Access to fashion has arguably been one of the greatest struggles for the plus size community. Clothing isn’t just fabric we use to cover our bodies. It’s how we articulate who we are in the world. Few people know this better than Jessica Hinkle, the owner of LA-based Proud Mary Fashion. I interviewed Jessica about her journey into becoming an #XLBossLady:
I’ve been fashion-obsessed since I was a child. My parents would buy me notebooks and I would fill them all up with sketches. I’d sit in front of the tv watching runway show clips and sketching clothing. I also knew from an early age that the fashion industry wasn’t accessible for someone like me (fat and poor.) It always felt worlds away, kind of like trying to become a movie star. My parents moved us to Florida my senior year of high school. When I found out my new school offered apparel design classes, I immediately signed up. On the first day, the teacher talked me out of taking the class (to make way for freshman she said) but I really was made to feel like it wasn’t a place for me. I felt really judged and pushed out. I was heartbroken because I finally felt excited to find a resource to learn the things I wanted to that wouldn’t cost anything. After that, I had approached my parents about attending art school but they said absolutely not.
My parents both grew up poor and neither graduated high school. I think they felt like art school was lofty and impractical. They didn’t think that a fat girl could make money in fashion and the student loans would be outrageous. I wasn’t confident enough to push back or in a position where I felt like I could make it work without their support. So I figured I could at least study Creative Writing at the community college and one day get a job working at a fashion magazine.