October 18, 2021

Alesha Bowman Debuts Kansas City’s First ‘Plus Size Weekend’ Celebrating Inclusive Fashion | KCUR 89.3

The primary four-day competition celebrating plus-size our bodies in Kansas Metropolis kicked off with some severe fitness center class nostalgia Thursday night time at Swope Park.

“Assume again to once you had been in elementary faculty… often everybody picked the fats child final,” says Kansas City Plus Size Weekend founder and president Alesha Bowman. “So right this moment we simply need to even the enjoying subject. We will get out right here. We will play. We will run. We will have an excellent time.”

The “full figured subject day” is the primary of a number of occasions taking place in Kansas Metropolis this weekend, all with the aim of empowering plus-size individuals to be fearless leaders “regardless of their measurement, weight or construction.”

“I am so excited. It has been two years since we had the primary inkling to come back collectively and make this occur,” says occasion vice chairman and life-style blogger Tajuana Blackmon.

Tonight’s sold-out style present will function plus-size fashions from as distant as St. Louis, space designers like 79 Roze and a particular efficiency by Kansas Metropolis rapper Amira Wang. For individuals who did not get tickets quick sufficient, footage from the style present will probably be shared on-line later.

“For lots of people, it is like, I by no means see my physique in that kind. I by no means see my physique on a runway. I’ve by no means seen my physique in attractive garments,” Bowman says. “It’ll be an expertise.”

There’s additionally a sold-out pool occasion on Saturday and your complete weekend culminates in a vendor truthful on Sunday afternoon. Bowman says folks could be shocked to be taught that there are at the very least 20 plus-size boutiques within the Kansas Metropolis metro space.

“And it is extra than simply garments on Sunday,” Bowman says. “We’ve got a candle maker that is sculpting plus-size our bodies in candle kind.”

The plus-sized weekend idea is much from Bowman’s first foray into spreading this type of inclusivity within the style trade. She owns unLESHed+, a secondhand plus-size boutique at 4243 Troost Ave., the place affordability is an equally necessary a part of her enterprise mannequin.

“When you’ll be able to’t even stroll into the shop and discover one thing that is modern and reasonably priced on the identical time… It is form of like, what is the use?” she advised KCUR’s Up To Date earlier this year. “Who’re you making garments for? And who’s going to be your buyer of the long run?”

Whereas Bowman has by no means personally struggled with physique positivity, she is aware of a few of her clients do, so she places a whole lot of effort into creating the precise environment inside her store. On the partitions, she posted self-affirmations — together with music lyrics from icons like Lizzo and Megan Thee Stallion.


Courtesy of Alesha Bowman

You’ll find unLESHed+ at 4243 Troost Ave. in Kansas Metropolis.

One other staple? No mirrors within the dressing rooms. Bowman says that is as a result of it doesn’t matter what measurement you might be, there’s a whole lot of self sabotage in a dressing room. Placing mirrors within the public a part of the shop forces you to take a look at your outfit in a “curated house of optimistic vibes.”

“If it is one thing you are not liking, I am there that will help you work out what shapes would make you are feeling extra comfy,” she says. “And more often than not, there are different clients in right here. In order that they’re hyping you up and telling you you look good and stuff. And it is only a one huge, encouraging second.”

Enterprise has been good for Bowman since she expanded and reopened her retailer this spring. However final fall, within the pandemic, she was dipping into her private financial savings to pay hire. A surprise $10,000 check from the Ellen DeGeneres Present helped her get again on her toes.

“I give all props to Ellen and her group.”

Bowman says if 2020 has taught us something, it is to have pretty much as good of a time as you’ll be able to as usually as you’ll be able to.

“Tomorrow is not promised to us,” she says. “For those who simply spend your life nervous about what any person’s gonna say in case you put on a swimsuit to the swimming pool, that is not a great way to spend your time. Simply go on the market and revel in your self.”

Kansas City Plus Size Weekend‘s lineup of occasions runs till Sunday, June 27. The Frames & Figures Fashion Present and Plus*Pool*Ooza Twilight Swim are each offered out, however extra details about THE BIG BANG! Vendor Explosion on Sunday from 12:00 – 4:00 p.m. is online.

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