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'I know I'm beautiful. Keep looking': Sassy new T-shirts champion size inclusivity

Julie Tong
Yahoo Lifestyle

In a historic moment, Dia & Co and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) announced during a panel at theCURVYcon on Friday a special T-shirt campaign that will fund size-inclusive fashion education programs across the country for the next generation of designers.

Through the #TeeUpChange campaign, plus-size e-commerce retailer, Dia & Co, and the CFDA hope to create a substantial shift in how the fashion industry approaches size inclusivity moving forward.

Left: Christian Siriano’s #TeeUpChange shirt. Right: Venus Williams’s #TeeUpChange shirt. (Photo: Dia & Co)

“For years, the plus-size community has been leading a powerful grassroots movement for inclusivity in the fashion space,” said Dia & Co CEO and co-founder Nadia Boujarwah in a press release. “Through the #TeeUpChange campaign, we aim to both celebrate this community and honor it through action. Our partnership with the CFDA to make design education more size inclusive represents a significant step toward our ultimate goal — building a world where all women have equal experiences with style.”

Model wears Lizzo’s #TeeUpChange design. (Photo: Dia & Co)

The #TeeUpChange campaign was announced by Boujarwah at theCURVYcon panel, during which models walked out to unveil five T-shirts, each emblazoned with a powerful body-positive statement. The tees were designed in collaboration with five designers: rapper, singer, and body-positive advocate Lizzo, Christian SirianoVenus Williams, fashion designer and CFDA board member Tracy Reese, and new emerging designer Marissa Petteruti.

Models wear Marissa Petteruti’s #TeeUpChange design. (Photo: Dia & Co)
Model wears Tracy Reese’s #TeeUpChange design. (Photo: Dia & Co)

In the past, statement T-shirts in the fashion industry have been useful tools of empowerment on the catwalk of designers like Siriano as well as Prabal Gurung and Jonathan Simkhai in 2017 after the 2016 presidential election. During the #MeToo movement, we’ve seen statement T-shirts in faraway places like Seoul, South Korea, the site of Seoul Fashion Week, where one designer displayed her solidarity.

The #TeeUpChange shirts are exclusively available in plus sizes, 0X to 5X, and all profits will be donated to educational projects that promote size inclusivity through the CFDA’s Educational Initiatives program for schools. In spring 2019, Dia & Co will partner with the CFDA at their Fashion Education Summit and will have an opportunity to work directly with educators to discuss programs and initiatives that will have the greatest impact with the funds raised.

As shown previously, a simple T-shirt can act as a powerful political statement, but here with the #TeeUpChange, we see Dia & Co and the CFDA use the T-shirt to not only make a statement, but also actively change the fashion industry through funding size-inclusive programs.

“The CFDA and Dia & Co share a united vision that fashion is truly for all,” said Sara Kozlowski, the CFDA’s director of education and professional development, in a press release. 

The T-shirts retail for $35 and will be sold at theCURVYcon on Saturday, Sept. 8, as well as online at teeupchange.com (until supplies last). If you aren’t able to snag a tee, but would still like to contribute to the #TeeUpChange campaign, tag your social post using #TeeUpChange and tag @diaandco. Dia & Co will donate $1 for every post toward the initiative.

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