Plus-size fashion has boomed globally in the last four years thanks to models and actresses like Melissa Mccarthy, Tess Holliday, Ashley Graham, and Tara Lynn. Finally the fashion industry is being forced to take note of women whose body types have long been ignored! With many gorgeous Egyptian women fitting into the plus-size category, why not introduce this body positive trend to the Egyptian fashion market? We sat with stylish plus-size fashion blogger Macrina Megaly (@avec_mac) to discuss plus-size fashion industry in Cairo and how local designers can work towards improving it.
What made you interested in fashion in the first place?
I graduated from dentistry, but fashion has always been a huge passion of mine. I believe that every woman yearns for beauty and that fashion is one the keys to accept yourself and not feel outcasted.
“I had two options, either have the surgery or learn to like myself the way I am.”
How did you come to be a confident supporter of body positivity?
My journey started when I hit my heaviest weight and random guys on the street would start commenting saying that you have a very beautiful face but you need to lose weight or consider having a surgery. I had two options, either have the surgery or learn to like myself the way I am. I had to do a great deal of mental work to get to a point where I looked at myself in the mirror and was happy.
How are plus-size women treated by the fashion industry?
The plus-size fashion boomed four years ago when many of the top ranked fashion designers refused to make Melissa Maccarthy a dress for The Oscars. This was a wake up call to all fashion houses, because this is a sector that suffers and deserves to be well dressed. In the recent fashion weeks many designers used plus-size models! Anna Wintour herself stressed on the idea that fashion is a message and we have to reach everyone through it.
“I want plus-size women in Egypt to be acknowledged and accepted.”
How is plus-size fashion viewed in Cairo and how can it be improved?
Middle Eastern women have fuller figures so why not acknowledge this? It’s great to be healthy but it’s not your body type or figure that reflects your health. I want to see plus-size trendy and fashionable outlets for young ladies to shop, something which doesn’t exist currently. I want plus-size women in Egypt to be acknowledged and accepted.
I have reached a number of local designers personally and asked them to make their clothing items in my size. Many of the designers were more than happy to help. In order for local designers to boom they have to acknowledge all the sizing chart starting from size zero to 24.
Why is body positivity so important, especially for young girls?
Never make a comment about a girl’s body type. I still see mothers dragging their eight year old girls to nutritionists and crucifying them for what they eat. Mothers should compliment their girls intelligence and creativity, anything but their figure or body. Your children are going to be what they see in you, not what you tell them to be.
“I was waiting for someone to come up with this idea in the Middle East, and then I thought, I can do it myself!”
Why did you start your blog?
Instagram really helped me through following amazing plus-size ladies showing their journeys and their self-love and confidence. I was waiting for someone to come up with this idea in the Middle East, and then I thought, I can do it myself!
I picked the most popular bloggers in Egypt and copy-catted their looks to prove that a curvy girl can look good in anything. Now I put together my own looks in a variety of styles.
What’s the hardest part about being a plus-size blogger?
You can never escape negative comments on social media. Some people misunderstand my message and think I was promoting obesity. I try to make it clear that this isn’t the case. At first I ignored the negative comments, but after a while I responded with Instagram stories defending myself. A friend told me that I shouldn’t engage or defend myself and he was so right, now I just accept that having a public profile means I will get negative comments.
Why is it important to you to promote local fashion?
Well the dollar is going crazy it’s not easy anymore to go and shop abroad or buy international brands. Excitingly, local designers now are very creative and have innovative ideas. One of the greatest examples is Okhtein who are currently Cairo’s Dior right now.
What are some tips you can give to women with curves?
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I always say self-confidence is key. You should work on yourself and acknowldge your points of power and weakness and stress on your points of power. It’s okay to be outside of the beauty standard of society. Beauty actually lays in imperfections.
Make sure to follow Macrina’s account at @avec_mac!