Tanesha Awasthi from girlswithcurves.com was named the winner of the Curvy Blog Awards 2012 this week.
Created by luxury fashion retailer navabi, and decided by a public vote and a panel including fashion designer Anna Scholz, international model Fluvia Lacerda, and Editor of Vogue Curvy Elisa D'Ospina, the aim of the Curvy Blog Awards is to celebrate fashion blogs that offer styling advice "for real women and those of all shapes and sizes". We spoke to the winning blogger Tanesha about her prize (attending London Fashion Week), feminism, and what influence she thinks the curvy blogging community has on the mainstream fashion industry.
How do you feel about winning the award?
I'm flattered and beyond excited to have been named the winner! I can't wait to attend London Fashion Week, and share all the fashion festivities on the site.
Do you think the creation of the Curvy Blog Awards is a sign that the fashion industry is changing and becoming more diverse?
I don't think the fashion industry at large is changing, because there's still a big separation and clear distinction between curvy/plus fashion vs. straight size fashion. The fact that traditional Fashion Weeks around the world (NY, London, Paris, Milan) are completely separate from any Plus fashion event is proof in itself that the straight size fashion industry isn't quite ready to accept women of all sizes being seen as fashionable.
I do think, however, that curvy blogs in general are getting a lot more recognition lately, and I'm really excited to see that! It's important that society and the fashion industry recognize that women come in all different shapes and sizes, and having an award like this further proves that curvy women can be just as stylish as women of any other size.
It’s almost been two years since you started your blog, do you find that there are more blogs in the curvy community now?
I've seen a large number of curvy blogs created since the time I started GWC, and I'm happy to see more curvy girls wanting to showcase their personal style, and influence others to do the same. I think any woman has the power to influence fashion, and curvy blogs are just another form of fashion inspiration, that can be very positive for younger girls who don't have anyone in the media they can relate to in terms of body shape or size.
Self esteem and body image are usually thought to be feminist issues, would you describe yourself as a feminist? Is it something that comes up in your blogging or when you’re writing about body acceptance?
I consider myself a woman who wants to empower other girls and women to take control of labels that society puts on them, and create their own labels/definition for themselves. The topic of self-esteem and empowerment is a common theme on the blog, and I'm passionate about spreading this message through fashion. My goal has always been to empower my example, and I hope that's what I communicate through my positive message about accepting oneself, regardless of size.
What are your three favourite brands to wear or shops to buy clothes in?
My personal style is classic-sophisticated, with a twist on trends, so I'm all about investing in timeless staples from higher-end stores like Nordstrom and mixing in trends from affordable stores like Forever 21, ASOS and TopShop. When it comes to accessories, BCBG and Zara are my go-to's for unique, bold pieces that make a simple outfit a bit more interesting. One of my ultimate favourite places to find unique things are vintage and thrift shops, where you can find one of a kind things at amazing prices. My best thrift find ever is a vintage Louis Vuitton, mini brief-case I turned into a clutch, which I only paid $39 for!
What do you think the biggest misconceptions are about the “curvy community” or curvy bloggers who write about fashion?
Probably that we all want to lose weight or aren't happy with our bodies. I personally struggled with negative body image and self-esteem for many years - battling eating disorders and excessive exercise tendencies, but once I discovered that dieting made me miserable and life was too short to dwell on what I was not, I learned to appreciate the things I like about myself and accept my curves and body in its natural state. Once I worked on maintaining a positive state of mind in terms of my feeling and thoughts toward my body, I was a much happier person.
The idea of accepting one's body in the present is becoming a wide-spread message in the curvy community and I'm ecstatic about this! Especially in a society that still calls women over a size 10 'plus size', even though the average size woman in the US and the UK is a size 14. That said, I think the word 'plus size' is outdated, and women should label themselves, not allow anyone else to place labels on them. I identify with being a curvy girl, because no matter how much I weigh or what size I wear, I have curves!
Where do you hope to take your blog in 2013?
My goal for 2013 is for GWC to become the most powerful source of curvy fashion inspiration and empowerment, for girls and women all over the world.
What change would you most like to see in the fashion industry?
"I would love to see the fashion industry embrace models and celebrities with not only more diverse bodies in terms of shape and size, but also ethnic backgrounds! Society is so diverse, yet the media has such a narrow standard of beauty which most of us simply can't relate to."