When Nadia Aboulhosn first saw her campaign images and designs in Addition Elle's store windows she did what almost any young woman would do: Face-time her mom in the U.S. and tell people passing by, "that's me!"
Her second reaction was just as memorable, as the fashion blogger, model and now designer walked into the store on Toronto's busy Yonge Street to see her clothes on full display, posing with the mannequins and commending the stylish visuals before an interview with Postmedia Network.
"Oh my God, is this real life?" Aboulhosn said.
It definitely is and her fall capsule collection with plus-size brand Addition Elle is currently in stores. Aboulhosn, a Florida-native who is also half Lebanese, started her blog in 2010 as an outlet for her creativity and self expression has since worked with American Apparel, Boohoo and more. She's been featured in Vogue Italia, Complex Magazine, Refinery 29, Seventeen Magazine and Teen Vogue.
She's modelled in Addition Elle's lingerie campaigns in the past and said she was thrilled when the brand approached her about designing a collection.
"It's amazing that a company like this is so forward because plus-size companies really aren't fashion-forward and they are they're always taking the next step," Aboulhosn said.
Model and Addition Elle collaborator, Ashley Graham recently walked in New York Fashion Week showing off the brand's collections - including Aboulhosn's - a milestone in fashion and Aboulhosn says the more recognition, the better.
"It wasn't really a movement to begin with, it's a collective," said Aboulhosn on the growing talk about inclusion of all sizes in the mainstream fashion world.
"It's models like Ashley, like me and other bloggers who are pushing that and it's not like we're trying to make a statement, that's just who we are and we're just trying for it to be the norm."
The 27-year-old has more than 24,000 followers on Twitter and close to 300,000 on Instagram, so getting her message out isn't too difficult. She attributes social media with her success despite some challenges.
"The bigger your audience gets the more brands recognize you... the thing with Addition Elle is they've worked with me from the very beginning, the lingerie campaign was there? three or four years ago and I felt like I couldn't really be myself because brands wouldn't want to work with me," she said.
"It's a risk to take a chance with me, but I have strong fan base, they love almost everything I do and I have a great vision so why not? Some people can't see past the craziness, but that's just who I am and they accept that completely."
As for her collection designs, it's all about military, minimalist style. Aboulhosn describes it as versatile, comfortable while still looking high-fashion.
For Aboulhosn personal style on the daily, it's all about how she feels.
"It's the ultimate street style, sometimes I'll feel like being super feminine and other days I'll feel like doing something sporty or more streetwear and sneakers," she said.
"The thing with this collection is you can wear it with anything, you can wear it with heels or you can wear it with sneakers, they're so simple you can wear it with everything, there's lots of variation."
Her favourite pieces? The trench dress which she would wear with a few buttons undone to show off more curves and a lot of leg, the military green sleeveless hoody and a green leopard sheer top, which she would pair with a bodysuit underneath.
When it comes to her beauty must-haves, Aboulhosn also keeps it simple, always having anti-aging cream, Chapstick and makeup wipes.
While not finalized yet, Aboulhosn said she's hoping to have another collection with the brand for the summer.
[By Rosalyn Solomon.] [Read More.]