Name: Heather Hazzan
Occupation: plus size model
Current City: ask Southwest Airlines
1. What interested you first about the plus size fashion industry?
It was a far off distant land where you were encouraged and rewarded for being your natural size. This was especially enticing while recovering from an eating disorder, where it was my job to unnaturally maintain a size zero body. I never again wanted to force myself into something I was not. It became my mission to share my story and promote a healthy body image. I saw the industry as a way to show people — and prove to myself! — that healthy was indeed the most beautiful.
2. What was one of the most difficult lessons you had to learn about your personal style when transitioning from a size 0 to a size 14?
It was the lesson of exclusion; and ultimately, illusion. I found it preposterous that most company’s sizes stopped at a size 12. This means they are unable to dress the average-sized American woman. I couldn’t wrap my head around why these brands would want to exclude most of the women in our country. But sooner or later, no matter what your job title in the fashion industry, you realize that ads sell to your insecurities. They want you to feel inferior so that you’ll buy into the myth that whatever they’re selling will fix it. But once you purchase it, the illusion is shattered. Find what you love and wear it. What I want is to be able to express myself fully through fashion and not be hindered by the size of my hips. Write into these companies and tell them what you want. Show them that happy, healthy women buy clothes, too!
3. Where do you think the plus size industry is succeeding and where does it need the most work?
For the plus size industry to truly succeed, it needs to be nonexistent. I want to see a size zero next to an eight, who is next to a 16. We’ll know we’ve gotten somewhere when there is no discrimination. My biggest pet peeve is when the “plus” section of a website is not under “women,” but has its own separate category. Let’s stop labeling and start seamlessly infiltrating all sizes into mainstream fashion.
4. What are you favorite designers with lines over a size 12/14?
Elena Miro and Marina Rinaldi are unparalleled in their understanding of class and curves. ASOS is super fun and on top of the latest trends. I’m excited to see more follow suit!
Photo Credit: Anouk Morgan