Edge Fashion Feature: MONIF C.
“…The greatness of who you are does not start with your body, it starts with who you are as a person. We are all here for a purpose and the different unique parts of each one of us is what make us beautiful. That has nothing to do with your “skin” or our bodies. It is a daily challenge for most people, so don’t feel like it’s impossible to overcome…” -Monif C.
Chances are you have either seen BET’s Rip The Runway or Celebration of Gospel, watched the MTV Video Music Awards, or read an article in Essence Magazine. If so, you were probably unknowingly exposed to the work of celebrity plus-sized fashion designer Monif C. . Aside from her gorgeous, colorful and forward creations, there are much deeper lessons to take away from the New York based designer with Barbadian roots. Lessons of courage, self-acceptance, and pure guts. Before the glits and glam of photo shoots, celebrity fittings, and runway presentations, Monif like most of us knew she had more to offer the world. After noticing a void within fashionable plus- sized fashion, she quit her well paying job and decided to take matters into her own hands to fill in the gap. Just five short years ago she ventured into the world of fashion as a designer, and today stands as a fashion maven that decided to rewrite her own story. But before I divulge in all the many reasons to love her clothing, let me first give you the background of how this story came to be and a brief look at Monif’s character. While on twitter I randomly mentioned how great it would be to feature Monif for Edge, and within 5 minutes Monif herself tweeted me back saying “sounds good”. To be honest I was in a state of complete shock for about 10 minutes. But that fiery make-it-happen attitude is natural of a person that wishes to instill fearlessness in every woman regardless of size, age, or ethnicity “It takes courage to be yourself. Whatever you desire to do, go for it. Don’t wait around for acceptance or for a push from someone else.” And as a woman of her word, Monif lives out her own advice daily. Truly living on the EDGE, Monif puts her all into the craft of design and leaves all naysayers in the wind. When asked how she combats negative depictions of plus-sized women and designers within the fashion industry, Ms. C. matter-of-factly stated that “I don’t actively seek out to combat any negative stereotypes when I design. If that is a by product of what I do, that’s great, but that’s not my focus. I work everyday to design clothing for that woman who is not waiting around to feel good about herself. We are celebrating beautiful women of all shapes and sizes and that’s what we strive to do.” Go Girl! It did take time however, to develop into the person she is today. Like us all, Monif did have to overcome issues of self-acceptance. Growing up plus-sized, it wasn’t until the age of 24 that Ms. C found comfort in her own skin, “I believe it is only when you decide to love yourself through “thick or thin” that you are able to make decisions that work best for you and are not based on how someone else believes you should look or live your life.” I couldn’t agree more and believe that her personal mantra is what made Monif such a success. Her clothes speak for themselves, and finally offer women with curves high- fashion options at reasonable prices. Inspired by her love of traveling, Monif gives women a piece of the world everytime they wear one of her creations. “This year I’m going to Tanzania and China and I am so excited about what I am going to experience there and how it will impact my design. I am also inspired by the women who wear my clothes. I design for confident, sexy, sophisticated, fashionable women!” Her no holds barred approach to using luxutious fabric, color, print, and texture give Monif a competitive advantage within the fashion industry. Her newest merchandise the Marilyn Convertible and Marilyn Ruched Convertible dresses she can barely keep in stock, the super comfy jersey dresses come in a wide array of colors and each dress can be worn in more than 22 different ways. I told you this woman was on the EDGE. Be sure to check out Monif’s exclusive tips on dressing below.
Her 3 fashion DOs/DONTs of dressing for Curvy Cuties
DO wear shapers and appropriate undergarments.
DO accessorize wisely, your accessories should just be the punctuation to your fashion statement.
DO wear heals, it makes everything look better.
DONT be afraid of color, black should just be an option, not a staple.
DONT look for clothes to hide your figure, rather accentuate the positives.
DONT buy into a trend if it does not work for your style and personality. No matter what you wear be true to self.
Written by Kori C. Fields