I’m a size 12 model and couldn’t fit into Zara’s ‘medium’ jeans

I’m a size 12 model and couldn’t fit into Zara’s ‘medium’ jeans – I’ve set up my own fashion brand and SCRAPPED dress sizes that make women feel bad

 A model who was effected by the high street’s ‘harsh’ sizing has revealed how he has set up her own fashion label which defines different sized women as ‘strong’ or ‘limitless’.

Ashly Rae, 36, from Aberdeen, set up her brand Elswear in April after her size changed over lockdown and she could not fit into medium or large jeans from Zara, despite being a size 12. 

Having worked with Victoria Beckham and Harrods and previously took part in LA Fashion Week, Ashly said: ‘I am naturally slim and while modelling I felt pressure to be very tiny.’

Ashly Rae, 36, from Aberdeen, criticised 'harsh' sizing at high street brands and set up her own label

Ashly Rae, 36, from Aberdeen, criticised ‘harsh’ sizing at high street brands and set up her own label

‘I was happy with my body so I found this confusing but it seemed everyone was concerned with their size, and so I watched what I ate. 

‘It is uncomfortable having others such as agents or casting directors judge your body.’

Over lockdown, Ashly gained weight and noticed her clothes were getting tighter.

She was looking forward to buying new clothes for her new figure when high street shops re-opened and was frustrated when she realised that how women feel about their body is being defined by high street sizing.

Ashly described her experience at Zara saying: ‘I purchased multiple pairs of jeans in different sizes assuming one would fit. Size medium and large. They were all too small. 

Ashly, pictured wearing a size large dress from Zara, said her body 'is not large, it is beautiful'

Ashly, pictured wearing a size large dress from Zara, said her body ‘is not large, it is beautiful’

She set up her own fashion brand Elswear which uses the terms 'strong' and 'limitless' to define sizes

She set up her own fashion brand Elswear which uses the terms ‘strong’ and ‘limitless’ to define sizes

Rather than defining shoppers by traditional dress sizes, the brand describes their figures as 'magnetic' or 'limitless'.

Rather than defining shoppers by traditional dress sizes, the brand describes their figures as ‘magnetic’ or ‘limitless’.

‘How could this brand be OK with labelling women’s bodies in such a harsh way?

‘I thought “my body is not large, it is beautiful – regardless of the size.”

‘The fashion industry has gone too long controlling how women feel about their body and it’s wrong. I want to change that.’

Ashly decided to set up her own fashion brand Elswear in April last year which, rather than defining women as a size 10 or 12, describes their size as ‘magnetic’ or ‘limitless’.

‘I thought if women were shopping and had gained weight they’d feel much better about going from a size strong to a size beautiful vs a small to a large.

The business owner's message to women is: 'Your body is beautiful. Your mental health matters more than your dress size.' (Pictured speaking at Edinburgh University on entrepreneurship)

The business owner’s message to women is: ‘Your body is beautiful. Your mental health matters more than your dress size.’ (Pictured speaking at Edinburgh University on entrepreneurship)

‘I want women to be comfortable in their clothes and feel good shopping, regardless if they have gained or lost weight.

Giving advice to women who follow high street sizing, Ashly said: ‘You are better to have clothes that fit you and that you are comfortable in so ignore the sizing and choose what feels good on.

‘Clothes are meant to fit your body, not the other way around.

‘So long as you are healthy and happy it does not matter what size you are.

‘You body is beautiful. Your mental health matters more than your dress size.’

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