My curvy sisters, I am so excited to share with you my interview with Ty-Juana Flores, fellow curvinista, wardrobe stylist, and founder of Style Your Curves, Boston’s own styling destination exclusively for us.
1. Question: Why did you choose to become a curvy stylist and what do you love most about it?
Answer: I have always had fashion in my life; it was the norm for me to be surrounded by clothing and people who love it. I noticed that women with curves, even perfect strangers, would come to me for advice and guidance while shopping. I have a great group of friends and family who are curvy like me and we have all shared war stories about the elusive “perfect fit” and how designers are not catering to size 12 and up the way they should be. My passion for helping others in that area blossomed through my experience and I love focusing on making people happy!
2. Question: What were some of the challenges you faced when creating Style Your Curves and how did you overcome them?
Answer: My biggest challenge would probably be proving that I am actually considered plus size and trying to explain to certain potential clients that I know about the plus size market. I am 6 feet tall, I wear size 14, and I have no problem putting on a Spanx, so don’t be fooled! My height stretches me out. I have always wondered why I was questioned about that because at the end of the day what really matters is if I as an individual have the skills to help a client look their best, right?
3. Question: Who was your biggest supporter when you were launching Style Your Curves?
Answer: My biggest supporters would definitely have to be my parents; no explanation needed on that! I mean, come on, they’re my parents! They understand my drive for success and do everything they can to help me succeed.
4. Question: Who was your favorite person to style and why?
Answer: I don’t really have a favorite person to style; I have enjoyed all of my experiences so far. They have all been different; ask me again in about a year and maybe I will have a different answer.
5. Question: Can you describe the biggest fashion disaster you’ve ever seen and how you fixed it?
Answer: One client was interested in my services and, as I always do before meeting with each new client, I asked for full body images and for her to fill out a fact sheet. The photos and fact sheet did not prepare me for what I was going to see in person! This particular client was looking for a closet intervention. Now, when I arrived at the home, her bedroom was a perfect example of a hoarder; I am no expert in that area but I have seen enough episodes of the show Hoarding, Buried Alive!.
I work by the hour and this client took 6 hours of my time, which was rare for me but, at the end of the day, she was able to put together outfits and accessories that she already owned without having to set foot inside a store. Let’s just say I got a great tip after that appointment and she has asked me to come back each season!
6. Question: Why do you think so many designers do not want to create plus size clothes?
Answer: After working in the fashion industry in New York for a few years, I always asked that same question of my coworkers and colleagues and always got the same answer, “Too much fabric, too much money, it’s an additional cost to the designer, etc etc”. I feel that some designers who do an entire size run, sizes 0-12, need to take a deeper look at their collections and cut back on styles so that a plus size category can be added to the line. I have seen designs come out of showrooms that are then put into production only to be put on sale in a department store or boutique. That happens because the original design did not reflect the customer. So why not invest in a customer who will shop the pieces that are selling out in the smaller sizes? Get my point? Of course, modifications will need to be made to the design to cater to the curvy woman, but its worth it!
7. Question: Why do you feel that the majority of plus size models are non-Caucasian?
Answer: I never really noticed that the majority of plus size models were non-Caucasian, but with any culture, genetics, family dynamics. health concerns, etc, play a key factor. I guess I’m just color blind.
8. Question: What would you say to critics who claim that encouraging women to accept their bodies will add to the obesity epidemic?
Answer: I would tell them that they should try to think outside the box. Loving your body says nothing about being obese or turning it into an epidemic. “Self love” means accepting who you are the way you are. Now, if one chooses to change the way they look to feel healthier and more vibrant, that should be a personal decision, not a decision based off society’s demands. My focus when dealing with curvy clients is to also teach the importance of self-love. If you have that then the critics’ comments are just that…plain ole comments!
9. Question: What are your hopes for yourself and the plus size fashion industry over the next 5 years?
Answer: My hope is to bring awareness to a size market that is just as valuable and in as high of a demand as any other size group. I have mapped out a 5-year plan for my business and hope that I can keep my vision alive.