What started out as a hobby for GabiFresh in 2008 eventually turned into a full-time gig. She created her blog as a way to show off her writing skills and love for fashion, and it’s been inspiring women ever since, as she strives to encourage women to the see beauty in themselves regardless of their size. Her amazing sense of style, especially when it comes to plus-size fashion, has opened the doors for her to even more projects, like a plus-size lingerie collection that she helped design and the launch of a womenswear collection, and these collections are so good. We recently spoke to Gabi and we can’t wait to share with you everything that she’s been up to lately. Be sure to check out our interview below and follow her on social media!
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! We’re so excited for the launch of your latest lingerie collection.
Thank you! I have been busy mostly with designing and collaborations. I also launched PREMME, which is a womenswear collection with my co-founder Nicolette Mason last July, so that has definitely been taking up a lot of my time. I’m also doing ongoing collaborations with Swimsuits for All and Playful Promises, which is really exciting and I’m super happy with the reception of my latest collection with Playful Promises.
You have been such an incredible voice for the plus-size community. How are you hoping to utilize your platform to inspire others?
GabiFresh and my platform is all about encouraging women to the see beauty in themselves regardless of their size and also dispel myths around what plus-size women “have” to wear or “should” wear. It’s about breaking the rules and realizing that clothing should be kind of a transformative experience and something that women use to express themselves, not to hide their hide their bodies or look smaller, which is what we’ve often been told in the past.
What’s your personal mantra?
I don’t know if I have a personal mantra. I think when it comes to my belief system, again, it’s all about breaking the rules. Go with your gut, trust your intuition and let that lead the way.
You have a devoted following on social media. What’s your favorite and least favorite thing about the social world?
I think social media is a double-edged sword because it can be used for good or evil. The amazing thing about it is that it’s democratized media and no longer do we have to look to mainstream media like TV, movies and magazines to tell us what’s beautiful and what’s cool. We can look to our peers and people who inspire us—just everyday average people—so that’s really exciting. I never found women who looked like me and loved fashion until the Internet. The fact that it has made things more of an even playing field is really great. I love that we’re finally able to seek out representation in all ways—your size, race, ability, etc. I think the least favorite thing about it is that, unfortunately, it also gives anonymous people a voice to say really hurtful, mean and horrible things and tear people down, which is definitely the downside of social media.
Who are some brands out there that you are currently loving?
In addition to my own brands, I would say ASOS is definitely my go-to. I think it’s one of the best places to shop for plus-sizes and it has a really great aesthetic on top of easy, fast shipping. It doesn’t water down its designs, which many brands do when it comes to creating extended sizes. I also love Eloquii and the Who What Wear collection for Target.
Tell us about your journey from side hustle to full-time blogger.
I was really lucky in that I started very early. I launched my blog in 2008. At the time, most if not all blogs were definitely passion projects. They weren’t career paths, they weren’t monetized. I started my blog as a way to give fashion advice to other plus-size women, to connect with the community and share resources. I really just loved what I did and got a lot of fulfillment from it. It wasn’t until three or four years later that I decided to monetize it. I worked at MTV in the interim and I didn’t really love it. I realized that if I didn’t love working at such a cool company, I was probably never going to love the corporate world. So I decided to try to go full-time with my blog once I realized that was a feasible thing that people had started to do.
What’s the process like when designing for Playful Promises or Premme? Do you set goals for how you want it all to turn out or do you just get creative?
I always just remember my bigger mission, which is about creating really cool, never-before-seen things for plus-size women. Things that are going to inspire, be head-turners and be statement pieces. I start with that in mind and then I slowly think of smaller details that I really love and then think about the ways I can incorporate those details into the designs. So in my latest Playful Promises collection, I was like ‘Oh, I would love to see sequins in lingerie. I don’t think I’ve seen that before, at least not in my size,’ so I have those kind of ideas. From there, I think about, ‘What piece would look great with sequins on it?’ and I work backwards in a way. I’m constantly getting inspired in general when I look around at street style and think about what I wish I could wear that doesn’t come in my size. I start there, get my creative juices flowing and I’m not starting with a specific goal in mind.
If you could tell 20-year-old Gabi anything, what would it be?
Just to relax. I was very high-strung, very scared and very anxious about what my future would look like and if I was making the right decisions. I’ve always been a perfectionist and I was so scared. I think when you’re 20 especially you’re just extremely nervous about your future and you think that every wrong decision could impact things and I was very nervous about that. I would tell myself to relax, take it day by day and trust your gut that what you’re doing is really important.
How would you describe your aesthetic and sense of style?
Casual chic. I definitely have a more relaxed style since moving to LA four years ago. I don’t get super dressed up very often, but I still like to look put together. I definitely value comfort in a way that I didn’t when I lived on the East Coast. I was also younger, so when I lived in New York, I would often wear high heels and sacrifice my comfort. Now I’m in my 30s and I live on the West Coast so I’m all about easy, breezy style, but I do think there’s a way to do that can be super chic.
What tips can you give our Glitter Guide audience for staying body positive?
I always tell people to never underestimate the power of representation. Unfortunately, the mainstream media is not great when it comes to equalizing representation and making it actually reflect our population. A lot of people just don’t have great self esteem simply because they don’t see themselves reflected so they don’t feel like they’re beautiful. Again, that goes back to what I love about social media— we are able to seek those people out now. It’s really important if you’re on Instagram to find people that look like you, or who you feel reflect you in some way—whether that’s your race, your body size, your body shape or hair type, etc. You can find those people and follow them. You’ll be so surprised how quickly you’ll feel better about yourself when you can scroll through your feed and you’re constantly seeing inspirational, beautiful, happy women who are comfortable and confident in their skin (and look like you!) as opposed to scrolling women or people who don’t look like you that just make you feel bad about yourself, or jealous, or sad that you don’t look like them. I think that’s really important. There are also some really great resources online and some amazing books on body positivity. There’s an old one called Lessons from the Fat-O-Sphere that’s really good.
What cool things are you up to next?
I just shot my next swimwear campaign that will be out in a couple of months and I’m also planning my next Playful Promises photoshoot. On top of daily work with Premme, since I’m a co-founder there, I have a lot happening still with lingerie and swim so I’m really excited about all three of those things.