The Suit Urself Swimsuit Challenge is still going strong (check out our gallery)! For this week’s Suit Urself post, it’s important to give credit where it’s due. Supporting the body-positive movement, there have been a few key players who are making waves. Meet the fat-shionistas! Perhaps the biggest push for body acceptance was the coming of the “fatkini.” Larger women have struggled to find swimsuits that flattered their figures and wouldn’t subject them to wearing unfashionable one-pieces for a long time. The fatkini changed that, and you should know who the woman behind this initiative was. The woman responsible for this is no other than plus-sized blogger Gabi Gregg, who also partially designed the two-piece.

gabifreshIt all started in May 2012 when Gabi, better known by her pen name GabiFresh, created an online fatkini photo gallery of 31 voluptuous, bikini-clad women for lifestyle website xoJane.com. Gabi also decided to lead by example by posting an image of herself in a bikini. “From my readers, them seeing me in a bikini has really pushed them to try it out because they’ve said, ‘I’ve never done this or I haven’t worn a bikini in 10 years, but thank you so much. I finally have the confidence now that I see how great you look.’” One year later, Gabi had partnered up with Swimsuits for All, an online retailer of plus size women’s swimwear, to create her own fatkini line. Gabi told ABC News:

I really wanted to design bikinis that were stylish, young and fresh. I think a lot of the swimwear on the market right now for plus sizes is just kind of frumpy and matronly and a lot of it is designed to cover us up.

LizPSitsfashion_Suit_Urself_submissionPlus size chics everywhere rejoiced – the popular galaxy-print fatkini sold out in just two days. That is powerful! Liz Black, of Bloomington, N.J., is the creator of the plus size style blog P.S. It’s Fashion, and was thrilled to get her hands on one. “Every woman wants something that fits her body, her curves, her style and to have options like this. When you are larger, they are so few and far between, this is such an amazing opportunity. Every woman wants to feel sexy and you can’t feel sexy when you’re drowning in a big old swim dress.” I must say I love Liz Black – she actually contributed a swimsuit pic to our Suit Urself Swimsuit Challenge! Not only was she wearing her  GabiFresh fatkini, but she gave us an amazing statement: “Want to know how to get a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. Boom. Done.” Nadia AboulhosnAnother great plus size fashion blogger and model is Nadia Aboulhosn – who was actually part of the GabiFresh swimsuit photo shoot! What I love about Nadia is that her style is risque and edgy – she shows that not all larger women want to hide their bodies or cover up in baggy clothing (not to mention her fashion sense is awesome)! That kind of confidence needs to be seen in our society, as plus size women are generally thought to be “ashamed” of their size. We desperately need to see women of all size unapologetically rocking it and that’s what Nadia does! Nadia originally started her blog in order to make people realize that there’s so much more to life than what society thinks you should be. Here’s an awesome Nadia quote that sums it up:

Fashion doesn’t mean you have to be skinny. Fashion, to me, is feeling comfortable and confident in clothes that display your personality. That has nothing to do with weight, height, hair color or skin color. I’m a firm believer that when you figure out who you are as a person and what you want out of life, the need for acceptance from others minimizes. Society and self-imposed limits are the only factors stopping us from feeling like our complete selves. Acceptance is the true key to happiness.

tess munsterA fatshionista that is not connected to Gabi Gregg but still must be mentioned is Tess Munster. Tess describes herself as a plus size model, blogger, mother, & cupcake enthusiast! Tess is on a personal mission to change the way people view plus size women through fashion, fat acceptance and promoting messages that empower women of all shapes and sizes. On her website, The Plus Life, Tess talks honestly about modeling, body confidence, fashion and her personal life. She’s genuine and entertaining, and honestly when she writes things like this, it’s hard not to fall in love:

My new favorite time of year- BATHING SUIT SEASON. I never thought those words would come out of my mouth, because believe it or not I haven’t always embraced my size. 7 years and 100lbs ago before I had my son, I wouldn’t have been caught dead in a bathing suit, much less a bikini. Yes, I’ve put on a good deal of weight, but weight isn’t the only thing I have gained… confidence came with it. It’s been such a journey, and a very eye opening one at that. I went from finding anything and DOING anything to conceal my curves when I was a 16..heck, I even put duct tape on my stomach one evening when I lived in Seattle to try and pull my “fat stomach” in! Let me tell you, it was a..well..you know what to get off. Now, I don’t even wear shapewear unless I’m shooting and I really need to for the garment. It’s so refreshing to be able to feel the breeze on my skin, to be comfortable in not only my clothing, but my skin. I was taught my whole life to cover up my body, that the bigger I was, the more I should wear. I can’t even count the hours wasted flipping through fashion magazines about how to “dress for my shape” or certain clothing to “avoid” to “flatter” my figure. Now, I wear whatever I want, and the bigger I’ve gotten, the less I’ve worn. Not because I don’t care about how I look, but because I don’t care what others think. I don’t dress based on society thinks I should as plus woman, or a fat woman..I wear what I want because I feel good! That’s why I created my #effyourbeautystandards hashtag- to help other women embrace their bodies through fashion and hopefully find the confidence I have regardless of their size.

I’m filled with awe and appreciation of what these women do and what they aspire to accomplish. I hope you find their work equally inspiring! Do you know of any other amazing fat-shionistas? Let us know in the comments!

Join us next week for our next body image-building post: “Male swimsuit anxiety.” And don’t forget to follow our campaign on Twitter using the #suiturself tag, check out our submission gallery, or send us your own submission to submissions@beutifulmagazine.com!

Related posts from the Suit Urself series: How to deal with body-snarking and judgmental comments It’s not just about size The Beach Body Tutorial If you like it, wear it! Work what you’ve got! Body acceptance tips Why are body image challenges important? Suit Urself! Choose your attitude this summer with our body-positive swimsuit challenge!