Meet the Fashion Designer Who Only Uses Plus-Size Models In Her Photos


Rum+Coke is a brand you may have only just heard of. It’s only about a year old and while the clothes are beautiful (and affordable), it’s just taking off. What’s special about the brand, however, isn’t just the clothing: It’s the fact that designer Courtney Smith only used plus-size models in her photo shoots.

While Rum+Coke makes clothing in sized from “small to 3XL,” Smith says that her focus is on making sure that women who aren’t usually represented in fashion photography are given a chance to shine and to remind consumers that hey, all bodies are beautiful so let’s not just show clothes on thin white people.

Smith said this to Refinery29 about her choice:

Your styles are sold in a huge range of sizes, but they’re only shot on larger models. Why is that?
“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. 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.”

Smith was inspired to start the line based on advertisements she’d seen constantly reminding women that they weren’t enough — thing enough, light enough or beautiful enough. She told Refinery29 that her brand is inspired by the idea that all women are enough just by being themselves. And she’s not just focusing on making clothing accessible to women of many sizes, she’s also making an effort to include as many women of color in her look book as possible.

Here’s a selection of who Smith wants to see strutting down the red carpet in her work:

What celebrity would you love to see in your designs?
“There is a long list of celebs I’d love to work with: Oprah, Beyoncé, Solange, Janelle Monáe, Jill Scott, Amber Riley, Alicia Keys, Gabrielle Union, Taraji P. Henson, and Queen Latifah, just to name a few.”

Awesome. Let’s all buy Rum+Coke fashions next year (lol lol, had to) because it’s likely the only time that combination will not make us sick. (For real, though, I’ve got stories.)

Images via Rum+Coke

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