Updated: Oct 16
Actors are celebrated at the Oscars. Musicians are celebrated at the GRAMMYs. But what about the celebrities and brands leading the $20 billion plus-size industry?
It’s time for the celebrities of the plus-size community to get the same red-carpet treatment. Unfortunately, this industry is widely overlooked even though nearly 70 percent of women fit into this category. Tawana Blassingame, CEO and editor in chief of Queen Size Magazine (QSM), has made it her mission to change that by creating New York City’s prestigious Full Figured Industry Awards (FFIAs).
“At last, it’s time to mark the tremendous strides made by the plus-size community as a whole by ensuring the celebrities in our industry are recognized for their hard work and sacrifices,” said Blassingame.
“The FFIAS are where we lift each other up in celebration because we know we have always mattered; the world is just now waking up and realizing it,” said Madeline Jones, co-owner and editor in chief of PLUS Model Magazine (PMM).
The Full Figured Industry Awards began in 2019. Blassingame wanted to give recognition to the craftsmanship and commitment of the individuals across all platforms who are involved in the full-figured industry.
“We can’t wait for the fashion industry to see us. We have to see ourselves. It is time for us to level the playing field. New York is known to be one of the most recognizable fashion capitals of the world. So, to be able to host this event in New York really puts the icing on the cake,” said Blassingame.
“Red carpet events are having a growing influence on the fashion capital rankings. So, to be able to see designs from our fashion designers on that red carpet – and the professionals, celebrities and models wearing them – brings us all great pride,” Blassingame added.
Some awards presented during the ceremony are: Outstanding Big and Tall Model/Plus Model, Designer, Fashion Stylist, Boutique, Photographer, Makeup Artist (and more).
In addition, the event includes six honoree awards in the categories of: Confidence, Entrepreneurship, Advocacy, Iconic, Lifetime Achievement and Outstanding Retail Brand. Going forward, the awards will be gender neutral.
This year’s Outstanding Retail Brand Award recipient is renowned brand ELOQUII, which is known as “the ultimate fashion destination for sizes 14-28.”
“It is an incredible honor for ELOQUII to receive the Full Figured Industry Award for Retail Brand of the Year. We are thankful to our dedicated ELOQUII team and loyal customers who have supported us since the beginning and allowed us to be a part of their journey with fashion. Without our community, we would not be able to provide the expert fit, elevated designs and high level quality that we consistently deliver,” said ELOQUII Creative Director Yesenia Torres.
“At ELOQUII, we strive to create positive change through the transformative power of fashion, and work to build a more inclusive fashion world. We seek to bring options to those who feel restricted in today’s fashion world. We believe that style should not be dependent on size, and work to uplift our customers with impeccable fit and fashionable designs. Through our diverse models, designers and category expansions we are always striving to build a more inclusive fashion world for those to come,” said Torres.
Pioneering entrepreneur and fashion designer Phyllis Brasch Librach will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Librach, “the fairy godmother of plus-size prom,” is the founder and president of Sydney’s Closet.
The niche apparel company focuses exclusively on creating wedding, evening, pageant, prom and party dresses for women ages 16 to 60 who wear sizes 14 to 40. The dressy dresses are sold online and at 400 bridal salons, dress shops and boutiques in the USA, Canada, UK , Germany and Australia.
“I’m honored and thrilled," said Librach, adding, "This Lifetime Achievement Award never would have happened without the trust and loyalty of our devoted Sydney’s customers.
We take their confidence to heart knowing it’s not just about finding a dream dress for one magical night but making memories that last a lifetime."
The 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award is sponsored by PLUS Model Magazine. “Phyllis Librach has impacted the plus-size fashion industry and has supported the community for many years. We have been more than customers to Phyllis, we are people she cares for,” said Jones.
Other honorees include: Icon of the Year Maui Bigelow (curator of PHAT Girl Fresh), Entrepreneur of the Year Akira Armstrong (founder and CEO of full-figured dance company Pretty Big Movement), Keesha Monique Codling Confidence Award recipient Sheena Postell (model and founder of Bilonn’s Vision LLC) and Advocacy Award recipient Denise Caldwell (fashionista and lifestyle expert).
Additional sponsors of the 2022 Full Figured Industry Awards include: Lane Bryant, PLUS Model Magazine (PMM), MVP Collections and Design House of Mallie Boushaye.
The 2022 Full Figured Industry Awards will take place on Saturday, Nov. 5 at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center, with Nov. 3 being the final day to purchase tickets.