Ashley Graham is a woman on a mission: to make the fashion industry more inclusive and help women feel better about themselves in the process.
Having already released plus-size underwear and swimwear ranges, the model, entrepreneur and activist is turning her attention to the bridal market, having designed an inclusive wedding dress collection with leading bridal brand Pronovias.
The range of 15 dresses – plus a tuxedo suit, which can also be worn as evening wear – have been cut and crafted to guarantee the perfect fit for UK sizes 4 to 38. The price points are inclusive too, to fit most bridal budgets, starting at £1,000 (about $1,776.40) and going up to £3,500 (about $6217.40).
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“The importance of inclusion in the fashion industry is key,” Graham explains. “There really hasn’t been a ton of inclusivity when it comes to size in bridal.”
Until now. When deciding to work with Pronovias on the collection, the 32-year-old was heavily influenced by her own negative experience of shopping for a wedding dress (she married videographer Justin Ervin back in 2010). Unable to find the perfect bridal gown in the right size, Graham ended up having to buy a smaller size and have a panel sewn into the back. Needless to say, it didn’t feel like the dream dress she’d always imagined.
“When I was looking for my wedding dress it took a really long time to find the right one, and even when I did find the right dress, it wasn’t the right size and it wasn’t going to be available for my wedding day,” she recalls. “I was a size 16 at the time and I had to buy a size 10, and they had to put a whole panel in the back. I was spilling out of my top and my back, and it wasn’t the dress that I wished that I had. There is some regret there, and that’s why I’ve put a lot of my want and desire, and what I wish I had on my wedding day into these designs.”
Naturally, she’s thought of everything – from cut and style through to the internal structure. With these dresses there’s no need to hunt for impossible-seeming illusion underwear that inevitably ends up feeling uncomfortable and unsupportive – something a lot of women will be able to relate to.