Lane Bryant has partnered with Tanesha Awasthi, the founder of plus-size blog Girl With Curves, for the retailer’s first influencer-based clothing collection. A quick scroll through her Instagram page, followed by 350,000, tells you why: There are plenty of stylish outfits, ranging from work-appropriate wrap dresses to weekend-ready denim looks, through which her sense of style and confidence shine through effortlessly.
But Awasthi’s journey to body confidence was a long one.
“I struggled with self-esteem my entire life, often being the tallest and the biggest girl in the room,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “I battled eating disorders since I was 12, doing everything within my power to change my body to fit the mold of what I thought it was supposed to look like, based on what I saw on TV and in magazines.”
At the height of her battle, she says, “I suffered knee injuries that left me barely able to walk for almost a month. I was abusing diet pills, exercising obsessively, and restricting calories.”
It was during this period that Awasthi knew she needed to change the way she viewed herself. “I had a personal awakening,” she recalls. “I forced myself to take an honest look in the mirror, realizing the road to loving myself, though long, would be much more rewarding than the bumpy, mentally exhausting road I’d been on, loathing myself.” That’s when, she says, “I made an effort to focus on accepting the things about myself I once considered flaws: my height, big feet, thick legs, wide hips, frizzy hair.”
In 2011, Awasthi started her blog, Girl With Curves, as a side hobby, at the suggestion of her husband. It didn’t take long before taking off. Within two years, she left her job in Silicon Valley to commit to her blog full time. Her husband recently joined the company full time too.
Now she has a small but mighty team working behind the scenes. During New York Fashion Week on Sept. 9, Lane Bryant unveiled its new partnership with Awasthi for the brand’s first influencer-based clothing collection. When the opportunity came up, it seemed like a natural choice for both parties. The retailer has been at the forefront of plus-size fashion since before the body-positive movement swept through the industry in recent years. Since 2011, Awasthi has become a prominent body-positive advocate within the plus-size community, running her successful blog.
The Girl With Curves x Lane Bryant collection features 20 pieces, ranging in size from 12 to 28, and is tailor-made for curvy women who love fashion but have a tight budget. Items start as low as $35 and go up to $150. The line includes feminine graphic maxi skirts, lacy black cocktail dresses, faux-fur trimmed sweaters, and A-line dresses that cinch the waist perfectly. “We really wanted to design clothing that not only favors curves beautifully, but also provides everyday essentials, versatile enough to wear for any aspect of one’s lifestyle,” says Awasthi.