#WOMANCRUSHWEDNESDAY: DANAH & STACY GUTIERREZ OF PLUMP
There is something so powerfully electric about the dynamic duo that is Danah and Stacy Gutierrez. Ever since my Theology of Fashion trip to the Philippines and meeting Miss Danah, I became and remain a true fan of these twins. They currently run Plump Magazine, the first plus size fashion and body positive lifestyle web magazine in the Philippines. Plump is not just a publication; it is a REVOLUTION. Recently, Danah and Stacy really made waves and began an even bigger conversation within the fashion and beauty industry by releasing their very own book: The Big Fat Book of Self Love. This book is an ode to BEAUTY no matter what size, shape, or style! "Fat? Skinny? Short? Tall? Dark? SO WHAT?" I so very much admire the boldness in Danah and Stacy to lead such an empowering movement and can't wait to share more on what is behind their mission, vision, and success!
I am so excited about your new book that just came out! Tell me more about its underlying message and what readers can learn. Also, where can we purchase the book?
We're presenting very novel concepts in this book, such as health at every size and diversity in beauty. In a country where white and slender reign supreme, we want to speak the truth—that beauty comes in all colors, shapes and sizes. We're breaking stereotypes on beauty; we're redefining it for this generation. We want every woman who reads this book to embrace her flaws, because that's what makes her unique and truly human. We also talk about dating and relationships, and other self-esteem issues many women face today.
You can purchase the book in all National Bookstore, FullyBooked and PowerBooks outlets. For international buyers, you can order via http://www.nationalbookstore.com/.
What inspired you to write this book?
After upgrading our then-blog theplumpinay.com to PLUMP.ph, blog visitors are automatically redirected to our new website. We didn't want to put a lot of our good blog posts to waste, so we decided to create a book around these articles. It was amazing, because when we were talking about our author dreams, ABS-CBN Publishing walked up to us after giving a talk during last year's Marketing Summit, and asked us if we wanted to write a book for them! Also, we wanted to share our personal style tips on fashion and beauty, so girls can enjoy dressing up, too!
On a larger scale, what was your initial inspiration behind launching Plump and how has it pivoted (if at all) today?
We launched PLUMP.ph after 6 years of blogging and pioneering the body positive advocacy in the country because we wanted to take the spotlight away from ourselves. While others get so immersed with self-branding, we wanted to share our platform with other women. We wanted to create a safe space online where women are free to be honest, vulnerable, and authentic. We constantly ask people to contribute, as long as it fits our branding of body positivity, plus size trends, and woman empowerment.
What would you say is Plump's largest contribution to today's fashion world?
Oh, we definitely were so vocal with demanding fashion equality, and requested more brands to extend their sizes for the plus size demographic. We also partnered up with brands, and designed swimsuits and clothes for bigger women. Back when we had a blog, we posted photos of our outfits for other girls to get inspiration/pegs from, because we believe big girls can be fashionable, too (or fatshionable!)! We think we opened up that market, and in a way, we changed how fashion for the plus size demographic is perceived.
What is it like working with your sister? Were there any bumps in the road and if so, how did you push through and overcome them?
Sometimes, our personal conflicts can get in the way of work, but we rarely let the sun set without patching things up. We always talk it out. We have matured through the years, thank God! Haha! We used to fight over the dumbest things, but now, we're more forgiving, and wiser in dealing with our issues.
With the rise of bloggers promoting positive body image as far as being plus size and curvy, do you feel that the fashion industry is changing and accepting more diversity?
In other countries, yes, but sadly, here in the Philippines, we are still moving at a very slow pace. Some European and American brands here even take out the big sizes from their collections, because they still think that all Asians are meant to be small. We are grateful for some retail brands that provide extended wear for the plus size demographic. There is definitely a change, but we believe we can still improve. When you go to department stores here, there's a HUGE GAP in terms of style, between regular-sized clothes and the plus size section. They always think big girls are drawn to tent-like tops with high necklines. UGH.
What are your current favorite brands to shop?
We love Debenhams, Forever21+, H&M, and Dorothy Perkins! We also wear Tina Lirag and Nariz Ong, two plus size designers who are so awesome at what they do!
What do you think the biggest misconceptions are about the "curvy community" or curvy fashionistas who write about fashion?
I think the biggest misconceptions would be that we've let ourselves go, or that we're just settling in our bodies. SO. NOT. TRUE! Also, that we can't wear certain trends because we're fat, or we're big. Well, my sister Stacy can rock the hottest crop tops, and look so damn good in 'em!
Where do you hope to take Plump in 2016?
We really want to get into events and plan more talks. We want to be more engaged with our community. We want to create fitness workshops and empowerment talks.
What change would you most like to see in the fashion industry?
We'd like to see brands to automatically include the plus size demographic; that it shouldn't be an issue.
How does your faith tie into the fashion industry?
We believe our beauty is defined by our Creator, so we will not be limited by what the fashion industry suggests about our bodies. They can be oppressive towards big women, but we're not accepting it. We are fearfully and wonderfully made, and that will always be our compass and truth.
So there you have it! I am so blown away by the impact Danah and Stacy have made in shaping and motivating me personally to also take a stand for UNIQUE BEAUTY. I say unique beauty in that God created no one woman to be alike; each of us has been "fearfully and wonderfully made" in a special blueprint unlike any other. Every complex intricacy -yes, flaws and all- is a design NO ONE ELSE can emulate. Will you drop everything and look in the mirror and repeat this TRUTH after me?
"I am a masterpiece of the Creator of the Universe."
"I am beautiful because I AM BEAUTIFUL."
"Let time pass, gravity pull, come what may... I will laugh at the days to come...because I AM LOVED."
Danah, Stacy and I personally choose to stand with you daily in this profound revelation. My prayer is that God would open the eyes of our heart to see the full force of our beauty and give us the strength to remember it always.
Xoxo, Diwa Doll
Danah and Stacy Gutierrez of Plump Magazine
Purchase The Big Fat Book of Self Love Here.