Warning: Spoilers Ahead. DO NOT READ if you haven’t seen the finale!
All curvy fans of Project Runway yelped in delight when the line up was announced this season, because for the first time an unambiguously plus size designer, who designs for plus sizes, was included! Ashley Nell Tipton is 24 years old, a recent graduate of fashion college, and unmistakable with her gorgeous lavender hair.
OK spoilers are REALY coming now. You ready?
AND THEN SHE WON!!! WOOHOO!!
Ashley was awesome straight out of the gate – one of my favorite looks was her very first one, probably because I’m a total sucker for prints.
Throughout the competition, Ashley was a strong contender, though she was oddly ostracized at certain points by the other designers – who knows whether that was true, or judicious editing, though. Reality TV these days makes it hard to tell.
Her finale collection was inspired by Mexico in the 1950s, and featured a variety of jewel and pastel toned lace two-pieces, sheer panels and crop tops. My favorite was definitely the purple ensemble which was adorably mermaid-y.
I’m so glad that Ashley won, not only because she’s talented and produces extremely wearable clothes (surprisingly so, for Project Runway) but because the prominence of Project Runway helps to further build the message that plus size women want to be beautiful, we want to wear clothes that make us feel awesome, and we want fashionable and cutting-edge looks as much as anyone else.
It seemed pretty clear to me that Project Runway was making “a point” (to be perfectly frank, I don’t know if she’d have won if the same clothes had been on straight size models) and it did irritate me how they kept on telling her how brave she was – is it really brave to make clothes for average sized women? I also felt that the sentiment of “WOW look curvy women wearing crop tops! Amazing!” was a little out of touch with recent curvy trends – crop tops and sheers have been on curvy blogs for years at this point.
But, I’m still so pleased that she did win, and I just hope that this is the beginning of more representation of curvy women on shows like this, and more clothes lines in stores. Not everyone has the amazing skill of being able to sew like us, and all women deserve to have lots of fashion choices and to be able to wear clothes that make them feel amazing.
So, brava Ashley! I can’t wait to see what you’ll do next. Do you watch Project Runway? What did you think about Ashley and her win?