Chubstr Crush features profiles and conversations with women who inspire us. This week, we talk to Australian based designer and model Gisela Ramirez, whose new collection is blurring the lines between plus size and traditional size clothing. You can see the line in Gisela’s BigCartel shop or follow her blogs here and here. She’s fearless, fun and inspiring, which is exactly why we wanted to talk to her.
Chubstr: How old are you?
Gisela Ramirez: I turned 24 in March!
C: How long have you been designing clothing and how did you get started?
GR: I’ve been making clothes since I was really young. From the age of about 10-12, essentially half my life. I realised that as a fat girl, I wasn’t going to be able to wear the clothes other kids could. I started my DIY obsession by chopping and changing the unflattering clothes my mum would buy for me (often in petite women’s sizes). It wasn’t always successful, and on more than one occasion my mother would sneak up behind me with scissors and cut me right out of a skirt she thought was too short!! In retrospect, I can see why it would be a nightmare to have a clothing, DIY fanatic, pre-teen daughter!!
C: How would you describe your clothing line?
GR: Training wheels for fat ferocity/layering 101/a tasting plate for introducing colour, luxury and glam into your wardrobe!
C: What sizes do you offer?
GR: I offer plus sizes 2xs-3xl which roughly translate to a US14/16-28 In the future I hope to extend my size range for different pieces.
C: The pieces in your line are bold and fearless and sexy. You could imagine a person of any size wearing them, which is something you don’t see enough of in clothing that’s available in plus sizes. Did you set out to make a specific statement when you started doing this?
GR: Thank you! I’m thrilled when people recognise that these aren’t “fat clothes”I’ve always found it frustrating, and more so insulting, when I can’t find clothes in my size that have any semblance of sex appeal or style. It seems that too often, fat people get the left-over, repurposed, old and tired designs that have simply been cut in an unflattering way! My statement is that whether you are fat, skinny, short or tall, if you feel stylish and fabulous, you should celebrate your body with clothing that says all of that about you; No apologies.
C: What are your goals for the clothing line?
GR: Besides the obvious (to sell a whole bunch of clothes) 1.To see my clothing being worn by strangers walking down the street! It would blow my mind, and even more if they recognise me and say hello!!!! 2.To have support!! I’m really looking for good staff, or a business partner. The worst part of doing it all on your own, is the loneliness!! 3.To see my clothes on Beth Ditto, Adele and April Flores. I truly believe my current collection is diverse enough to dress these three divas! I have already picked out pieces from my collection for each of them! 4. To have a runway show at some stage this year! I think the photos looked beautiful, but you can’t truly do justice to the flowing silk chiffon, and silk organza pieces, unless you see the beauty of the fabric in movement!
C: Designer, photographer, fatshonista – you’ve got a lot going on. How do you find the time?
GR: I honestly don’t know how! I planned to have everything released at the same time and launch it all in spectacular fashion, but building a collection from the ground up, all on my own, is a huge learning curve! I guess the way I do it is by blending all my hobbies into one; I design, and make the clothing, style the photo shoot, shoot everything with self-timers (except the beach shoot) and then edit, retouch and upload all of it. It’s time consuming and draining, so it helps to love it!!
C: Let’s switch things up a bit – is there anything you see in men’s fashion right now that you really like? (Our visitors are always looking for tips!)
GR: How Fitting! I work in a mens formalwear store on the weekends to pay my bills, so I consider myself somewhat well-versed in mens fashion. The trend that i’m most excited about right now is dandification; The blurring of lines between formalwear and street style. Just think of all the accessories you get to play with! Suspenders, waist coats, top hats, trilby hats, pocket squares and my favourite… the bow tie! My best advice is for men who want to do the bow tie look but find that most of their shirts are still too tight around the neck; Get handy with a needle and thread. It’s really easy to cut off that top button and move it over to the very edge. If you need more room, leave a bit of slack in the thread. Don’t worry about it looking DIY, it all gets covered by your tie!Don’t forget: accessorise, accessorise, accessorise!
C: One of the things we love about you is that you’re so comfortable with your body (and rightly so!). Have you always been this way?
GR: Thank you! No, I haven’t always been this way, it’s been a journey. I think a good place to start is by throwing out your beauty magazines and detoxing from the pop culture definition of beauty. The next step is to bite your tongue when you think of criticising the way other people look or dress, and ask yourself why you feel the need. Those two single acts give you permission to see yourself in a different light & I promise they can make an impact on anyone’s life.
C: What inspires you?
GR: What inspires most of the world’s population? Women and sex!I’m inspired by ladies who are fearless with their bodies, their sexuality and their style. Fat babes with guts: Beth Ditto, April Flores, Kelli Jean Drinkwater, Contessa Stuto, Velvet d’amour, Vagina Jenkins.. The list goes on and on.I’m not inspired by trends or fashion but by attitude, and I hope my clothes express that.
C: Do you have any tips for people who want to be more bold with their style, but are hesitant to take that step to do it?
GR: Figure out what’s stopping you from wearing those clothes you’re coveting. For example as a woman, sometimes i’ll worry that a dress I thought looked perfect on the rack, turns out to be just that little bit too short, so i’ll wear it out with leggings first. Another example; If you’re trying to bring some colour into your wardrobe, pair the bright colours with black, like your basic black denim jeans. Every bold new look can feel safer with some training wheels!
C: What’s next for you?
GR: Once my collection is fully up and running, with all pieces ready to go and selling, I’m planning a trip to the USA to promote my brand! First stop RE/DRESS in NYC… and then…the sky is the limit!
Sign up for our newsletter, The Chubstr Weekly, for a chance to win pieces from Gisela’s line. Specifically, these pieces:
The One Sleeve Bodysuit
I <3 Leggings
It’s that simple. Sign up for the newsletter and you’re registered to win. We’ll pick two winners from our subscriber list on Monday and announce them right here on the site, so be sure to check back to find out if you’re going to be one of them. No restrictions on location or anything like that, so enter to win!