I was lucky enough to be invited to the PenningtonsxTess Holliday collection reveal party last night, where I got to hang out with all my Toronto blogger friends, eat some food, and drink some wine. Also I got to hang out with Tess. Which was PRETTY FRICKING COOL.
Penningtons is a Canadian company, which is why if you live in the States or Europe or whatever you may not have heard of it. It’s sorrrrrt of geared towards older/working plus size women, which is why I don’t shop there too much. Tess’s collection, though, I think brings some much needed youth and badassness back to the brand. You guys know I’m super honest, and I thought everything was really, really cute.
By the way, if you’re expecting Tess to be any less gorgeous in person, she’s not. My friend Erica and I went to shove our faces with nachos after the event, and we were just talking about how pretty and lovely and down to earth she is the whole time. (Like, I’m pretty in pictures but I look like a mountain troll in real life sometimes.)
lololol me and Erica are nerds sorry
I also got the chance to ask Tess a few questions and shove my phone in her poor face and record her responses. A huge thanks to her for making time for me.
Me: “You get asked a lot of advice relating to body positivity, but you’re also just a role model to a lot of people just for being, like, a decent and cool human being. Being newly 30, what advice would you have for women in their 20’s who feel like they’ll never get their shit together? [cough me]”
Tess: “I feel like it’s really hard because I always give the same advice, but I feel like it’s so important to really evaluate who you’re spending time with, and who your friends are. It’s so true, and I’ve learned this the hard way, that you are the company you keep. And I’m really fortunate that the close friends in my life are all amazing, strong people that are really passionate about something in their lives. They’re so busy being focused on how… busy they are, and being happy with themselves, therefore they can be happy for me. That doesn’t mean abandoning people who don’t have their shit figured out, but it’s about making sure that the people in your life are lifting you up and not pulling you down.”
Me: “You’ve done a lot of collabs in the past with other brands- are they all similar experiences or how did this one differ?”
Tess: “I mean, I’ve done collabs before, but nothing on this scale. This was a year-long [process]- each month is a different aesthetic. I’m really excited because I mean, I’m not a designer. I didn’t go to school. I’m not even going to call myself a fashion designer even though I collaborated on this line. But it was nice because I’ve heard for so long what plus girls and what fat girls want, and what we’re not seeing in fashion. We want to be sexy, we want comfort, we want accessibility and options. So it was really nice to be able to do that. So having a year-long collaboration has really allowed me to be able to say “This is what I want, this is what’s important”, and not budge on anything.”
Me: “So you had 100% say in everything?”
Tess: “I had a hundred per cent creative control. But then, some of it comes down to what’s possible and what we can actually do, and what the manufacturers can do. But I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t losing my voice and that it was authentic. I would honestly wear everything in the collection.”
[Interview pauses and we bond a little over our matching lashes and septum rings and I scream and fangirl internally]
Me: “So you’re one of the main huge role models in the body positivity movement. In every single interview you have, people ask about body positivity. Does it get really repetitive and when do you think just being fat and being proud of your body will be the norm, and you won’t get asked about it because it won’t seem so radical?”
Tess: “I have no idea! A hundred per cent it gets repetitive. I’m asked the same things all the time and sometimes it does get a little daunting but then I remember, like, what if there’s one person that reads that interview that hasn’t heard somebody say that? If it literally just changes one person’s perception of themselves or maybe how they treat others, then it’s worth it. I feel like maybe it won’t always be a conversation however I do think the battle for people accepting fat bodies is always going to be there. Until there’s a major overhaul of the fashion industry and of mainstream media, it’s going to be a battle for a long time. I don’t see that changing, but I see us being more vocal about saying, ‘This is not acceptable’.”
All in all I love this initial collection: she’s also releasing several garments per month for the next year. Which is super exciting- apparently there are some pretty sweet pastels coming this summer. YAS HELLO COUNT ME IN.
Thanks to Tess and Penningtons (and Erica for letting me steal photos off her camera) xo