Fashion designer Courtney Smith is promoting a more inclusive definition of "model."
Smith, who helms the new women's wear line Rum + Coke, has chosen to only use "larger" women of color as models for her brand. For the record: The New York-based designer's collection features sizes from 2 to 22 for women. Her campaign puts forth a more diverse, realistic and accepting image of women, who are normally surrounded by the slim-means-pretty body ideals portrayed in high fashion editorials and in Hollywood.
The designer opened up to Refinery 29 about Rum + Coke's photo shoots: "No one questions why there are only small women in other brands' shoots. I put women of color and 'larger' women in my photo shoots for many reasons," Smith said. "One, because I believe in the multiplicity of beauty, and two, there are so many women who seldom see women who look like them in advertisements."
Even more reason to dig Smith's debut collection: With prices ranging from $48 to $200, her pieces are affordable, too. The line includes a chic array of skirts, dresses and jumpsuits in bold hues and whimsical fabrics.
Rum + Coke's party-ready moniker, meanwhile, is derived from Smith's nickname: Coco. (The addition of "rum," according to the designer, was to add a bit of "fun" to the brand.)
"I want women to be their most beautiful selves," Smith said of her inspiration behind the collection. "There are so many negative messages: You're not thin enough, you're not young enough, you're not light enough...I was inspired to create Rum + Coke to send a different message: You, woman, are enough."