The Curvy Con has officially become one of the most body-positive spaces during New York Fashion Week, bringing in the most revered names in fashion, beauty, and entertainment. When body-positivity was still in its infancy in 2015, Curvy Con founders Cece Olisa and Chastity Garner sold their own clothes to make the convention happen. Fast-forward to 2018, and the fourth-annual convention is thriving with Oscar-nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe arriving to a standing ovation as the keynote speaker.
Sidibe is known for her bold style onscreen as Becky from Empire, on Instagram, and on the red carpet, making her a modern icon for the body-positivity movement. “This community is really really important because we’re the only ones not pointing the finger at each other…,” Sidibe said when asked about what attracted her to Curvy Con. “And [no one is] telling us…telling ourselves that we need to be something different.”
With the abundance of size-inclusive brands available to shop in person such as Dia & Co., LOFT, Macy’s, and Target, to numerous workshops surrounding confidence and career-building, the convention demonstrated that curvy women, like all women, have a range of styles and needs and should be viewed as such. From brands including plus-sizes in stores to more curvy celebrities in Hollywood, Sidibe recalls how body-positivity has improved during her career. “The biggest change is that I am not really the only one anymore,” Sidibe said regarding the red carpet. “And now, there’s been so much more body acceptance and we’re much more visible so there’s more room on the carpet for us now.”
That visibility extended to NYFW too. Even outside of the convention, attendees made headlines, by appearing in street style galleries in outfits that demonstrated that curvy bodies can be fashion-forward too. Especially with most street style galleries historically depicting straight-size, Caucasian women, the convention’s impact was definitely felt even by those who didn’t attend.
And the convention definitely practiced what it preached, with over 1,000 curvy women of all different ages, races, and styles mingling in a way that you’d wish wasn’t a rarity in most fashion-centric spaces.
After the displays and crowds left the venue, the electricity was one that would surpass even the NYFW calendar. Curvy Con proved that body-positivity isn’t just an Instagram trend, but more importantly listening as allies to those who have been ignored for far too long, and it definitely served as an awakening that every size needed. “I hope [body-positivity] goes further and further so that it’s not a big deal anymore…,” Sidibe said. “We just are who we are.”