10 Mar Are you a Girl Almighty? Meet the powerhouse woman taking action for plus sized clothing, calling for more stylish options.
A bolt of lightning. That is a great way to describe the subject of our next story.
Being in the fashion industry as long as I have, time and time again, I can’t deny being surrounded by many issues. As much as fashion is beautiful and artistic, we all know, there can be an ugly side to this world. Issues on weight, issues of health, issues of confidence sabotage, we all know that as far as we have come on social issues in the past few years, that there is still so much more work to do, especially in the fashion industry.
I have seen many young women succumb to the pressures of editorial beauty. The constant comparisons. The constant hurt and never “measuring up”. Add a pop culture that seems to enhance all these ideals and this has proven to be a recipe for many women, young and old, thinking that they are just not good enough, just not mighty enough, just not… enough.
Enter Kassandra Rodriguez, a bright and shining contradiction to everything I just said.
I first met Kassandra many years ago during a Guest Fashion Blogger Event Style Lush TV was hosting. Among the many eager ladies that were awarded those seats, Kassandra stood out to me. As a plus-sized woman, she seemed to carry a confidence that was extremely striking. Her style was not compromised due to her size, her smile was contagious, and when she spoke to you, she seemed to exude the happiest energy you could ever imagine.
To this day, I just can’t quite put my finger on it, but there is something remarkably special about Ms. Kassandra Rodriguez. It’s a mystical aura. If you can’t see it, you can feel it and needless to say, back in those days during the Guest Fashion Blogger event, she proved to be one of the most talented and fearless writers of the bunch as well. This woman was Everything! Oh… and did I mention… she was only 18?
Kassandra Rodriguez, #GFB Days
How did she hold herself so maturely? Who taught her this essence of being? With such a fantastic presence, her matter-of-fact personality, and the strength of someone much older than her, it was not surprising that after her stint as a Guest Fashion Blogger, she stayed on my mind. As the years past, she always came up. Her confidence. Her excellent writing skills. Her video talent. Her.
Today, I am honored to say that she is now a fashion journalist here at Style Lush TV but she actually fosters a grand plan of her own in her new online shop, Girl Almighty. If people could gain just a sliver of the power this incredible woman exudes through this brand, it will be a win-win for everyone, for her, and for the fashion world at large.
Kassandra Rodriguez, (Jeanelly Concepcion and Burgundy Woods) on set at Style Lush TV
An advocate for change within the fashion industry, I could not think of a more perfect, now grown woman, to pursue a brand that does not discriminate due to size. Ultimately Kassandra wants to bring forth the kind of change that is sustainable and real, and when it comes to style and selection for the plus-sized market, she’s breaking the mold offering what she can now as a retailer, but ultimately, as a designer who will push the envelope to normalize plus-sized style in the future. Loud style. Cool style. Trendy things that are typically reserved for the smaller size range, these are the things that have yet to become abundant and this woman is not only recognizing this fact, she has taken action.
Below is her current story. And I say “current” because believe me, this is just the beginning.
SLTV: “Girl Almighty”. Any inspiration come from the One Direction song, or was this just a coincidence?
KR: I’m so happy you saw the connection, you’re actually the first to see it! Yes, I drew inspiration from Girl Almighty by One Direction as they have been a huge inspiration to me in life. When I sat down to finalize logos and such, my graphic designer asked me what symbol came to mind when I thought of our name and I said a lightning bolt. I never knew why I said this but I loved it and have stuck with it. It had been years since I listened to the song and one day it came on shuffle and these lyrics shouted out at me
“Let’s have another toast for the Girl Almighty, may we stay young and made of lightning.”
It all came together coincidentally and I love it. The song Girl Almighty stands for powerful women that exude youth, light, and beauty and that is what I want our customers to see themselves as!
SLTV: So your demographic, your customer… they are young? Who is the Girl Almighty customer ultimately? What age range is this shop catering to and what are their lifestyles?
KR: Our Girl Almighty doesn’t want to be categorized by her age, so we bring styles for anyone who wants to be fashionable and maybe step out of their comfort zone. One factor that I always try to stick with is reasonable and affordable prices as I began this brand straight out of college. I know the struggles so I decided to always keep my prices fair so they can be accessible to anyone. Our Girl Almighty customer is an outspoken woman who loves fashion. She is always looking outside of the box in life and in style. She’s also on the go, so trendy, comfortable clothing is a must. She’s quirky, flirtatious, adventurous, and bold. She comes in all shapes from sizes and believes that style is her greatest form of confidence.
SLTV: Can you talk about your personal journey with fashion and how this played a role in the inspiration of what you offer?
KR: Growing up, I’ve always struggled with my weight. In addition to that, growing up in a Hispanic household where weight equals beauty, it was tough. I was always told to be beautiful I had to lose weight, or that I couldn’t wear certain items because it made me look fat. The word fat was always negative until I turned it into something beautiful. I would look in the mirror and think, “well, yes I’m fat, but I think I’m beautiful, I don’t see an issue” and it got to the point where I had to tell myself all that mattered was that I thought I was beautiful, I was happy and I was healthy. I started to experiment with fashion at a young age, but I always struggled to find pieces that I’d see my favorite celebrities wearing in my size. It’s hard telling yourself one thing when the world is constantly telling you you’re wrong. I know I’m not alone in this struggle, which is why when I decided to create a fashion brand. I told myself I couldn’t do it if It wasn’t going to look good on bodies like mine. I want the plus-size community to feel included and celebrated, but with that being said, I wanted a brand that everyone would love no matter their size. I wanted to bring clothing that would look good on all body types.
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SLTV: Kassandra, what would you say is your fashion philosophy?
KR: If you have ever said “oh, I’ll wear that once I lose weight” I’m here to tell you, you can wear whatever you want regardless of your size. Life is too short to wait until you’re smaller. Wear what you want and do what you want. What makes you look amazing is the confidence you wear every day, so as long as you feel comfortable in your outfit, believe that you are beautiful in it.
Girl Almighty Models at Fashion Week SATX
Image Sourced at @ShopGirlAlmighty
SLTV: For those who are finding it a bit harder to be as confident and you are, perhaps they are surrounded by a negative circle, or perhaps they are older with years of hurtful memories still haunting them, what would you say to them? How would you coach them to be as confident as you are?
KR: I know firsthand that it is easier said than done. Hurtful words can cause lifelong emotional scars and can create a negative image of yourself in your brain. Years of this make it hard to forget overnight. It takes time and lots of patience with yourself to overcome these mental hurdles and form a strong confident wall for yourself. My tip would be to wake up every morning, look in the mirror and tell yourself 3 things you love about your body. Over time you will grow to mean these words, and probably find way more that you love about yourself. Beauty isn’t just about your body, it’s about your mind. Work from there and you will grow your confidence.
Kassandra, Far Left, on assignment at Saks Fifth Avenue Fashion Show
SLTV: Talk to us about diversity in fashion. Are you happy with the things that are being done in the industry right now as far as sizing (both models and apparel), or do you feel that we still have a long way to go?
KR: I’m happy that plus size fashion is getting recognized for sure! It’s come a long way since I was younger but I can’t say I’m satisfied with it. If you go into any store that offers plus-size fashion, our selection is only a few racks. Not only that, the items that are given to us are not the same styles that are offered to straight sizes. From a buyer’s point of view, I see the struggle. I didn’t know how hard it would be to offer trendy plus size styles until I created Girl Almighty. When I meet with wholesalers or manufacturers it’s slim pickings so It’s hard to give to the capacity that I want to but we’re working on it. The industry needs to grow and expand its horizons, not just for plus sizes but for all sizes. The world’s views on what defines beauty is changing so I have no doubt that the apparel and modeling industry will follow at their own pace.
SLTV: Any dreams to design in the future? It feels like you would be a fearless plus size designer and pioneer the end of selective styling for plus-sized fashion. We need you!
KR: Yes! designing my own clothing has been my goal from the beginning. We are still a young brand, trying to grow every day. One day, when everything is aligned, we will definitely be bringing our own designs into the mix. My dream for Girl Almighty is to tear down that division between sizing. When you come to us you will see every item in every size. No more plus size sections that are selective in sizing and in styles. We want to provide the same clothing for everyone. It’s a slow and challenging road, but with time I believe we can accomplish this so that when a young girl enters a store, she won’t feel embarrassed to walk towards the plus-size section while her friends are in the straight sizes.
Kassandra Rodriguez in Girl Almighty
Image Sourced at @ShopGirlAlmighty
KR: We want inclusion. ✊
Please enjoy the world debut of Girl Almighty – A short fashion film, then head over to the shop and support this mission!