Canada’s first plus-size female fashion magazine is encouraging readers to wear clothing they normally wouldn’t be seen in.
That’s exactly what creator Diana Di Poce did this summer, when she silenced the self-conscious voice in her mind and wore a bikini for the first time.
“All my life I thought I couldn’t wear a bikini out in public. But seeing other women doing so on fashion blogs and with this whole fatkini movement, and bloggers (are) reclaiming the word ‘fat,’ it’s quite inspiring,” says the 23-year-old plus-size woman.
“We try to do the same with our readers. Plus-size women can wear anything they want, and they should.”
The Ryerson alumna launched DARE Magazine in 2013 as her capstone project. With attention from influential bloggers such as Perez Hilton and writers with industry experience, and encouragement from her professor, Ben Barry, Di Poce’s digital magazine received positive exposure in Canadian newspapers.
One year and five digital issues later, DARE continues to cater to a vast, yet overlooked, Canadian demographic. According the a Canadian Health Measures survey from 2009 to 2011, 54 per cent of Canadian women aged 18 to 79 were categorized as overweight.
“Plus-size women are picking up mainstream fashion magazines all the time, but they’re not seeing themselves,” she says. “It’s great that these magazines are including plus-size models and fashion, but a page or a special issue once a year is not enough.” Di Poce says that’s what makes DARE unique. The magazine will always represent plus-size women.
While some fashion retailers are slowly integrating larger sizes in their collections or launching plus-size lines, Di Poce admits it’s challenging to find bold and chic clothing for DARE’s trend pages and photoshoots. Aside from high-end designers who focus solely on plus-size garments, Di Poce has trouble getting a hold of samples before the start of a new season.
Sometimes it can feel like she’s always one step behind.
“You kind of have to work in the moment a little bit, so that’s challenging in terms of timing,” Di Poce says. “Especially when you want to launch your issue in the summer to give your readers a heads-up on trends, that’s difficult to do.”
Originally, Di Poce thought the magazine’s readership would be under 25, but DARE has had to change its demographic slightly. It now caters to readers aged 25 to 35 — women who are young professionals.
But that’s not to say the style section has no bold statements such as crop tops, mixed prints or horizontal stripes.
With a whole page in the current issue dedicated to debunking fashion myths, Di Poce says DARE is all about breaking the rules that the fashion industry has imposed on anyone bigger than a size 12.
Even though no woman, no matter her size, should be neglected and limited when it comes to fashion trends, Di Poce does admit that from an industry perspective, categorizing women by size, whether petite or plus-size, is needed.
“If it’s all together it would be a mishmash. But I understand where women come from, that they don’t want to be labelled and they shouldn’t have to be,” she says.
“In terms of language, we don’t feel the need to include ‘plus size’ because our readers know what we’re about. We try to inspire our readers and I think we’ve been successful in doing that.”
You can check out DARE’s Fall 2014 issue online. For a sneak peak on what to expect from the issue, check out the magazine shoot below!