size.
ESSENCE: Which style is your favorite?
GREGG: The galaxy print bikini is my favorite. It's a definite stand-out piece and is for the women who aren't afraid to make a statement. I haven't seen anything like it in my size before.
ESSENCE: What would you tell our curvy readers are the top 3 things they should be paying attention to while shopping for swimsuits this season?
GREGG: 1. Make sure you feel comfortable, whatever that means for you. For some women it may mean more coverage or support, for others it may mean bright colors and low cuts. 2. Don't get discouraged when something doesn't fit well. It's not a reflection on your worth! There are attractive styles out there for all body types, so don't feel down if the first few you try don't make you feel great. 3. I think every woman should try a two piece, especially if they haven't done it in a while. It's really liberating! I've had so many people thank me and tell me they're finally going to wear one again after years of feeling ashamed.
ESSENCE: Any big swimsuit no-no's?
GABI FRESH: Honestly, I think it's all about the individual. Some people would say that I shouldn't wear a bikini at my size, and I obviously disagree! For that reason, I think as long as you feel your best, you should go for it.
GabiFresh for swimsuitsforall will be available beginning May 15, in sizes 10 through 24 and priced from $49 to $99.