Prabal Gurung for Lane Bryant- Designer Collaboration

Lately Lane Bryant has been on the fore front of bringing fashion forward clothing to plus size women. They have collaborated with some of fashion’s biggest names including Christian Siriano and just recently Prabal Gurung, among others such as Actress Melissa McCarthy and Designer Isabel Toledo.

Lane Bryant also begun a new limited edition fashion forward in house collection called “6th & Lane” which brings the newest items in fashion several times a year. These items are a bit pricier then their regular Lane Brant lines, but its obtainable luxury; flattering details and that extra smooth and silky fabrics that make you feel fabulous, without breaking the bank.

Prabal Gurung and is an acclaimed fashion designer. He has received recognition by the prestigious CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund in 2010 (new seasons available on amazon.com) and he has received the CFDA Swarovski Award for Womenswear in 2011 (source CFDA).

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Here he is posing with the amazing plus size model Ashley Graham. If your not familiar with Ashley Graham, she is a plus size model who has taken the industry by storm- landing major campaigns and magazine covers (including Sports Illustrated and more!). Ashley is breaking down the fashion barriers and representing an entire segment of women who have been often left out of any kind of PR or media advertising in the fashion industry. Finally some plus size representation in main stream media. Ashley also recently broke down more walls, when she walked for Michael Kors recent runway collection.

What I especially love about this particular collaboration is Prabal’s inspiration:

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The fashion industry is coming along and becoming more inclusive every day. I for one am very excited to see giants in retail like Lane Bryant listening to their customers and giving them more and more of what they want- FASHION! Fashion that is relevant, trendy, and available in a larger variety of sizes! And Lane Bryant is bringing together a group of designers who are not afraid to design for the plus size woman; they instead use her as their muse and let the curves inspire the shapes and silhouettes. Its very inspiring to see, as we see time and time again designers turn away from offering any plus size. We need more and more designers to step up and take on the challenge, as I for one will gladly hand over my dollars to higher end fashionable clothing. Fashion is an investment.

Here is a peak of some of the newest looks from the latest collection with Prabal Gurung for Lane Brant. I am obsessing over these new floral prints- abstract black and white always call my name. Check them out here!

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Throw in a moto jacket and a color block dress and I am in business. Chic, sophisticated and sassy. I love a contrast floral.

What pieces do you see yourself in? I for one am looking forward to even more designer collaborations in the future. I think it is smart business; we want more options then shark bite tops, body con dresses and polyester skate cut dresses. We want more- and we are willing to vote with our wallets. I know I will be.

Lane Bryant has also extended their size offerings in the designer looks, ranging now from a size 10-28. Maybe in the future we will see the size range extend once more into the 30/32 range.

What else would you like to see in plus size fashion? In Lane Bryant or any brand? Comment below!

Stay sassy and classy ladies!

-A

*** All photo credit belongs to Lane Bryant.

A Yearly Reflection: Looking Back and Moving Forward

As we find ourselves at the end of yet another year, we look back to reflect on the good, the bad and everything in between. It seems like we were celebrating the New Year just five minutes ago and we begin to ask ourselves how? Did we notice time just ticking by? What were we doing that whole time? Did we grow? What did we do? Did we remember to pick our heads up from our cubicles and actually see the world changing around us? Did we notice?

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Love this sewing clock.. sew little time!

I have been asking myself these questions for the last few months as the year was coming to an end. The older I get the faster time seems to go. This year I turned 26- the ripe age of another reality of adulthood coming to fruition; getting booted off my parent’s health and dental insurance. It wasn’t pretty at first, but I did survive.

 

This year I made the choice to stop depending on anyone or anything financially. Part of being an adult is learning to handle things ourselves, including our money. I reject the idea of being a princess waiting to be saved. No one will save you, you have to save yourself and be your own prince charming. I decided this year to take my finances by the balls and make them my bitch; taking control of my financial life and my future with a clear budget and a plan. The only person I need to depend on is me.  I find myself a year later- further down the road of independent financial adulthood.  And I must say it feels just fine!

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I have realized over this past year that this life is entirely my own journey and no one else’s. There is no set course and no set time table. What I choose to do with it, how I spend my time and money, and with who, is up to me. Not everyone is going to understand my journey (and yours), and that is totally OK- they don’t have to. I reject the idea of a predetermined time frame of which I have to obtain certain mile stones in my life. I will decide if and when the time is right for me and if I want those things at all. Marriage?  Probably. Kids? Maybe. When?  IF and When I decide.  This was a year of choosing for me and I chose to continue to pursue my fashion career and build my plus size fashion business and I couldn’t be happier. I did also get engaged this year! (Read all about it here)- But when we decide to walk down the aisle is up to us.

Looking back, one of my proudest moments this year was being a part of a special collaboration of plus size bloggers who represent style above a size 22. Check it out here! This is a huge deal because women who are a size 22+ are often left out of AD campaigns and online shopping options. I am honored to be chosen to represent an underserved segment of plus size women. I put my big girl pants on and faced my fears of being in front of the camera. I put on one of my very own hand made plus size dresses and rocked it!

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I also got to catch up with some of these amazing women in NYC during one of the biggest plus size fashion weeks around! Looking back this year was full of excitement and adventure! NYC is like no where else in the world. You get the chance to create who you are and be who you want to be. This summer while in NYC I had the best selling season of my hand made plus size dresses ever! I got there and did my very best- and this time, it worked! And the best part was, it made me happy, because I was doing what I loved (and I was making other people happy too!)

You should do what makes you happy and define your own version of success. I have decided that the plus size fashion entrepreneur life is for me. Level: Difficult- Challenge Accepted. One of the most valuable lessons I have learned is to not let anyone tell you, you can’t. I was brought up with the notion that “if you tell me I can’t, I will show you I CAN.” And I try to live that every day; remind myself that it is OK to fail, as long as I get back up and try again, for as long as it takes.

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I don’t always know the destination of my future because it continues to evolve. You do not have to have it all figured out. Trust me, no one does, and if they tell you they do- they’re lying to you. Don’t lose sight of your dreams, but accept that your dreams can change. Like most young adults I am continuing to try to figure it out, the best I can. Trying to build the life I want and choosing to believe and invest in myself. And you should too!

Appreciate all those small steps, no matter how tiny and allow yourself the feeling of joy and pride as you reflect on your year. You did this! Look at how far you have come! Savor in the moment! Get off your damn iphones and let it all in. Take a minute to stop and look around every once in a while, if you don’t, you just might miss it! Reflect and appreciate yourself and what you have achieved. Make a plan, and keep kicking ass in 2017!

Want to know what I am up to for 2017? Sign up on my mailing list and find out here!

Rock on!

-A

Style Beyond Size: Styling Fabulous Women Sizes 22+

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The bodies we often see portrayed in plus size fashion and in the media are women who are at least 5′ 10″ plus size models roughly a perfect size 14 or 16, with an hour glass shape. Ashley Graham is an amazing role model and an amazing plus size model! However as a plus size fashion blogger, I almost never see someone who is my size represented. I loved it when I saw Chrissy Metz on the tv show “This is Us” but was disheartened to find out it was part of her contract to lose weight. I understand her character signs up to lose weight on the tv show, but to me it just seems to be another type cast of a plus size woman who just cannot love herself at whatever size she may be (meaning NOT thin enough).

My point- when will it ever be “enough”? Why can’t I love the skin I am in? I have been as small as a 14 and as large as a 28. When I was recently asked to be apart of an amazing collection of women who rock a size 22 and up, I couldn’t say yes fast enough! Marcy Cruz of the plus size fashion blog “Fearlessly Just Me” reached out and said Hey- I have this vision, lets do this! I couldn’t wait to start! Check out the completed Look book here!

I also need to take the time to thank Marcy Cruz soooooooo much for including me! She is absolutely AMAZING and if you do not already follow her blog- do so here! 

I never thought I would be in-front of the camera. I have always been more of a behind the scenes girl. I always thought it was my job as a plus size fashion designer to help make other plus size women look and feel beautiful. However, it was very difficult to find plus size models that were over a size 16 or 18 who would get in front of the camera. Now I never thought I, myself would be that person, but I must say, there is a overwhelming wave of satisfaction that comes over me when I am able to slip on a plus size dress that I made, to fit my own body. I could make lots of dresses in college when I was learning, but I never got a chance to wear any of them because they were always too small; usually a size 6. I needed dresses that would fit my body- whether I was a 16 or 26!

Over the last couple of years I have been making hand made plus size fashion under the name ASK Fashion- check out my shop here! And I started this plus size fashion blog to help chronicle my journey not only as a plus size fashionista, but as a plus size fashion designer and fashion entrepreneur!

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This dress I have on, I call my Rose Print dress, and the Rose Print was digitally designed by me, printed in Massachusetts and hand sewn also by me in Ma! I love the way this ponte knit fits, giving just enough stretch and ease of movement with just enough structure. These are limited quantity and there are only a few left, check them out here!

Honestly, it took several photos to get a decent one of me! That day my best friend Katie and I went to go do this photo shoot- the win was blowing and I couldn’t keep my skirt down! Haha- I had to run and hide behind this wood wall. I also have a bad habit of not opening my eyes wide enough for photos. So it took some time to get just the right shot! Also, I am no professional model by ANY means, I am far from it! So it takes a few tries for me to get the pose right! I am usually the one advising the posing the model we have on set. So this was a totally different experience for me to be in front of the camera. Luckily my best friend is super patient!

Another look we shot as part of this 22+ look book- was this British outfit I had made!

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This dress is also made of ponte knit fabric. It has great stretch! I also hand make all my patterns for my plus size designs from scratch. This dress had lots of pattern pieces as every single one of these colors is cut and sewn together to make this design. There are only a few left of this design as well check it out here! I made this dress because I am kinda obsessed with Britain, even though I have never been to London! One day I will make it there, but in the mean time I am going to have to kick ass in this dress.

Want to be in the know when I launch more hand made plus size fashion dresses? Sign up on my email list here www.askfashion.co

I am also working on a new plus size jacket line named Rose Riot. Want to know more about that? Its a completely new brand focusing on kick ass plus size jackets that will last! Sign up here to get in the know on that! www.rose-riot.com

Thanks so much for reading my blog! Please check out all of the other bloggers on the look book here! If you read all the way down to here, here is a special deal- Use Coupon: ASK22 for 22% off ANY plus size dress from my ASK Fashion Etsy shop here!

Stay Classy Ladies and Rock out!

Best

Amanda

 

Skulls and Leggings

October is one of my favorite times of year! Not only because the leafs change and it becomes jacket weather, but because of Halloween its SKULL EVERYTHING. I also am obsessing about leggings;  not as pants, but as a fun addition to any dress. I personally love wearing leggings because they not only are a fun addition, but they protect my thighs from chaffing. I have never been a tights girl, they are annoying and they never fit. Honestly I don’t think I have gotten a pair of tights over my lovely large thighs since I have been 12. Don’t miss them and don’t care, I would much rather wear leggings.

These are the most recent leggings I have purchased are from Torrid. Unfortunately they are no longer available, but they do have more options with more skulls on them. Check them out here!    These leggings I got are some of my favorite! I honestly didn’t even know they had skulls on them originally. But if you look real close you can see them in the center.

 

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Here is a better picture. I love the safety pins too! A bit of punk rock! I loved the design and detail. I could wear this with a black dress, or a bright colored dress. It’s a perfect way to add a little punk detail in my look. I am always looking for ways to push the corporate boundaries and what better way then fashion!

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Here is an even better picture! If you look close you can see the small spades and skull profiles. Torrid yet again hit the punk rock nail right on the head. They are super soft and super stretchy. They wash pretty well- I haven’t had any issues with shrinking.

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And sometimes you just need to add a little attitude into your look!

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Torrid remains one of my favorite plus size retailers. Especially when it comes to buying leggings that fit. I usually wear a size 28, so I float between a size 4 and a size 5. I do usually order a size 5 when it comes to leggings instead of a size 4 because I don’t like when the elastic gets to too tight around my stomach. I work at a desk most of the day and the elastic can get pretty annoying. I will say on Torrid’s Core solid color leggings here  have a nice wide waistband and elastic, which I appreciate. It doesn’t fold onto itself, and always has nice recovery (snaps back into place after being stretched).

Do you have a favorite item you like to wear? Especially when it gets cold? What is it? I would love to know! Put a comment below! What to know what else I wear  with my leggings? Sign up on my mailing list! http://www.rose-riot.com

Rock on!

-A

 

 

 

 

 

The Plus Size Wedding Journey Begins: First Thoughts

Wedding season has been upon us for months already! So needless to say the invitations have been flying in the mail! In the next few weeks I will be attending a good friend from college’s wedding. As fashion designers, of course I went over and helped her alter her wedding gown! (Which is to die for! I can’t wait to show you pictures) I am I also helping my best friend re-vamp a relatives wedding gown- its going to look amazing when it is done!

This left my with my first thoughts about my own wedding. Of course there are always alterations when it comes to wedding gowns, I mean no one is built like a mannequin! But being a future plus size bride sometimes there are even more alterations! I cannot lie when I say I am a little nervous about finding the perfect dress. It is going to be a challenge because I am plus size, but it might be even more of a challenge as I am anything but ordinary and will want a more unconventional wedding gown.  I mean, I am a plus size fashion designer by trade, so of course I could make it myself- but as any bride would tell you- who wants that stress?!? But it is in my back pocket if necessary.

My best friends engagement photos came out magnificent! I am so happy for her! She is getting married a year from now! Being in her bridal party- needless to say there will be party plans in the near future for her!! As for me and my guy, we decided against engagement photos. He wasn’t really into them, and working in the fashion industry I already have a bunch of photographers that I work with to choose from- so I don’t need to “try” anyone out- that’s a bonus of working in the fashion industry- I already know some of the people who I can and will work with to help put my wedding day together!

Then of course I stumbled onto Pinterest and got hooked! Its hard not to! I already know I want a more alternative wedding: Gothic candles, white roses, non traditional wedding gown. I can see it already!

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I must say the fun part is the planning. The not so fun part is the money planning. What matters most? Where should the money go? This is another reason we aren’t rushing down the aisle- getting married takes money! (And so does buying a house- which we are currently working on!) Besides the money, like a fashion show- it takes time to gather all the necessary things to create the vision in my head and bring it into a reality. The combat boots I am planning to wear under my gown! The wedding gown! The venue! The center pieces! The list goes on and on! Why rush? We have already been together 5 years, (yes, I cannot believe its been 5 years already!) what is 2 more? It’s not like I work 2 jobs, and am building a plus size fashion brand or anything! This stuff takes time, and money. Time I have, money I am hustling to make!

Have you been a plus size bride? What were your best moments? What were you most worried about? Money? The Dress? The Honey moon?

I would love to hear from you!

As always- stay strong and rock on!

-A

 

 

Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology AND a surprise!

Hello again!

So a few weeks ago I was able to find time on my crazy business trip in NYC to visit the famous Metropolitan Museum of Art! And of course I had to go see the ManusXMachina: Fashion in the Age of Technology exhibit! How could I come all the way to NYC and not go see it? Last summer, I was able to see the Met’s exhibition of China: Through the Looking Glass, which was equally amazing!

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The exhibit was breath taking! There was so much to see and admire. Some of these designs were 3D printed, others were a work of art in their complex design and linear structure; there were all feats of fashion. I, myself love the linear looks below, they reminded me of the movie Tron. While some of the others were the Elizabethan concept of tight pleating and twisted it into geometric shapes. It was incredible.

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And then there was the tiny texture and detailing. My photos really do not do these dresses any justice. In person there was just so much more you could see, even the tiniest details made a huge impact. This texture below looks like tiny flowers. I cant even fathom the amount of hours these design took to bring to life. If I were to guess it would be over 100! If not more!

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And of course there was other art to admire! We did end up spending the entire day at the Met! 6 crazy hours (it was a Sunday after all) of walking through those halls filling my mind with inspiration! Its clear I am drawn towards bright colors, bold graphics, hard lines and shape! And I must say I was just drawn to this painting of lipstick. What you cannot tell from my photos, is each of the paintings below are easily at lest 10×10′ Feet! They were huge!

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If the art wasn’t inspiring enough, what I didn’t mention was before we went to the Met, we started off our day at Starbucks, my favorite coffee house. I had just worked through most of my business trip and finally had a day off! It was our last day in NYC and I was not going to miss the Met exhibit. However, little did I know when we got to that Starbucks my life would change!

My boyfriend of 5 years usually accompanies me on my NYC business trips. Although finding time to spend together with a crammed work schedule is a bit challenging, we find the smaller moments together to make it count. Like getting pizza at 2am after a midnight showing of an AMC movie! (Which we did!).

So needless to say when we sat down upstairs in Starbucks, I got the shock of my life. And you know how everything in NYC is vertical, and being upstairs in Starbucks allowed for more privacy for the two of us.

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And there it was! A beautiful, purple, skull (yes SKULL!) engagement ring!! And right on the top of my cup were the words, “Marry me?” and of course, I just had to reply my response on the cup! I said YES!

I was over the moon! And the ring fit!!! Which, I was super excited about, because I have huge hands and I was afraid it wouldn’t fit. (I did find out later the ring was a size 10, which was perfect!).

I had an amazing business trip. I had the best business events, and totally kicked ass at the Curvy Con and Full Figured Fashion Week (read all about that here!)

I couldn’t wait to go home later that night and tell my parents and friends! This is surely one business trip I will never forget!

Want to see what else I was working on while in NYC? Join my mailing list for my new jacket brand and company and get the behind the scenes look!

Sign up here! www.rose-riot.com

Have a comment? Have you been to the Met? To NYC? I would LOVE to hear from you!

With the happiest wishes and heart!

-A

Full Figured Fashion Week and The Curvy Con! 2016

Hello again and welcome to the work-a-holic chronicles- I mean The Koker Chronicles; the tales of a plus size workaholic, entrepreneur fashionista!

This year I had the pleasure of attending Full Figured Fashion week’s Celebrate My Size Expo, and The Curvy Con! Both events are held in NYC every june! I am not going to lie, its my favorite time of year! These events are not to be missed!

Well some of you may know, In my spare time I design and sell plus size hand made dresses. I was fortunate enough to be able to do a pop up shop at both of these amazing events.

First, I love NYC. There is something about that city that makes me feel like I have returned home. The familiar streets, fashion ave, cheap $1 pizza slices off 38th street, there is nothing quite like NYC. I return several times a year; sometimes do to a pop-up shop and other times to find fabrics and sometimes when I have a life and am not working (which is a rare occasion) I do find time to visit friends and have a glass of wine!

A few years ago at the Full Figured Fashion Week event in NYC, I met my friend and fabulous fashion blogger Farrah Estrella of the Estrella Fashion Report. She is an amazing fashion blogger, and a great friend. I am so happy to have met her in NYC. We started talking, and hit it off right away! And she is super sweet, she has even showed her support by purchasing a few of my hand made plus size dresses! Did I mention she looks kick ass in them? That’s a photo of us below!

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Below is a photo of my floral scuba dress that sold out while I was doing pop up’s in NYC. Doesn’t it look great on Farrah?? Want to see what else I have? Check out my shop here!

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On the day after I arrived in NYC, was the Full Figured Fashion Week Expo. This was an event hosted by Plus Model Magazine, Full Figured Fashion week and Fruit of the Loom! This is an event where you get to meet and greet various plus size brands and do some shopping! Big and small brands were there! Boots by Pamela, Yona New York, and of course, me, ASK Fashion!  There was also the main sponsor, Fit for Me, bu Fruit of the Loom. I must say they have a fantastic underwear line out (Fit for Me) and one of my favorite parts was getting free samples to try! And I must say, I love them!

Here are some more photos from the event!

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One of my favorite things about attending these Expo’s and Conventions, is all the great bloggers, shoppers, friends and more that I get to meet there! There are so many inspirational women, all gathered in one place to come together and be fabulous. I saw shoppers of all shapes and sizes, all rocking their own personal styles and it was quite fun! Having gone a few times, I tend to run into people I know.

The next day, was The Curvy Con. Below is Jess Baker: The Militant Baker. She wrote an amazing book called “Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls” Check her out here! She is amazing and always so fun to see! I first her met her in Boston on her book tour! She had come by my local Lane Bryant in Braintree, and of course I had to meet her and buy her book! Her book is also awesome and full of truth and love!

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This year was my first time at The Curvy Con. It was a two day event of friends, shopping, seminars and more! Sponsored by JC Penny, who just recently launched a new plus size ad campaign, that you gotta see! (Jess Baker, above, is in the campaign!) Check it out on youtube! JC Penny is also working with Project Runway winner, Ashley Nell Tipton, who is a brand ambassador that designed JC Pennys newest plus size brand addition, Boutque+.

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My other favorite part of these amazing plus size events is all of the body love and positivity. I took a picture in front of the Curvy Cons Instagram wall. I loved it!

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I also met Alysse Dalessandro from Ready to Stare (bottom left) And Emily Ho of Authentically Emmie-(bottom right) two amazing fashion bloggers that I have followed for a long time! Check out their blogs! Also, another wonderful woman I met last year during Full Figured Fashion Week, who also stared on the hit tv show, Big Women, Big Love. She is amazing, full of fun and laughter! Running into her is always a fun time; Sabrina Severance. (Top right). And of course, the two lovely ladies who are the creators of the Curvy Con- Chastity Garner of Garner Style, and Ce Ce Olisa, Plus Size Princess!

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My absolute favorite part of participating in a Pop Up shop, is being able to meet and talk to fellow plus size fashionistas! I just love getting to know people, and hear what their needs and wants are, because after all we all want to be heard! I was so excited to see my customers light up with delight when they tried on one of my new hand made plus size dresses! They light up inside, just like I do when I am making them! Its an incredible feeling.What an amazing time! I can’t wait to go back next year!

Did you miss me in NYC?! Well don’t worry, I am participating in another Pop Up Shop in Boston Ma- during Boston Curvy Fashion Week on July 30th! Get your tickets here! Can’t wait? Check out my Etsy shop here!

So speaking of work-a-holic, I am also working on a new plus size jacket line, if you want to get in on that action, make sure you sign up here! Be the first to know when we launch, an exclusive behind the scenes look at building a plus size fashion company from the ground up.