If you are a fan of Project Runway, then you probably already know about the amazing Ashley Nell Tipton, who won season 14 of the popular show. As part of her win, Tipton is working with retail giant JCPenney to release a clothing line targeted specifically at plus size women. This line is incredibly important to her because she hopes that it will help young women to understand that there are no limits to what they can do and wear.
Image: Instagram/Ashley Nell Tipton
From and early age Tipton had a passion for fashion; at just 7-years-old, she was already sewing her own Barbie clothes on her grandmother’s sewing machine. By the end of her senior year of high school, she had created her very first fashion collection. After that, she moved onto the Fashion Careers College, graduating in 2012 with a degree in Fashion Design. The designs she created during her final year in college earned her recognition in the Golden Hanger Fashion Awards, which helped to open many doors for her. Just a few years later, Tipton found herself competing on Lifetime’s Project Runway, which she went on to win with a fashion line geared towards plus size women.
Now, at 24, Tipton’s career is really beginning to take off. She hopes to create a fashion line for JCPenney that shows plus size women that they do not have to only wear black clothing; she wants them to realize that they can have fun with colors and patterns. She understands the confidence that clothing can provide women, and she hopes that her line can help young women find such confidence and love themselves. In a video for the JCPenney’s #HereIAm campaign—which is meant to help promote Tipton’s new clothing line—she mentions her own struggles with self-acceptance when she was younger. She talks about being bullied and made a target due to her size, while never fully understanding what made her so different from everyone else.
Eventually, she learned to accept herself with positive affirmations that she was beautiful and sexy, and “everything,” as she says in the video. She ends by saying that she has spent too long feeling uncomfortable in her own skin and that she is ready for things to change so she can find her own happiness and never look back. Something she now hopes to help other women learn to do, through the clothing she designs.
Tipton’s story of the cruelties that she overcame is one that many women can relate to, and by sharing her experience, young plus size women all around the nation will be reminded that they are not alone. With this video and her upcoming clothing line, Tipton wants to spread the message that size is just a number, not a defining factor. It should never stop women from wearing certain styles or types of clothing or even from doing something they really want to do. Because at the end of the day, nobody’s opinion about them should matter but their own; they are the only ones who should have the power to define themselves.