One on One with Ashley Nell Tipton
Project Runway Season 14 Winner and San Diego Native
Ashley Nell Tipton
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In years past, the fashion industry focused heavily on the “perfect” type of body––a narrow waist, slim thighs and tiny bird-like shoulders were the ideal many designers used to create their garments. Slowly, over the last few years, the world has grown more accepting of all body types, allowing women of all shapes and sizes to find clothing designed to have a flawless fit. This industry-wide shift—though slow to take effect—has allowed promising young designers like Ashley Nell Tipton to simultaneously flourish and help impact positive industry change.
Born and raised in San Diego, 24-year-old Ashley Nell Tipton has already led an extraordinary life. In November of 2015, Tipton was crowned the winner of season 14 of the acclaimed fashion design competition show Project Runway. During her tenure on the Lifetime series, Tipton was a frequent challenge winner and fan favorite; she ultimately went on to win both the admiration of the judges and the entire season. As the first contestant to win showcasing a plus-size line for women, Tipton is already breaking ground in the fashion industry.
Since claiming her crown, she has released a nail polish line in collaboration with FingerPaints that showcases bright, bold colors. Her most recent project? An ongoing partnership with JCPenney producing their first plus-size fashion brand. The line is about embracing body positivity by showcasing colorful, fashionable and figure-flattering designs for plus-size women. With their daring #HereIAm campaign encouraging women to accept their outer beauty, Ashley Nell Tipton is the face of positive change and growth in the fashion industry. After showcasing her latest line at New York Fashion Week, FINE Magazine spoke with the burgeoning designer about her triumph, her upcoming partnership with JCPenney and her views on the plus-size industry.
Describe the months since your Project Runway win.
It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions. I’ve always wanted to make a difference in the plus-size community, and I knew it would happen. [I] just never knew when it would happen.
How did your JCPenney #HereIAm campaign and collaboration begin?
[JCPenney] heard how much I talked about the plus-size community. They were inspired by my drive and passion to approach things differently, treat the community differently and make the plus-size community feel good about themselves with that boost of confidence. After that, everything just kind of flowed.