April 27,2018 it happened, it finally happened! I realized just how amazing the plus size fashion industry can be and because of this realization, I decided to attend Phat Girl Fresh’s 5th annual Life&Styled weekend. I remember seeing pictures of the past years events and I decided that 2018 was going to be MY year to attend. When I bought my ticket, there was an option to buy one ticket to two events, which I thought long and hard about, but then decided to just go for it for it! After I bought the ticket I immediately got nervous, my thoughts raced and I realized I’m going to go to a mixer and a fashion show by myself, totally on my own with no familiar faces to mingle with. Now fast forward to the day of the event; everything is going wrong! To start, I didn’t bother to read the event information thoroughly before and then realized this was an all white event. I stumbled upon this info when I happened to be looking on Instagram and noticed that everyone at the event was wearing all white. So now I had to make some quick changes to my plans and that is where the problem escalated. I now had every reason to not go and just stay at home, but instead I pushed myself and kept going and stayed positive; I was not going to let anything-even my unplanned outfit change, stop me from going.

The event was held on the rooftop of Suite Lounge, once I arrived and started to walk up the stairs to the Rooftop, my heart was beating fast again and the same doubt I had earlier rushed to my mind again; I’m doing this all by myself. But I had overcome that doubt before and I was going to overcome it again! Finally, all doubts aside, I got upstairs and the first thought I had was that the event was beautifully decorated. Not only was it decorated perfectly, but there were so many gorgeous plus size men and women all in white, looking stunning and let me tell you, it was breathtaking. The moment I walked through the door the young lady checking tickets was so inviting and very nice. I could feel my anxiety lessening as she made it very comfortable from the moment I walked in the door. As I surveyed the room and noticed so many familiar faces. My doubt of not knowing anyone quickly dissipated and as I started to speak to different people, I could tell that the love was real. I saw models that I’ve only seen one time say hi, give me a hug and an encouraging smile, which led me to feel even more relieved. Although I may have came to the event alone, I was anything but. I realized that I was in a room full of familiar faces and unfamiliar faces, yet I felt like I was among friends. That was the moment it hit me, the plus size fashion industry is so amazing for many more reasons other than just fashion.

Because I was late(Oops), I did miss the plaque presentation to the honoree, Tarana Burke. However, what I did witness instead was a great party with even better people. One of the things that I loved the most, was the plus-size male models and influencers who came out to support everyone, I realized that this movement is inclusive to all and I love how we are able to move together. Another notable moment is that the DJ did not let me down, he kept the party going and it was everything! Nothing brings out the ratchet in a group of women like some Cardi B baby! I am so glad I did not let anything, even myself, stand in the way of me attending this event. I will absolutely be back next year!

Next, I want to start by staying I was on time for the fashion show! This was my first time attending the show, and just like the mixer, entering the event I instantly felt welcomed. Upon arrival, I took a tour of the vendors and of course I couldn’t leave without a tank from the urban wear vendor, Janine & Co. After seeing the vendors, I also had to take a picture at the photo booth, it was a BLAST. I then took my seat that had a Bioten water and a small goodie bag. Once again, the DJ made the wait for the event to start enjoyable and got everyone ready for the event. Now, onto the show, I give the cast and crew a big thumbs up for starting and ending on time! The show began with announcing some of the many honorees, and as I sat there, I heard about some amazing woman! Some were new to me, but some I was already aware of. My absolute favorite honoree was Essie Golden of “Golden Confidence”. She accepted her award on behalf of people who came from single parent homes and foster care and she melted my heart with her amazing acceptance speech.

Now, the fashion was everything! Here are some of my highlights; Jibri collection had gorgeous dresses and gowns, with my absolute favorite being a white satin one piece. Next was the designer Elle Dove, she gave us a comfortable summer vibe. My favorite piece in her collection was a shirt white dress that was accented with a red belt! The Santress Saada collection was fun and flirty, with a collection that was not only filled with great dresses, but bathing suits as well, with my favorite being a long green satin wrap dress. Then there was Once Curvy Boutique, which gave us plus size sexiness. Also, I will have to say that Christian Omeshun’s collection was everything! The entire collection was my favorite, but I loved the sleeveless leopard print swing dress. I can’t say enough great things about Livirae Lingerie, they gave us sexy like no other. Now, the show stopping collection was from Big Man Culture. To me, there is nothing better than a well dressed man in any size, and Big Man Culture reminded us that the plus size movement is all inclusive and not just about women. The whole event was empowering and as the night came to an end, Phat Girl Fresh herself gave a speech that really hit home for me. Sometimes life happens and you don’t know what your next move is, but you hold your head up high and do exactly what you always do. Don’t let anything, or anyone deter you from what you’re supposed to! I left the event with a promise, to never give up on myself.

Thank you Maui for such an amazing and empowering event.