Meghan and Harry visit Courtnay Creative for an event celebrating the city’s thriving arts scene in Wellington, New Zealand Photo: Samir Hussein/WireImage
Pregnant and radiant, with her winning smile, intelligence and down-to-earth warmth, Meghan Markle has been unquestionably the star of the first official extended overseas royal trip she and Prince Harry are taking for 16 days to cities in Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand.
Meghan visits Courtnay Creative for an event celebrating the city’s thriving arts scene in Wellington. Considered one of the best looks of the tour, this white tuxedo dress with adjustable buttons by New Zealand-based designer Maggie Marilyn was custom-made for Meghan. The blue shoes are Manolo Blahnik Photo: Samir Hussein/WireImage
“Australian designers get a taste of the ‘Meghan Effect’ after the Duchess of Sussex championed a spate of local names during the royal tour,” WWD wrote in an article about “Meghan Mania” sweeping Australia, and the fact that she included a number of local labels in her tour wardrobe, “alongside international brands as Brandon Maxwell, Jason Wu, Roksanda Ilincic, Stuart Weitzman, Manolo Blahnik, Gucci and Birks.”
Fed up with looking for clothes that fit, two thirty-something best friends from Lahore, Zenab Ali and Maryam Yousaf, launched their plus size clothing brand, The Rack Couture, in April (this year), in a bid to introduce body positive fashion to Pakistan’s thriving fashion industry.
Maryam Yousaf and Zenab Ali, of The Rack Couture, hope to make body positive fashion popular in Pakistan.Xpressions Photography
From semi-formal, formal and casual apparel, The Rack Couture caters to all shapes and sizes, all the while adopting a fierce anti-body shaming policy.
“We’re brainwashed into thinking that wearing black or vertical lines will make us look slim,” mentions Ali, “But the aim of our brand is not that a woman looks thin, but that she looks and feels beautiful.”
Maryam Yousaf (left) and Zenab Ali (right).Zahra Ali
Stating that she finds it surprising that some of the country’s biggest fashion brands haven’t yet tapped into the plus size market, Ali says; “Common sense dictates that if there’s a demand for a product, intelligent market leaders will try to capture that market. It’s baffling that body positive clothing hasn’t been given much thought in Pakistan when it has been embraced the world over! The Pakistani woman is curvy and bootylicious! Forget brands that have introduced sizes 14 and 16; those are average sizes. By plus size I mean 18, 20, 22 and even 24.”
“We’ve been inspired by women just like us; from our friends to our family,” Yousaf adds, “Every body is a good body – in our advertising campaigns we make it a point to feature average, curvy and slim physiques. We don’t use professional models; they’re ordinary women. It’s sad that local designers have this misconception that people don’t want to see curvy women modeling their clothes – they think it won’t sell. But they couldn’t be more wrong.”