When we chatted with blogger and designer Gabi Gregg, she was quick to point out that while she’s released several clothing collections with her name on them, she’s not a designer when it comes to technical skills necessarily. And sure, pattern-making and sewing are a critical part of creating a garment, but no one can deny that the L.A.-based influencer knows fashion—not just fashion for plus-size women.
And her latest collection is the most recent example of how she’s helping push the industry forward, one swimsuit at a time. Dropped earlier this week, the GabiFresh x SwimsuitForAll collection released its latest designs including super-high-leg one-pieces, supportive underwire bikinis in color-block separates, and string bikinis that resemble a wet T-shirt. “It’s not heavy like a cotton T-shirt would be,” she assured us over an Instagram Live chat last night.
Gregg noted that it was her first time experimenting with a string design, as well. “Just because I have a big bust doesn’t mean I can’t wear a string bikini, too,” she said about choosing a variety of very of-the-moment silhouettes. “As with all of these trends, people can be nervous thinking women don’t want to show that much skin or wouldn’t want something so high-cut but we really try to push it forward … and still make it friendly for a plus-size body.”
But while giving women who wear sizes 10 to 26 greater choice of swimwear is one accomplishment, Gregg’s new campaign, “Power of Survival,” is also helping set a new standard for how all women should be represented in fashion. She enlisted Philomena Kwao and Ericka Hart to star beside her in the campaign, shot in the jungle of Belize. “Of course they’re beautiful physically,” she said of her casting choice, “but we wanted to cast women who embraced that messaging [of survival].”
>You’ll likely recognize Kwao as a model, but she’s also known in the fashion industry for being outspoken on issues of colorism and diversity. Meanwhile, Hart is also an activist and breast cancer survivor whose topless images revealing her double mastectomy scars have become a bit of an internet sensation.
“I was honestly honored,” Hart says of Gregg asking her to join the shoot. “I read the initial email at least 20 times because I couldn’t believe that little ol’ me was being considered as a model.” The resulting images from the Belize shoot—greatly inspired by Destiny Child's own iconic “Survivor” anthem—are stunning, powerful, and celebratory.
>We asked Gregg to share her own survivor mantra—something that can hopefully inspire us all to make changes that are far overdue and challenge the norm in 2018. Her advice? “Be so good they can’t ignore you.” Looking at the images here, that seems spot-on to us.