The Canadian influencer and body positivity activist’s Joe Fresh Holiday Collection brings size-inclusivity to the fore.
Roxy Earle’s ethos is quite simple: “Everything that I work towards is about making women feel good in their mind, body and soul.” It’s what’s driven her success on the short-lived Real Housewives of Toronto, as she became a fan-favourite for not conforming to reality TV’s unspoken size zero mandate. It’s what’s led to the creation of the #MySizeRox social media community, where women of all ages and sizes share body positive messages and photos. And it’s now fueled the eight-piece Roxy Earle Joe Fresh holiday collection, which goes up to 3X sizing and includes flutter-sleeve sweaters, sequinned skirts and dresses, and extra wide boots.
“I know what it feels like to be that girl in the change room, and you can’t find anything that fits, let alone something that looks good,” says Earle over video chat. “It’s just ten times harder to be fabulous when you’re my size: you’ve got to be more inventive, more creative, and source harder.”
Determined to challenge the fashion industry’s body standards, FASHION caught up with Earle to chat about the term “plus-size,” learning to love yourself, and the inspiration behind her latest collaboration, launching on November 9. Read on.
Is shopping for your size still a challenge in 2021, or has it gotten easier?
“Of course it’s still a challenge! I’ve been everything from a size 12 to 18, and when I was the bigger sizes, it was just impossible to shop. We tell women to go out into the world and be these bad*ss bosses or feel fabulous on their dates or whatever, but then stores don’t have anything that actually fits. It’s so demoralizing, and it really affects your self-esteem.”
What are your thoughts on the term plus-size?
“I’ve never called anyone a minus size, so I don’t know why it’s the other way around. If you’re above a certain size, you’re put in some box. I don’t like labels that put people in boxes. I am my size, and my size rocks. That’s where #MySizeRox [Roxy’s online community] came from! The label ‘plus-size’ feels like it’s telling me who I should be: ‘You’re not a regular model; you’re a plus-size model.’ ‘You’re not a regular designer; you’re a plus-size fashion designer.’ I don’t know why we have to put plus-size before everything! I am just a woman.”
What does true size diversity in fashion look like to you?
“It’s not just about what sizes appear on the runways, it’s about the clothes women can actually buy. When fashion talks about diversity, it’s great that designers are starting to show different bodies, but you can’t just show them; you need to design for them. We can see a size-inclusive model on the Fendi runway, and then at the boutiques, their largest size is a 10. Also, when making clothes for a bigger woman, the construction of the garment is different. You can’t just take one piece and size it up. You need to think about the fit, and many brands miss that.”
Keeping that in mind, how did you approach the Roxy Earle Joe Fresh holiday collection?
“I designed these clothes for myself, and they’re true to the clothes that I wear every day. My signature style is quite glamorous and I created this collection based on years of first-hand experience knowing what pieces aren’t accessible to women for the holidays. I hope the collaboration alleviates the stress that comes with size-inclusive shopping. I want women to put on these clothes and dress for themselves! Give them a reason to sparkle.”
Why was it important to you to feature real women in your Joe Fresh ad campaign?
“It felt very natural to me to include my followers in the Roxy Earle Joe Fresh campaign. Why wouldn’t you want to see a woman who’s the actual consumer? Why are we always obsessed with these perfect images of these perfect beings that aren’t even real? And what even is perfect? But I want to erase that, and I think it’s a great way to show women that these clothes are genuinely designed for them.”
You’re famous for your “if you don’t love yourself on the inside, you’re never going to love yourself on the outside” ethos. For women who struggle with self-love, what advice would you give them?
“Well, I’ve literally designed The Ana App [launching in January 2022] to do just that. I was getting asked this question every day: How are you so confident? How can I have the same energy? Why are you so positive all the time? And the truth is that it’s like anything else in life — it’s something that you work towards. It’s a muscle that you have to exercise, and my app has a set of daily practices and rituals that I go through every morning,
“I want women to realize that they can teach themselves how to be happy: it’s totally in their control. I think people look at others and think, ‘she’s richer than me,’ and ‘she has the best husband,’ and ‘her kids are no trouble.’ Essentially ‘her life’s so perfect. No wonder she’s happy.’ But nobody’s life is perfect, including mine! And in my darkest moments, I’ve been able to teach myself how to be positive, so I wanted to pass on that learning.”